University of Chester

Programme Specification
Nursing (Learning Disability) BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Nursing (Learning Disability)

Nursing (Learning Disability)

University of Chester

University of Chester

As determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, including Wirral, Chester (Riverside), Leighton, and Warrington

Professional/ Specialist/ Community/ Advanced Practice (Nursing & Midwifery)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Biannual - March - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Location within the National Qualifications Framework. 

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Healthcare Programmes: Nursing (2001)

Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards of Proficiency (2004)

Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC)

Undergraduate Nursing Pre-registration Programme Subject Assessment Board

Thursday 1st March 2007

The programme aims to:

  • Offer a dynamic and quality educational experience for all students.
  • Develop and promote the skills of critical, analytical and reflective thinking in students.
  • Promote the ethos of lifelong learning, and advance students' sense of personal responsibility and commitment to their ongoing education and development.
  • Prepare students to be competent professional practitioners who are fit for practice through promotion of practice-centred learning and the integration of evidence-based theory and practice.
  • Develop students to be fit for purpose through reflection of all aspects of the constantly changing service delivery needs of modern health care within a holistic health care model.
  • Facilitate students to achieve fitness for award through flexibility in entry criteria, advanced standing recognition and clear competency outcomes for all levels of study.
  • Prepare students to be fit for professional standing through the promotion of responsibilities regarding professional conduct, accountability, ethical and legal obligations, and respect for others.
  • Develop in students the ability to exercise initiative and decision making in complex and unpredictable contexts.

Knowledge and Understanding

Evaluatethe underpinning theoretical base of nursing using a reflective framework, including:

  • Professional legal and ethical issues.
  • Key concepts, principles and policiesrelated to healthcare.
  • The evidence-based approach and dissemination of information.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The ability to:
  • Analyseand evaluateself management and direction, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Evaluate the delivery and management of care using reflective, problem solving and decision-making skills.
  • Explore, analyse and process information applicable to their area of practice.

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups.
  • Identify, analyse andintegrate appropriateevidence to underpinpractice.
  • Select and utilise effective fundamental caring skills.
  • Demonstrate accountability and responsibility when undertaking a holistic and comprehensive nursing assessment.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

The ability to:
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and group levels.
  • Select and utilise appropriate technologies to process information
  • Work collaboratively within an inter-professional environment.
  • Apply and evaluate literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Identify and utilise a self-directed approach to learningin both formal and informal environments.
  • Develop a logical approach to problem-solving in a caring environment.

Transferable Professional Skills

The ability to:
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and group levels.
  • Select and utilise appropriate technologies to process information
  • Apply and evaluate literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Work collaboratively within an inter-professional environment.
  • Identify and utilise a self-directed approach to learningin both formal and informal environments.
  • Apply evidence-based practice.

The programme is informed by the validation requirements of the NMC and University of Chester. The programme conforms to the NMC requirement to equal no less than 3 years full time study and no more than 7 years part-time study. This requires a total of 4600 hours, 50% of which are theory and 50% practice. The programme comprises a one year common foundation programme and a two year branch programme. Each module is worth 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning, except for the double modules which are 40 credits with 400 hours of teaching and learning.   

Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) using their stated level descriptors as a reference point. The programme is linked to a Higher Education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning. No student may seek an award for completion of the modules comprising this programme without having been registered for the qualification aim and having engaged with all the appropriate programme admissions procedures. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in their chosen field of employment. The graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements, and to communicate effectively. A graduate should have the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility, and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. They will have the qualities necessary for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making, and be fit for practice, purpose and award. 

The modules have internal integrity and are linked together to form a coherent programme of learning and this denotes their 'normal' sequencing.

Year 1, level 4, consists of a Common Foundation Programme with three inter-related theory modules, supported  by a fourth non-credit bearing, practice based module which facilitates the application of theory to practice. This year long module comprises four placement experiences. There is an exit point of 120 Level 4 credits with a Certificate of Higher Education in Health Studies upon successful completion.

Year 2, level 5, consists of a total of five modules, three of the modules are specifically related to the chosen branch of study. Two of these focus on altered health and the third module looks at the philosophy and diversity of different care environments. Associated with this latter module is a two week elective placement with opportunities locally, nationally or internationally. There are also 2 generic modules, one of which is related to contemporary approaches to health care and the other is a research methods module which is in advance of the dissertation in year 3. Again all theory is applied through a sixth, year long, non-credit bearing module comprising three placement experiences. 

In year 3, level 6, there are four modules including the dissertation double module in which the student will be expected to examine, in detail, aspects of healthcare provision. The three other modules focus on Public Health, Professional Development and Management and Therapeutic Interventions, which incorporate shared learning and enable the student to work towards being a registered nurse with confidence. The latter of these modules includes a range of branch-specific skills directly related to the employability of the newly registered nurse. As with years 1 and 2, all theory modules are supported by a final year long practice module incorporating 3 placement experiences.

The minimum academic standard of pre-registration nursing programmes is that of Diploma in Higher Education.

Students should have experience of all of the designated branches during the programme.



Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme:-

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM4440 4 Practice Learning 1 0 Comp
NM5008 5 Healthcare Research Methodologies 20 Comp
NM5009 5 Contemporary Approaches to Healthcare Provision 20 Comp
NM5021 5 People with Learning Disabilities and Models of Service Delivery 40 Comp
NM5022 5 Understanding and Responding to the Needs of People with a Learning Disability within a Multi-agency Context 20 Comp
NM5024 5 Reflecting on the Diversity of Care - Learning Disability Branch 20 Comp
NM5550 5 Practice Learning 2 0 Comp
NM5551 5 Practice Learning 3 0 Comp
NM6001 6 Nursing Management of Care Delivery and Therapeutic Interventions 40 Comp
NM6002 6 Public Health in Nursing Practice 20 Comp
NM6003 6 Personal and Professional Development 20 Comp
NM6004 6 Dissertation: Research Proposal (Pre Registration Nursing) 40 Comp

Certificate of Higher Education inHealth Care Studies: 120 credits at level 4.
Diploma of Higher Education: 120 credits at level 5.
BSc (Hons) Nursing: 120 credits at level6(360 credits accumulated).
Should a student fail the practice module, yet complete the 120 credits for the theory modules, then the above exit awards will still apply. However,students willNOT be able to register on the NMC register at level 1

Applicants for the Diploma in HE Nursing Programme will normally be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above (or their equivalent), including English Language and Mathematics. Applications are encouraged from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. Applicants are invited to attend for interview following scrutiny of their application form and based on their academic qualifications. The interview, conducted by a member of academic staff and a representative from clinical practice, will seek to assess the candidate's communication skills, knowledge of nursing, motivation and aptitude for nursing.

Applicants for the BSc (Hons) in Nursing require 240 UCAS points, of which 200 points should be obtained from GCE or VCE A levels (including a grade C in one subject).

The Faculty of Health and Social Care facilitates a widening of access to its programmes as recommended in ‘Making a Difference' (DOH 1996), by accepting that qualification points for entry may be met by ‘a combination or range of educational, vocational and access qualifications, which would indicate that the candidate has undertaken a substantial course of study'. 

Nursing is both mentally and physically demanding and the good character and health of all successful applicants will be assessed to establish fitness to undertake nurse education. A satisfactory CRB check establishes good character.The Occupational Health department examines and assesses the health of all candidates to ensure that they are physically fit to commence nurse education. In addition, each candidate must be declared 'fit' in accordance with the Clothier report recommendations. This is normally done via a letter from the candidate's GP.

The following benchmarks have been mapped into the modules to ensure that national quality frameworks have been met: The NMC Standards of Proficiency ( and QAA Nursing subject benchmarks which are available on the QAA website ( They represent the general expectations of standards for the award of qualifications at a given level, and articulate the attributes and capabilities that should be demonstrated by a registered nurse.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 4, 5 and 6 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development.

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used to meet the programme learning outcomes. Emphasis, however, will be placed on formal lectures, tutorials, group work, discussion, poster and seminar presentations, work-based learning, e-learning, problem-based learning, project work, case discussions, action-learning sets and experiential learning activities, demonstrations and simulations, and learning through practice. Self-directed, inter-professional learning and peer-learning will be encouraged throughout and, consistent with the philosophy of the programme, peer and self-assessment will be used in the formative assessment process to complement lecturer assessment. 

Student support and direction will be provided by interactive discussion and individual feedback, which at level 4, 5 and 6 will promote development of the reflective thinking skills required to address practice issues.


Students will be exposed to a variety of assessment methods designed to ensure that the content, outcomes and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner. Examples include assignments, seminar presentations, individual case studies, Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), unseen written examination, multiple choice examination, coursework assignments, care plans and reflective accounts.

Knowledge and understanding will be tested through written assignments, seminar presentations, examination and individual case studies. Intellectual skills will be assessed normally through coursework, and students will be asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through written assignments, examinations, seminar presentations, individual case studies and reflective accounts. Written assessable work reflects the substantial effort required by the student to achieve practice learning outcomes elsewhere  in the programme.

The main vehicle for assessing practice is the Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This is supported by the assessment of skills through OSCEs, the skills inventory and reflections  on practice experiences. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.

A detailed Scheme of Assessment may be found in the Programme Handbook and on Sharepoint.

The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a graduate. There is flexibility to transfer to the diploma route depending on circumstances. The relevant statements of characteristics from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) are as follows:

Level 6 


Acquisition of knowledge that is at the forefront of at least some aspects of the subject, and which is informed substantially by current research or other advanced scholarship.


Conceptual understanding that enables the student to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the subject. Appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

The characteristics of the successful student would be that of a clinically able practitioner who demonstrates a professional attitude and who is able to assess, plan, implement and evaluate the care of a patient or group of patients in their care. Students following this programme will typically gain employment as nurses within NHS Trusts (hospitals or community), the independent sector and the armed forces. Some students move away from the area once qualified, some are in employment abroad.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

This programme also includes the facility to undertake both the Shortened Programme for Second Registration and an Enrolled Nurse Conversion Programme, by using a negotiated pathway taken from modules and practice within this programme.

Students undertaking this programme will be required to follow the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) Codes of Practice Good Health Good Character Requirements to demonstrate Professional Suitability.

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