University of Chester

Programme Specification
Nursing (Learning Disability) DipHE
2014 - 2015

Diploma of Higher Education

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

5 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 life long 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.

Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrate the ability to appraise the underpinning theoretical base of nursing using a reflective framework including:

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

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

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

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups.
  • Demonstrate the application of evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate effective fundamental caring skills.
  • Exercise responsibility when undertaking holistic and a 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 an individual and group levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT.
  • Work collaboratively within an interprofessional environment.
  • Demonstrate and apply literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Demonstrate self direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in problem solving in a caring environment.

Transferable Professional Skills

The ability to:
  • Communicate effectively at both an individual and group levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT.
  • Work collaboratively within an interprofessional environment.
  • Demonstrate and apply literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Demonstrate self direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in problem solving in a caring environment.
  • 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, be completed within 5 years ( if full time)  and no more than 7 years part-time study. This requires the 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. The holders of qualifications at this level will have developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study, and will have learned to apply those principles more widely. 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.

Years 2 & 3 of the programme are both delivered at academic level 5 and consist of a Branch Programme with six theory modules, two of which are non-credit bearing but which are included in order to provide opportunity and breadth of study.   The theory modules are supported by two non credit bearing, practice based modules.

Year 2, consists of a total of three theory modules. Two of the modules are credit bearing, specifically related to the chosen branch of study and focus on altered health. The third, non-credit bearing module looks at the philosophy and diversity of different care environments.  Associated with this module is a 2 week elective placement with opportunities locally, nationally or internationally. Again all theory is applied through a fourth, year long, non credit bearing module comprising three placement experiences. 

In year 3, there are two credit bearing modules focusing on public health and management and therapeutic interventions and a third non-credit bearing module which is centred on professional development. As an option the latter of these modules may be taken as an assessed module at level 6. All three modules incorporate shared learning and enable the student to work towards being a registered nurse with confidence. The module focusing on therapeutic interventions 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 three placement experiences.

The minimum academic standard of pre-registration nursing programmes is that of Diploma of 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
NM5004 5 Nursing Management of Care Delivery and Therapeutic Interventions 40 Comp
NM5005 5 Public Health in Nursing Practice 20 Comp
NM5006 5 Personal and Professional Development 0 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
NM5023 5 Observing the Diversity of Care - Learning Disability Branch 0 Comp
NM5550 5 Practice Learning 2 0 Comp
NM5551 5 Practice Learning 3 0 Comp

Certificate of Higher Education inHealth Care Studies: 120 credits at level 4.
Diploma of Higher Education: 120 credits at level5 (240 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 of Higher Education 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. The Faculty of Health and Social Care encourages applications 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.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care facilitates a widening 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. 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 levels 4 and 5 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, demonstration and simulations, 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 and 5 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 from 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 diplomate. There is  flexibility to transfer to the graduate programme dependent on educational qualifications, ability and timing. The relevant level statement guidance from the QAA are as follows:

Level 5


 Acquisition of knowledge that illustrates and exemplifies the underlying concepts and principles of the subjects studied. Knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in those subject(s).


 Ability to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied. Ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in the field of study. Appreciation of the boundaries of the subject(s) studied, and of inter-relationships with other subjects.

The characteristics of the successful student would be that of a clinically able practitioner who demonstrates a professional attitude, is of good health and good character, 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.

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