Postgraduate Certificate in Quality Improvement Leadership in Healthcare

CPD Credits72

Develop the confidence and skills to integrate and implement quality improvement theories and methods

Information and application forms for the September 2024 intake of Postgraduate Certificate in Quality Improvement Leadership in Healthcare

Applications now open for 2024-2025 deadline extended until June 14th.

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The RCPI Postgraduate Certificate in Quality Improvement Leadership in Healthcare one year programme is funded for HSE employees by the National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate (NQPSD).


The programme is accredited at level 9 with the National Quality Framework for the attainment of a minimum of 30 ECTS credits.

This is a team- and project-based learning programme, designed to provide learners with leading edge knowledge and skills in aspects of quality improvement, implementation science, patient safety and enhanced leadership capacity. The programme is a key implementation support for the HSE Patient Safety Strategy 2019-2024 in facilitating healthcare teams to identify and address the common causes of harm.

A project to improve lung cancer outcomes in Ireland by decreasing the proportion of cases diagnosed at the late stage disease led to a 50% increase in 
e-referrals to rapid access clinics.

Programme learners apply as a multidisciplinary team of three members who commit to engaging in a workplace improvement project.

This programme aims to provide a transformative experience in terms of personal growth and leadership development. Teams are supported by expert faculty to analyse the systems in which they work and to evaluate, integrate and implement theories and methods of quality improvement.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the two modules of the programme, you will be able to:

  1. 1. Critique the components of effective leadership for quality improvement in their own clinical practice.
  2. 2. Apply improvement methodologies and tools to a quality improvement project.
  3. 3. Implement a systems approach to quality in healthcare, including/covering/exploring the domains of safety, effectiveness, timeliness, person centeredness, efficiency, and equity.
  4. 4. Reflect on the theories of patient safety and evaluate opportunities for improvement or implementation within their clinical practice.
  5. 5. Reflect on the concepts and models of person-centred care and consider how patient and family engagement can be a driver for quality in their clinical practice.
  6. 6. Generate a project report and evaluate the use of improvement science methods, including measurement tools, to influence and support implementation.


When you complete the programme, you will join our vibrant network of Quality Improvement graduates, who regularly collaborate with the wider quality improvement movement in Ireland and internationally to share knowledge, insights and experiences - all in the best interests of patients and quality of care.

Previous Project - WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? 
Initiative to promote co-produced care in CAMHS setting with collaborative care planning and a new, colourful goal-setting form to complete with young people increased the frequency of a young person’s goals listed in their care plans from 40% to 80% in new cases.

Design and Delivery

This programme is delivered using blended learning, which is a flexible way of completing the course that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods and virtual classroom sessions.

The programme is delivered over 10 months and will include approximately 7 full-day in-person sessions, 5 full-day virtual classroom sessions and a series of virtual team calls.

All in-person sessions will be held in RCPI, No. 6 Kildare Street.

The virtual sessions will be held on zoom videoconferencing service

Modules and Assessment

The programme module and assessment strategy are currently being reviewed and will be made available to all successful applicants before the programme commences.

For reference, please refer to the programme handbook '24-'25 here 

Start dates 

The dates are based on the 2024-2025 academic year. Successful teams will be informed with the decision letter.

You are expected to aim for 100% attendance and full engagement in the programme.

All course dates can be viewed in the LEARNING SESSION DATES tab at the top of this page. Scheduling is subject to confirmation for 2024-2025 academic year.


This programme is fully funded by the National Quality & Patient Safety Directorate, therefore it is free for those working in the HSE.

About the application form

The application form is completed online. The application process should involve all three team members though only one will submit on behalf of the team. It is possible to complete the form in stages using the SAVE FOR LATER option.

You will be asked to complete sections about your team member demographics and contact details, your experience of QI and you will be asked to explain your workplace improvement idea and why you feel your team should be selected.

Supporting documentation

You must provide the following with your application:

  • -Letter to confirm executive sponsorship from your organisation’s CEO, Clinical Director, General Manager and/or relevant senior manager for your application.
  • -Letter to confirm line manager approval for each team members’ application and attendance on the programme.
  • -A Curriculum vitae may be requested to demonstrate attainment of a level 8 qualification or equivalent and 3 years post-graduation experience.


Application process

One person per team should complete and submit relevant accompanying letter(s) of support.

  • -Applications are checked and verified. You will be informed if your application is not eligible.
  • -Eligible applications will be considered by a selection committee in June 2024.
  • -The outcome of the selection process will be notified to all applicants within one week of the selection meeting.

View the RCPI Admissions Policy and Procedure

You may appeal the admission decision within 10 working days of the decision. For information and assistance in appealing an admission decision, please see the following:

RCPI Appeals Policy

RCPI Appeals Procedure

Selection process

Applications are reviewed based on the proposed quality improvement project and whether the project fits in with the six domains of healthcare quality AND whether it addresses one of the common causes of harm.  They are also assessed based on their previous involvement in QI (if any) and why the team think it would be beneficial for them to participate in the programme.


Contact us

If you would like to speak to us about this programme please contact us at

You must apply as a multidisciplinary team


Entry requirements

• Teams must consist of three members, all of whom must be working in Irish healthcare setting, whether hospital or community based.

• All three team members must commit to working together for the duration of the programme (12-18 months to include project write up and submission).

• Each team of three will comprise at least one consultant or equivalent senior health and social care professional.

• Teams should be multidisciplinary, for example including:

-Medical Consultant/Medical Specialist

-Chief Executive Officer

-Nursing personnel



-Allied Health Professionals

-Operations personnel

-Human Resources personnel

-Communications personnel

-Administration personnel


 All team members must:

-be working in the Irish health service.

-have a minimum of 3 years post-graduation experience as an employee in the health service.

-have a minimum Level 8 Honours Degree (Bachelor’s Degree or Higher Diploma).


English language requirements

If English is not a learners first language, they will have to be able to read and write English to a certain level to apply to RCPI.

Applicants whose first language is not English may be required to provide evidence of the following level of English language proficiency:

  • -High B2 on the (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) CEFRL when awarded by a recognised awarding body.
  • -An average score of 6.5 on the overall components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and a minimum of 6.0 in each band on the Academic Version.


Team leadership

For teams in a hospital setting, the lead/senior person will be the most suitable team member and dependent on the proposed project, this will include a medical or surgical consultant. Some projects may not require a consultant to be part of the team.

For more information, please read our Admissions Policy.

Recognition of Prior Learning

There is currently no recognition of prior learning for this programme. 

You can access the relevant policies and procedures linked below.

Recognition of Prior Learning procedure.

Access, Transfer and Progression Policy

Access, Transfer and Progression Procedure

Protection of Enrolled Learners

RCPI has procedures in place for the protection of enrolled learners. You can access the information on this through the policy and procedure linked below.

Protection of Enrolled Learner Policy

Protection of Enrolled Learner Procedure

Workshop dates for 2024/2025

Teams that are accepted onto the programme will be informed with the decision letter. Scheduling is subject to confirmation for 2024-25 academic year at the start of the programme and is subject to change.

 Session    Delivery Mode       Date 
 Induction    Virtual 1.5 hours      05 September 2024 
 Module 1 Unit 1, Day 1     In-person      10 September 2024 
 Module 1 Unit 1, Day 2     In-person      11 September 2024
 Module 1 Unit 1, Day 3    In-person      12 September 2024
 Module 1 Unit 2, Day 4    In-person      10 October 2024
 Team Coaching     Virtual - allocated slot       20 November 2024
 Team Coaching     Virtual - allocated slot      21 November 2024 
 Module 1 Unit 3, Day 5    Virtual      27 November 2024
 Module 2 Unit 3, Day 6    Virtual      08 January 2025
 Team Coaching     Virtual - allocated slot      29 January 2025
 Team Coaching     Virtual - allocated slot      30 January 2025
 Module 2 Unit 4, Day 7    Virtual      12 February 2025
 Module 2 Unit 4, Day 8    Virtual      13 March 2025
 Module 2 Unit 5, Day 9    In-person       09 April 2025
 Module 2 Unit 5, Day 10     Virtual      20 May 2025
 Team Coaching    Virtual - allocated slot      28 May 2025
 Team Coaching    Virtual - allocated slot      29 May 2025
 Module 2 Unit 6, Day 11    In-person      25 June 2025
 Module 2 Unit 6, Day 12    In-person      26 June 2025
Thu 25 Apr 2024 09:00 - Fri 31 May 2024
RCPI, Ireland