Care of the Surgical Patient

Nursing and midwifery

Course details

Continuing professional development is a key professional requirement for nurses and post graduate academic qualifications have been linked to positive patient outcomes through improved communication, expanded knowledge and stronger critical thinking skills. Though many postgraduate learning opportunities exist for nurses across a large number of clinical areas, limited opportunities exist for those working in the operating department (outside of larger Band 1 hospitals) and none exist which prepare the nurse to care for the pre and post-operative surgical patient in a ward setting at an enhanced level. 

The Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Care of the Surgical Patient) is a fully-accredited online six-month part-time programme aimed to address this gap. This exciting and clinically relevant programme offers participants the opportunity to consolidate and expand their knowledge in the care of the surgical patient, thus enhancing care, whilst at the same time allowing for flexibility within the workforce. The programme is designed in such a way as to allow students to choose the path most suited to their clinical practice: Pre and Postoperative Care; or Care in the Perioperative setting. The programme complements RCSI’s focus on surgical practice and support the provision of efficient, safe, and advanced high-quality healthcare, which enables people to live long and healthy lives.

The programme provides a foundation for those wishing to progress further to the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Care of the Surgical Patient) during which research, leadership and critical analysis skills acquired will further the students’ skills as a member of the interdisciplinary team.

Course code: C3280A1

Learning outcomes

This programme aims to:

  • ensure safe and effective care in the surgical setting 
  • develop the participants professional knowledge base, practical skills and understanding required by nurses working in a surgical setting, enhancing their capacity to care in this area
  • provide a platform for achieving greater efficiencies in applying healthcare discoveries to clinical practice.


The programme is run over one academic semester, beginning in January.

The programme modules are:

Module name Credits Assessment method
Principles of Surgical Practice 10 Assignment
Strand A: Anaesthetic and Recovery Room Nursing 10 Oral presentation and assignment
Strand A: Nursing Care of the Patient in the Operating Room 10 Poster and assignment
Strand B: Enhanced Nursing Care of the Preoperative Patient 10 Poster and assignment
Strand B: Enhanced Nursing Care of the Postoperative Patient
10 Oral presentation and assignment