Physical Activity and Health Behaviour Change in Clinical Populations


This exciting module is a unique collaboration between the School of Physiotherapy and the Department of Health Psychology in RCSI. This module has been designed to meet the growing demands for healthcare professionals to not only manage individual health conditions, but to also play a key role in protecting and promoting health of these populations.

We have specifically developed this module to address the fact that despite a wealth of evidence that physical activity protects health across the life-course, insufficient amounts of physical activity remains a major behavioural challenge worldwide. Many Irish children, adolescents and adults are insufficiently active and those living with health conditions, are even more likely to be inactive. This places them at risk of accumulating further health conditions associated with poorer health outcomes.

This module has been designed to complement the HSE 'Making every contact count' (MECC) initiative, and to upskill you in behaviour change interventions needed to augment MECC training. Upon completion, you will have developed increased knowledge, skills and confidence to support people with health conditions to optimise their physical activity levels. You will get the opportunity to develop your skills in the RCSI SIM Centre for Simulation Education and Research, a state-of-the art facility for clinical skills education. Using these new skills you will support the National Physical Activity Plan which aims to increase the number of people in Ireland meeting the physical activity guidelines by 1% annually.

Throughout the module you will be supported by expert clinical educators and practitioners to build the knowledge and skills required to support physical activity engagement in people with long-term disease and other conditions.

You will improve your capacity to consider patients’ individual needs, capabilities, preferences, and social contexts with respect to physical activity engagement. Uniquely, the module harnesses RCSI’s world-leading experience in simulation, to nurture practical skills and communication skills and will enable you  to apply knowledge and behaviour change tools in clinical practice.

This module has been developed based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which has been developed in accordance with the recommendations from the Bologna Agreement (1999) and Ireland’s National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). These standards provide a mechanism to promote international transparency, international recognition of qualifications, and the international mobility of learners and graduates.

For information on the course please view this video.

Physical Activity and Health Behaviour Change in Clinical Populations brochure PDF | 5137 KB

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Fiona Smyth

"I thoroughly enjoyed this module: it provided such practical approaches for clinical practice, the learning environment was so open and positive with refreshing delivery. It also opened up new career opportunities."

Fiona Smyth, Class of 2022

What you will study

The module comprises of three interconnecting units. The units have been designed to scaffold your learning by using real-life clinical cases which you will encounter in each unit as the module progresses.  We believe this approach will help you to weave your academic learning with your experientialist and constructivist learning from your clinical setting. This weaving together of experience and learning aims to effectively close the theory-practice gap.

Delivery is over a four-month period using a blended approach combining interactive online materials followed by in-person workshops at RCSI's St Stephen's Green Campus, Dublin.

Unit  Access to online materials  In-person attendance
Unit 1
6 February 2025 6 March 2025
Unit 2 7 March 2025 24 April 2025
Unit 3 25 April 2025 15 May 2025