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Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Preventive Cardiology

The scientific evidence for cardiovascular disease is compelling but translating this evidence into effective patient care is a challenge. This innovative programme in Preventive Cardiology is delivered in the NIPC Headquarters, the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre in Galway, and provides students with the knowledge and practice skills required to bridge this implementation gap and achieve the recommended lifestyle and therapeutic targets. It is currently the only postgradute progamme in Preventive Cardiology worldwide.

Programme Aim

The MSc and PG Dip programmes aims to equip students with knowledge and skills required to make meaningful contributions to the discipline of preventive cardiology. The programmes are aimed at all healthcare professionals with a role in prevention of cardiovascular disease, such as physicians, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists, physical activity specialists, pharmacists, psychologists, occupational therapists, sports scientists, health promotion and public health specialists.

Programme Duration

The programme is full time "in-service" and requires students to attend a taught component (typically one Friday and Saturday per month), complete directed study at a distance and a clinical component which includes their workplace. Students not working in healthcare settings are required to complete a residential component within the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre.

To find out more please download the Course Brochure. Applications for the 2018 intake will open on 1 November 2018.

For further information contact:

Professor Gerard Flaherty, Professor of Medical Education, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland

Phone: +353 91 495469

Email: gerard.flaherty@nuigalway.ie

Web: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/preventive-cardiology.html

Read some of our student testimonials

Click on the icons below to watch some of our student testimonial videos:


Click on the links below to read some of our student testimonials:

  • Staff Nurse, Cardiothoracics

    Staff Nurse, Cardiothoracics

    Why did you take up the programme?

    I took up the programme because preventive medicine is an area which I am very interested in and this course appealed to me hugely. I work in Cardiac surgery therefore gaining knowledge into the deeper cause and prevention of heart disease is something I am passionate about. Helping people to gain control over their health is also very important in this day and age.

    Did it meet your expectations?

    Absolutely! All the lecturers were excellent and could not have facilitated my learning more. It was a very tough 12 months but I must say the course co-ordinator and lecturers went over and above to ensure we were guided in every way possible. I learned practical skills which I did not expect to learn which also makes this course excellent.

    Has it changed your practice, and if so in what way?

    The knowledge I gained from this MA has given me deeper insight into cardiac disease but also has enabled me to facilitate the change in people to address their risk factors and lifestyles and ultimately reduce their heart disease. I can now confidently counsel my patients in a holistic way , having learned the necessary skills to compliment and accompany the knowledge.

    Would you recommend this programme and why?

    I would recommend this programme to anyone with an interest in preventive medicine, or working in the area of heart disease. It is very broad course so therefore appeals to an array of disciplines. Not only has it given me a huge knowledge which adds to my years of nursing practice but it has given me huge confidence in myself gaining such.

  • Staff Nurse, Cardiology

    Staff Nurse, Cardiology

    Why did I take up the programme?

    My background is in cardiac nursing and I had worked in an interventional facility for a few years meeting many patients who have either been diagnosed in the past or were newly diagnosed with CAD. I have always been interested in empowering patients to take control of future risk through lifestyle modification and was looking for a course to enhance and improve skills to better inform and educate. I was also interested in moving from intervention to a role in primary/secondary prevention and felt this course looked to be the ideal way to prepare me for that transition.

    Did it meet your expectations?

    Everything regarding this course exceeded my expectations from the organised structure and layout to the enthusiasm of course directors and lecturers. Studying and working a full time job is a stressful balancing act, however this was taken in to consideration at all times and made the journey smoother. From start to finish I enjoyed the course, the content was practical and clinically relevant.

    Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?

    Absolutely, whilst I always had a strong support for lifestyle modifications now more than ever do I feel empowered to encourage behaviour change. Through use of motivational interviewing skills learnt I now have the confidence to promote healthy lifestyle changes to reduce risk of CAD. Also the process of risk stratifying patients and becoming up to date with latest international guidelines have improved my clinical practice.

    Would you recommend the programme?

    I would definitely recommend this programme. Whilst preventive medicine is starting to gain momentum, now more than ever is a critical time for clinicians to update their practice and utilise preventive measures to improve patient outcomes. It is very manageable with full time work as most lectures are weekend based. The whole programme is relevant not only to management of cardiac patients but to general population as many of the subjects taught relate to overall health improvements and general disease prevention.

  • Staff Nurse, Clinical and Patient Care

    Staff Nurse, Clinical and Patient Care

    Why did I take up the programme?

    I signed up to do the Masters in preventive cardiology as a course to further my education in an area I am extremely interested in and to increase knowledge to enhance patient care.

    Did it meet your expectations?

    Whilst it was a challenging and busy year, it also greatly widened my comprehension of preventive cardiology methods. The modules covered were very relevant to my work practice in advising patients on ways to live a healthier life and reduce cardiovascular risks. The modules delivered were further enhanced and endorsed with knowledge from expert lecturers throughout the year.

    Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?

    I use the knowledge gained from this course on a daily basis in my nursing practice to enhance patient care and I am now armed with the knowledge and expertise to promote exercise, give dietary advice, smoking cessation advice and can enlighten patients on cardiovascular risk factors.

    Would you recommend the programme?

    This course is a comprehensive course on preventive cardiology and ways to enhance a healthy living. I would recommend it to all who work in areas that endorse healthy lifestyles to their clients/patient.

  • Smoking Cessation Co-Ordinator/Clinical Nurse Specialist

    Smoking Cessation Co-Ordinator/Clinical Nurse Specialist

    Why did I take up the programme?

    I attended the master's course in preventive cardiology (MScPC) to widen my knowledge on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, the relevant international research and policy, and the evidenced based treatment available.

    I hoped the course would assist me to:

    • Consolidate my current role as a smoking cessation clinical nurse specialist/registered nurse prescriber with my previous role a cardiology specialist nurse.
    • Formally integrating preventive cardiac care into my clinical role and service.
    • Increase my knowledge and confidence in educating service users, health professionals and policy makers to adopt tobacco cessation treatment into primary and secondary CVD prevention strategies.
    • Encourage systematic inclusion of tobacco cessation interventions into health professionals' daily practice that is appropriately resourced and supported in all health and community settings.

    Did it meet your expectations?


    Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?

    In my daily practice as a CNS/RNP in Smoking Cessation, I review an array of patients with a formal diagnosis of CVD and those at high risk of developing CVD. Previously, I informally addressed and educated clients on CVD risk factors that can be modified- diet, physical exercise, body mass index, psychological distress, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. On completion of this course- I have updated my assessments to formally include these. Clients are given a personal record card identifying their areas of CVD risk, improvements and agreed goals. This information is shared with the relevant consultant, hospital doctor and GP. Furthermore, I have gained confidence in my advocacy role within policy and practice development groups at local and national level.

    Would you recommend the programme?

    Yes, I enjoyed this course, it is very intensive and at times I thought it would be difficult to complete in one year. Now, having widened my knowledge base and formally integrated changes to my practice; I see the benefits to the patient in practicing preventive cardiology care. My family, friends and colleagues have also benefited from my completing this course.

  • Biomedical Science Graduate

    Biomedical Science Graduate

    Why did I take up the programme?

    Having just completed a BSc in Biomedical Science I was keen to undertake a new challenge. I had chosen Anatomy as my final year subject and had the opportunity to study the development of atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, its prevalence and its clinical manifestations. I thoroughly enjoyed this material and was keen to learn more. When I spotted this MSc advertised I knew it was the right course for me. However, having come from a non-clinical scientific background, I was slightly daunted at the thought commencing this course. From the onset, the course material equips you with the essential scientific and clinical knowledge that caters for a variety of backgrounds. Once this foundation is set in place there a range of assignments designed to both enhance and challenge your knowledge of Cardiovascular Disease and its associated risk factors such as Smoking, Diabetes Mellitus and Physical Inactivity. The lecturers and guest speakers are extremely approachable, welcoming and encourage student feedback. You are also provided with a mentor to provide ongoing support and advice throughout the academic year.

    Did it meet your expectations?

    Yes! And so much more. This course provides you with the tools required to effectively convey your message of prevention. Delivered by world leaders, not only will it strengthen your baseline knowledge of preventive medicine, but it will also challenge your views, allowing you to raise questions on your own by encouraging independent thinking. The methods of learning range from online tools to workshops conducted in lectures. This multifaceted approach allows you to draw from a variety of resources as you undertake your MSc studies. A component of this course that I found most fascinating was the clinical placement module. This truly reflected the principles of Preventive Cardiology in a clinical setting, delivered by highly experienced and motivated clinicians throughout Galway.

    Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?

    This course has opened my eyes to the range of clinical and research roles available to undergraduate students wishing to start their careers in this field. My personal experience at Croí, coupled with my MSc studies provided me with the clinical research experience and skills I required to begin seeking employment and clinical research opportunities. This was primarily from conducting my own patient-orientated research project and studies of Research Methods. Furthermore, the lecturers and staff are fully committed to producing high quality, evidence-based dissertations, and strongly encourage students to submit to a peer-reviewed journal- further enhancing career prospects!

    Would you recommend the programme?

    Yes absolutely! As a new graduate of NUIG, I was given an amazing opportunity to spend the duration of my MSc studies at Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway. Here I became part of a team that are truly passionate about preventing CVD and promoting healthy lifestyles both in the west of Ireland and nationally. Throughout this internship I was given the opportunity to personally engage with the patients attending this facility to take part in the range of health programmes and public talks hosted in Croí House. This highly motivating experience inspired my own dissertation topic. It also provided me with experienced staff to offer their support and guidance to fulfil my research goals. The Croí team, lecturers and guest speakers are wholly committed to pushing the boundaries in CVD prevention and control. This course has arrived at a very timely manner and is essential for anyone who wishes to enhance their clinical practice and research skills in Preventive Cardiology.

    I would encourage clinicians in the field of Cardiology, Obesity, Diabetes and Stroke to apply for this programme. Clinicians who wish to gain the required skills and tools to effectively instil the importance of prevention among their patients and contribute to the ongoing research efforts to raise the bar in Preventive Cardiology worldwide would benefit from this course. From a career perspective, I have decided to pursue a career in the clinical research sector, in which I have recently found employment. I also highly recommend this course to undergraduates of the health sciences seeking a career in the pharmaceutical industry or health economics.

  • Senior Physiotherapist, Cardiac Rehabilitation

    Senior Physiotherapist, Cardiac Rehabilitation

    Why did I take up the programme?

    I decided to apply to the MSc in Preventive Cardiology in 2013 as I felt the time was right for me to pursue a post-graduate course and the blended learning style really appealed to me. This course is very well designed for those who are working full-time and it is possible to complete the required workloads and assignments while maintaining a work/life balance! As a senior physiotherapist working in cardiac rehabilitation, I felt that I needed an academic qualification to support me in my practical, patient-focused role and to ensure I was meeting best standards and using evidence-based practice.

    Did it meet your expectations?

    I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed every module of this course and I'm so delighted that I undertook it. After ten years working clinically since my undergraduate time in university, this Masters has re-invigorated my love of learning and research. It has reminded me of all those skills of literature appraisal and scientific writing which I haven't used in so many years. The atmosphere in Croi house is very supportive, we had an excellent comradery between the students and staff and the facilities are top-class. Working online using the college ‘Blackboard and library sites allowed for very efficient home study and I never felt that I missed out on any articles or advice etc, despite not living in Galway.

    Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?

    This Masters programme is extremely well taught and I feel so competent and knowledgeable now in my specialist field. I can stand over my treatment choices and service plans with scientific rationale. I particularly feel that it has expanded my knowledge base beyond physiotherapy and exercise prescription and aided in a much more holistic approach to my patient care. The modules on medical management of risk factors gave me real understanding into the drug therapies for diabetes and hypercholesterolemia for example, something which I feel was lacking from my undergraduate education. Also, we received world-class instruction in communication and behaviour change techniques- an essential tool for all healthcare professionals in my opinion.

    Would you recommend the programme?

    I would have no hesitation in recommending this programme to any of my physiotherapy colleagues, regardless of a background in cardiac rehabilitation. It will provide a wide perspective on management and prevention of cardiovascular disease, giving skills and knowledge which can be adapted for many varying patient population groups. This course has given me the confidence to broaden my scope of practise and to use my skills in a multi-disciplinary environment as a more rounded professional.

Croí                           Galway

Established by Croí and an affiliate of the National University of Ireland, Galway