University of Chester

Programme Specification
Professional Nursing MSc
2014 - 2015

Master of Science

Professional Nursing

Professional Nursing

University of Chester

University of Chester (England)


Chester - Riverside Campus and sites as agreed by the Faculty of Health and Social Care and also to include Southville Foreign University (Philippines)

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

Full time 18 months / Part time - Minimum 3 years/ Maximum 6 years

6 Years

Biannual - February - 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

Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards of Proficiency


University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care- Postgraduate Subject Assessment Board, MN/ MSc, University AAB

Wednesday 1st June 2011

The programme aims to:

  1. To enable students to be cognisant of the holistic and global nature of health and social care, and to gain knowledge, skills, expertise and the individual qualities necessary to respond to the constantly changing environment in which health and social care services are being implemented.
  2. Offer a dynamic and quality educational experience for internationally qualified nurses.
  3. Develop and promote the skills of critical, analytical, and reflective thinking in students. It is envisaged that students undergoing the programme will become leaders with subject expertise in nursing, and will be able to exercise higher levels of judgement and discretion.
  4. Promote the ethos of lifelong learning, and advance students' sense of personal responsibility and commitment to their ongoing professionalism, education and development.
  5. Develop students to be fit for purpose within the organisation and context of international health care environments, which willl enable and encourage students to reflect and think globally about health care provision around the world.
  6. 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.
  7. Develop in students the ability to exercise initiative and decision making in complex and unpredictable contexts.
  8. Develop in students the concept of the management of comprehensive clinical care, providing the opportunity to revise and extend their nursing skills.  

Knowledge and Understanding

The teaching, learning and assessment strategies for the programme are designed to:

  • Facilitate students to gain knowledge and develop a sound understanding of all theoretical components, and importantly, apply theory to practice
  • Enable students to apply an evidence-based approach to their practice

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
  • Foster the development of students' intellectual/cognitive skills
  • Enhance their analytical and reflective skills through the close alignment of teaching, learning and assessment methods
  • Encourage the development of problem solving skills
  • encourage students to be aware of current thinking and practice

Practical Skills

  • Demonstrate enhanced communication skills
  • Work effectively as part of the multidisciplinary team
  • Demonstrate effective learning skills
  • Utilise information technology
  • Enhance numeracy skills
  • Engage in personal and career development

Key Skills
Studentsaccessing the Masters of Nursingprogramme will be autonomous learners and will already possess key skills required for the programme. This will be evident through the entry requirements, and also the level and nature of their present position as health professionals and the previous courses of study they have undertaken. The key skills will be developed further throughout the programme.
  • Communication:Effective communication skills will be inherent in all the modules.
  • Application of number:Students accessing the programme will be working at a level that requires them to be numerate. Examples in clinical practice are clinical measurements, audit and statistical analysis and work load activities. These skills will be built upon throughout the programme, particularly in the research-based modules.
  • Information technology: The studentsâ IT skills, gained from current clinical practice, should be such as to enable them to access the University intranet, bibliographical databases and the internet for academic and clinical studies, use the library effectively, and perform literature searches and reviews. Their existing skills will be enhanced in the library induction and information skill session at the beginning of the programme, which will be specific to the University resources. The facilities of the wider University will also be open to the student.Study skills sessions are held at the beginning of each academic year and the services of the Learning Support Tutor will be available at other times. The students' IT skills will normally be evidenced in the production of word-processed assignments.
  • Improving own learning and performance:The entire programme is designed to facilitate the student in their development on both a personal and professional level. This will be evidenced and assessed through written work.
  • Working with others:The studentâs ability to work with others will be demonstrated in both the classroom and clinical areas, and evidenced in the learning profiles within the learning portfolio.
  • Problem solving: This area will be developed in all modules and will be demonstrated through the reflective analysis of practice.
The programme ensures that students are facilitated in their development of key skills, especially in the core modules.
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving
On completion of this programme the successful student will be able to:
  • Demonstrate appropriate problem solving andanalytical skills related to nursing care utilising the appropriate nursing theory and practice
  • Demonstratecritical evaluation skills
  • Demonstratereflection to enhance ways of knowing and the application of research skills

Transferable Professional Skills

  • Communication effectively
  • Being competent in the use of IT
  • Application of numeracy

It is anticipated this programme will attract international students. The programme is designed for nurses who are qualified overseas, and who wish to gain a MSc Professional Nursing.  It also facilitates registration on the NMC professional register for nurses who require this.   Intrinsic within the programme is the Overseas Nurses' module, which specifically prepares the applicant  for NMC registration.

The MSc Nursing programme is offered on a full or part time basis. Full time students are expected to complete the programme in 18 months to allow completion of the dissertation. Part time students are expected to complete the programme in two years. The maximum length of study permitted will be six years.

The programme content is designed for flexible professional learning. It will incorporate international, national and local policies and perspectives and actively engage students in collaborative teaching and learning methods including e-learning.

Students will explore contemporary issues in order to become pro-active, influential and effective in the field of nursing. 

The structure of the programme will enable internationally qualified nurses’ progression within this field of practice. Students must complete 3 x 20 credit core modules and 3 x 20 credit option modules from the menu of options available. The programme will complete with a dissertation module worth 60 credits.
  • Research in Nursing (Core - 20 credits)
  • Leadership in Nursing (Core - 20 credits)
  • Clinical Context of Nursing (Core - 20 credits)
  • 3 x option modules (Options - 20 credits each)
  • Dissertation (Core - 60 credits)
Students wishing to take the Overseas Nursing Programme must have an IELTs score of 7. Students who do not meet this requirement will have opportunities during their initial modules to improve their English language skills.  Students who do not achieve the IELTs score of 7 will still be able to complete the programme using other option modules.

Option modules that may be selected:

Please note that all option modules are worth 20 credits.  These may be selected from the approved list of postgraduate certificate programmes and other free-standing modules.  At the time of registration and in association with the Programme Leader, combinations or clusters of modules approved for compatibility and timeliness of presentation will be selected.  (See list of modules in the following section).


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7005 7 Infection Prevention and Control in Context 20 Optional
NM7012 7 Leadership Development and Change 20 Comp
NM7040 7 Communicable Diseases 20 Optional
NM7054 7 Organisation and Management of Palliative Care 20 Optional
NM7055 7 Ethics and Health 20 Optional
NM7059 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
NM7066 7 Practising Health Promotion 20 Optional
NM7069 7 Research 20 Comp
NM7084 7 Independent Study 20 Optional
NM7211 7 Complex Symptom Management 20 Optional
NM7218 7 Case Management of People with Long Term Conditions 20 Optional
NM7850 7 Overseas Nurses Programme 20 Optional
NM7851 7 Clinical Context of Nursing 20 Comp

Students undertakingthe core modules of Leadership, Research and one option modulecan exit with the postgraduate certificate. Students completing the above plus the Clinical context of Nursing module, and two further option modules may exit with a postgraduate diploma. On successful completion of the above and the Dissertation module, students will exit with the Master of Professional Nursing.

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%.

Students must

  • Be registered as nurses overseas
  • Have at least one year's post-qualifying experience
  • Have academic qualifications to degree level (120 credits at level 4, 5 and 6 equivalent)
  • Meet the UK Border Agency requirement for all students to have the appropriate visa. 
  • Meet all NMC requirements for practice in the United Kingdom
  • Meet the NMC requirements for the ONP 
  • Pass a suitability interview
  • Students wishing to take the Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) must have a IELTs score of 7.
  • Students undertaking the ONP will need to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check prior to attending a clinical placement.

The following benchmarks have been mapped into the Overseas Nurses' programme to ensure that Nursing and Midwifery Council standards have been met.  The NMC Standards of Proficiency ( and QAA nursing subject benchmarks are available on the QAA website (, and 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. All modules will meet the core dimensions of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (DH 2004).

All modules will meet the core dimensions of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (DH 2004).

Level HE7 (Level 7/ Masters M Level)

In undertaking studies at this credit level, students are able to:

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;

The level of the module outcomes demonstrates appropriate levels of taxonomy for the level of study, as do the contact and study hours. The national initiative with regard to Key Skills is taken into account.

The composition of the planning team ensured that there were members with experience of external consultancy and external examining, which is invaluable in quality assuring the programme against national benchmarks and expectations.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. Each module will utilise a mix of teaching methods, which take account of the subject matter, the student group size, the students’ previous experience and the resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include formal lectures, scenario-based learning sessions,  tutorials, seminars, presentations and debates, reflection, practice-based workshops, directed study, private study sessions, and e-learning packages.

The student experience will be enhanced by the use of reflection. A number of modules are assessed by a learning profile, which builds to form a learning portfolio for the programme. The learning plans in the profiles will focus on the further development of the students’ reflective skills, with a specific section devoted to reflection on learning in and on practice. Students will thus be placed at the centre of the learning experience and are expected to assume responsibility for their own educational development. 

Scenario-based learning is included as a teaching and learning strategy within the Masters of Professional Nursing programme. This strategy is used for learning and teaching within the programme through the use of real scenarios from the healthcare settings, which facilitates integration of theory and practice, promotion of decision-making and problem-solving skills, and encourages lifelong learning.

The future aim is for all modules to be taught as a mixed mode, where students have access to learning materials through e-learning in varying proportions from fully taught with supporting materials to full use of electronic materials with minimal taught content.

Methods of learning and teaching will emphasise student-centred techniques. This will facilitate the student to become an autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes, which will require the student to actively identify and negotiate specific learning outcomes pertinent to their area of community practice within the parameters of the module learning outcomes. The student will also be expected to identify and negotiate acceptable methods of evidencing the achievement of the learning outcomes.

Formative feedback will be available in line with University policy.

Inter-professional learning is addressed within the programme. Visiting lecturers and expert professionals will be utilised in order to facilitate this process, and to ensure that examples and scenarios are drawn from a range of professional areas.

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, coursework assignments, portfolios, research critique, dissertation/change proposal and practice assessment. 

Knowledge and understanding will be tested through the above assessment strategies. Intellectual skills will be assessed normally through coursework, and students will be asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through the assessed work. 

The Overseas Nurses' Programme module is assessed in clinical practice and by an OSCE.

All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks

The programme clearly offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and it is the assessment criteria based upon Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics:

Assessment Element Postgraduate Criteria:
Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
Theory/practice link
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
Problem solving
Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
Evaluating evidence and argument
Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.
Reaching sound judgements
Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
Excellent communication skills which can reach a wider audience. The above criteria that demonstrate the notion of a postgraduate are fundamental to the role of the advanced practitioner in health and social care. It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the programme will utilise these criteria to become leaders and innovators. 

Following completion of the programme students will be qualified to work in an adult clinical environment.

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

Throughout the programme students will be offered career guidance and support, from both the programme team and the University’s careers service. This will be cognisant of the UK Border Agency laws and will take a global perspective.  

Professional suitability

All students undertaking the ONP will need to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check prior to attending a clinical placement. Throughout the programme it is the responsibility of all staff in contact with the nurse to report any incidents or allegations of misconduct to the line manager and programme leader, who have responsibility for instigating the University’s Professional Suitability procedures. If the allegations are upheld by the Professional Suitability panel, this may result in discontinuation from the course. All cautions and criminal convictions must be reported immediately and all information must be shared with the programme leader 

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