Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Learning Disabilities)

The PG Dip Nursing (Learning Disabilities) blends the knowledge and theory of nursing and applies these into practice. The course is modelled around the NMC (2018) Future Nurse Proficiencies seven platforms allowing the student to explore the art of nursing using learning pedagogies and assessment techniques that are authentic and reflect skills and knowledge required in the practice setting.

The aim of this course is to produce autonomous, resilient analytical, critical thinking nurses with the ability to lead and work in a variety of settings yet maintaining the unique nature of their field of practice.

Alongside the theoretical underpinnings of nursing, this course utilises simulation to facilitate an understanding of the art of nursing and to learn and practice of nursing skills and procedures. In addition, simulation offers opportunity to rehearse interpersonal skills, to understand and demonstrate professionalism and the ability to maintain service, user dignity and respect. Working alongside practice partners, students will become proficient in a wide range of nursing skills and procedures measured and assessed against the standards of proficiencies for registered nurses. On completion of the course, students will be able to apply for registration with the NMC. Registrants will be knowledgeable in the core nursing skills with an ability to adopt a critical approach in applying these to their field of practice.

This course is subject to validation.

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years September Glyntaff A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years September Glyntaff A

The Post Graduate Diploma Nursing (Learning Disabilities) consists of six 20 credit modules.

Three 20 credit modules, with an exit point of Post Graduate Certificate (Health Sciences), promote self-discovery and a critical awareness of the demands of becoming a healthcare professional. The key concepts of nursing, health promotion, illness prevention, biopsychosocial sciences, medicine management, research/evidence base and assessing and meeting needs are core principles explored. The student will adopt a critical approach to explore the therapeutic opportunities available across the fields of nursing. Critical analyses of professionalism, ethics and the law applicable across fields of nursing facilitate the student to develop in-depth understanding of the complex nature of healthcare in an ever-changing political environment. Practice learning experiences will support the students to develop their knowledge and skills in delivering care with active participation in care under minimal supervision as they work towards becoming more proficient in all aspects of person-centred care.

The three 20 credit modules for the final award of Post Graduate Diploma Nursing develop more advanced thinking and a critically analytical approach to learning whilst exploring the quality of care expected by service users, their families and carers. Main themes include key areas that underpin pathophysiology and pharmacology applied to fields of practice becoming prescriber ready and effective, appropriate, compassionate person centred care. Theories of education, leadership and management are explored and how they impact upon providing quality services to service users across the age continuum. During practice learning experiences students are required to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and professional attributes to be able to lead and co-ordinate person centred compassionate care and to support and supervise others. Completion of the Post Graduate Diploma enables application to the NMC nursing register.



A blended learning approach will be used throughout which will facilitate differing learning styles and acknowledge the philosophy of widening access. The learning and teaching strategy will reflect the range and diversity of the content of courses.  Lectures and tutorials will be used in conjunction with group discussions, debates and seminars to facilitate the development of knowledge and understanding of a wide range of themes and topics and their application across practice contexts. Role play will be used to facilitate the development of communication and interpersonal skills. Online activities, discussion forums, and enquiry-based learning will be used to explore several of the topic areas. Students will study and be summatively assessed on an online medication dosage calculation programme during each progression point to facilitate the development of the core nursing skill of the safe administration of medication, to include medication dosage calculations. This will be directly related to the intended field of practice of the student.

Students will participate in simulated learning in the Clinical Simulation Centre. This provides a well-equipped, state-of-the-art facility that replicates a range of practice settings. It has a dedicated team of staff consisting of registered nurses, midwives, and technical support staff who are supported by input from academic staff and registered practitioners from practice learning environments across all fields. Service users are also involved in the development and delivery of simulated scenarios. Clinical simulation offers the student the ability to gain and improve knowledge, understanding and skills in a controlled environment that is suitably challenging but safe and non-threatening. It provides opportunities for the application of knowledge to practice, decision making, critical thinking and team building. Importantly simulation is a means of complimenting the learning to which students are exposed in practice. Simulated clinical scenarios mimic the real world of practice learning experience and reflects all client groups in their authenticity. Practicing in a safe, supported simulated environment builds the confidence and proficiency of the student. 

Students will participate in simulated learning throughout the programme, across fields and in field specific sessions. As students’ progress through each phase of the courses, simulated clinical scenarios will increase in complexity thus providing the student with an appropriate level of challenge in the preparation for registration. The time spent in simulated learning will be in addition to the time spent in practice learning environments. 

Fifty percent of the course is undertaken in the practice learning environment.  Student will have a minimum of 21 weeks of experience in healthcare per part of the programme. Students will be supported by registrants during this time and will be assessed utilising the All Wales Practice Assessment Documents. Students will attend a range of practice learning experiences organised by the university to give a balanced programme leading to registration.


Students will be assessed in a number of ways during the programme. Assessments are structured in a way to ensure they are authentic and meets the needs of a developing registrant. Assessments include:

  • Assignments
  • Presentations
  • Practical Assessments
  • Class tests
  • MCQs
  • Online drug dosage calculations


The course is validated and regulated by the Nursing Midwifery Council. On completion of the programme students are able to apply for registration with the NMC.


Alongside excellent learning and teaching facilities students have access to a state of the art clinical simulation centre.

The courses enable students to develop their skills in communication and relationship management, procedural skills and nursing care and management interventions in a variety of state-of-the-art facilities, including the Clinical Simulation Centre and Hydra Minerva suite. 

The facilities at the USW provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn and develop the knowledge, skills and core values of nursing in safe learning environments that mirror, or recreate the challenges experienced across practice learning environments. This allows safe experimentation and practice of techniques and builds the confidence of students in preparation for their practice learning experiences.


Students are supported and taught by expert practitioners and service users in the fields of nursing and beyond, who offer discipline specific, contemporary examples of best health and social care practice. The course team include academic staff who are experienced healthcare professionals and educated at level seven and beyond. The team have a wealth of experience in supporting learning, teaching and assessment both in education and practice settings at all academic levels. Key members of the team include a number of experienced registrants working within USW Clinical Simulation Centre who are current and competent to help support the students in the development of key nursing procedures and skills.

  • An undergraduate degree with a classification of 2:1 or higher in any subject.
  • Employed in a healthcare environment for more than 6 months.
  • A Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check for the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists. (no offences are considered spent)
  • Interview required.


Prior learning and experience requirements

All applicants are required to evidence their prior learning and experience before they are accepted onto the course. On receipt of application, applicants are provided with a Practice Assessor Document (PAD) for Nurses and a Guide to Recognition for Prior Learning.

  • Applicants need to ensure they complete the ‘PAD for Nurses’ documentation with a practical assessor in their workplace/healthcare environment. This document is used to evidence how you meet the required nursing standards.
  • To meet the prior learning requirements, applicants must evidence literacy and numeracy skills obtained from their previous degree or current/previous place of work by producing a portfolio of evidence. Please download our Guide to Recognition for Prior Learning to help you present your evidence for this.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.Equivalent qualifications considered are Essential Skills Level Two in Communication and Application of Number, or Functional Skills Level Two in English and Maths. (Must be achieved within the last 3 years)

International Entry Requirements

We currently are not offering places to international students as the course is commissioned.

If this changes the NMC requirements is IELTS of 7 is also required.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Students on registration with NMC are able to apply for roles in a wide range of NHS, non-NHS and social care settings linked to their field of practice.

How does this course prepare me for employment?

Practice learning experience comprises 50% of the courses and students are offered a wide range of NHS, non-NHS and social care experiences within, near to, and away from the service users’ home.

Students are supported by registrants or healthcare experts throughout the practice learning experience. Practice Supervisors provides the practice based learning. Practice Assessors assess proficiency using the All Wales Practice Assessment Document and an Academic Assessor oversees the theoretical and practical components of the programme to ensure high quality support during the Practice Learning Experience.

Students are expected to travel but generally travel time will be less than 60 minutes. In some fields of practice placements may take more than the average outlined above. When possible accommodation will be provided to minimise excessive travel.

There is opportunity for European placements and these placements will be advertised to the student groups as they become available.

Employable stats are high from this commissioned programme averaging around 98%+