Quality Improvement Leadership Programme

CPD Credits72

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


The Quality Improvement Leadership Programme is an RCPI Certificate Programme. It is a joint RCPI/HSE programme that is fully funded for HSE employees. RCPI is applying for this programme to be validated as a Postgraduate Certificate, awarded for the attainment of a minimum of 30 ECTS credits at level 9. The award for this programme open for enrolment is an RCPI Certificate Programme and it is not currently on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

This programme aims to provide a transformative experience in terms of personal growth and leadership development. We will help your team develop the confidence to integrate and implement theories and methods of quality improvement. You will learn how to translate theories for improvement and implementation science into tangible positive outcomes in the health service.

The programme is designed to enable your team to become champions of change in healthcare. Our expert faculty will share their cutting-edge knowledge and skills in all aspects of quality improvement, implementation science, patient safety and enhanced leadership capacity.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Appraise the components of effective leadership and relate these to quality improvement in your own work setting
  • Critically apply improvement theories and methodologies as part of a quality improvement project
  • Appraise a systems approach to quality in healthcare covering the domains of safety, effectiveness, timeliness, person centeredness, efficiency, and equity
  • Apply the theories of patient safety with a view to enhanced patient outcomes and harm reduction
  • Promote a culture of person-centred care and practice that considers patient and family engagement as a driver for quality
  • Appraise process data and outputs of other measurement methodologies to influence and support implementation of a quality improvement initiative.

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.

View the Certificate in Quality Improvement Leadership Handbook here

Design and Delivery

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

The programme is delivered over 42 weeks and will include approximately 7 full-day face-face sessions* and 5 full-day virtual classroom sessions.

*This will be assessed as per government restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your team will also be required to attend five video conferencing sessions and access additional learning material online.

Modules and Assessment

For information, please view the Modules and Assessment tab at the top of this page.

Start dates 

Teams that are accepted onto the programme will be split into two cohorts. The dates are based on the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Cohort 1 will run from 28 September 2021 to 9 June 2022.

Cohort 2 will run from 20 October 2021 to 30 June 2022.

All course dates can be viewed in the LEARNING SESSION DATES tab at the top of this page.


This programme is fully funded by the National Quality Improvement Team of the HSE, therefore it is free for all employees working in the HSE.

Who can apply?

Applications are invited from multidisciplinary teams of three people, at least one of whom must be a senior medical professional (a consultant or medical specialist). The full team must be currently working in Ireland and should be committed to working together for the duration of the programme. 

All applicants must have a level 8 qualification or equivalent in a relevant area with at least 3 years’ experience working in a healthcare environment.

The duration of the programme and the focus on building a sustainable workplace improvement requires a commitment to both the applicant team and workplace. For this reason, NCHDs unfortunately are not eligible for this programme. RCPI offers alternative programmes that may be of interest to NCHDs or other members of the wider workplace team who would like to learn more about QI. See our QI page for more information about these and other courses.

For full information, please go to the ENTRY REQUIREMENTS tab at the top of this page.

How do we apply?

One member of your team must apply on behalf of the full team using the application form below (You must sign into the RCPI website first).

In the application form you will be asked:

  • Has the team or any members of the team been involved in any quality improvement activities?
  • What is the problem or area for improvement identified in your service or area?
  • Describe your team and why you think it would be beneficial for your team to be chosen to complete this programme? Include any possible strengths or weaknesses you have identified as a team.

The deadline to apply is midnight on Wednesday, 21 July 2021.

What happens next?

Your application will initially be reviewed by the Programme Coordinator, any applicants that do not meet the entry requirements will be notified that their application has not been accepted. All accepted applications will be reviewed by a selection panel and successful teams will be notified of their acceptance onto the programme. If your team is successful, we will ask for a letter from all team members to ensure that they will be given the time to participate in this programme. All applicants will be notified of the decision from the selection panel by the Programme Coordinator.

View the RCPI Admissions Policy and Procedure.

Can I appeal a decision?

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: 

What if our application is successful?

Once registered, a range of resources and supports are made available to learners through a dedicated Learners’ Resources and Supports webpage. All policies and procedures that learners may refer to are published on the RCPI website.

We expect to confirm selected teams by the end of July 2021.

Who can we contact if we have questions?

If you would like to speak to us about this programme please contact Lyndsey Campbell, Programme Coordinator, at LyndseyCampbell@rcpi.ie 

You must apply as a multidisciplinary team

Eligibility criteria for teams

  • Applicants are required to apply as a team of three people
  • At least one team member must be a senior medical professional (a consultant or medical specialist).
  • Teams should be multidisciplinary, for example including:
    • Medical Consultant/Medical Specialist
    • Chief Executive Officer
    • Nursing personnel
    • Physiotherapists
    • Pharmacists
    • Allied Health Professionals
    • Operations personnel
    • Human Resources personnel
    • Communications personnel
    • Administration personnel

Your team must have executive approval from your organisation's management, for example from your direct line manager, hospital CEO or Area Manager.

Eligibility criteria for individual team members

All applicants must have a level 8 qualification or equivalent in a relevant area and must have at least 3 years’ experience working in a healthcare environment.

Selecting a team lead

Your team must select a team lead (one person) to submit the application on behalf of your team. You will need to include the following information in your application:

  • Confirmation of executive sponsorship for this programme within your organisation
  • Confirmation of line manager approval to attend the programme
  • Name, job title/role, institution and email address per team member
  • Proposed quality improvement plan

For more information, please read our Admissions Policy.

Recognition of Prior Learning

There is currently no recognition of prior learning for this programme, however there is an opportunity to progress through the MSc Leadership, Innovation and Management for Healthcare in University College Dublin. The Quality Improvement Leadership Programme is recognised for prior learning for 30 ECTS if learners enrol onto the programme.

For more information on Recognition of Prior Learning, please see the Recognition of Prior Learning procedure.

For more information on Access, Transfer and Progression please read the policy and procedure below.

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. Prospective learners can access the information on this through the policy and procedure linked below.

Protection of Enrolled Learner Policy

Protection of Enrolled Learner Procedure

Modules and Assessment

Module 1: Leading Quality Improvement

In module 1, you will learn the theories and concepts of leadership, improvement science and implementation science. There is a focus on developing awareness and engagement on the practical application of theories and concepts. You will engage with various measurement tools and in-process analysis.

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish conceptions and models of leadership and their relevance to personal leadership in healthcare
  • Interpret and reflect on leadership practice to allow development and change
  • Apply the theories of Science of Improvement and Implementation Science to their learning through the development of a Personal Improvement Project and a group Quality Improvement Project
  • Analyse own context and the systems in which you work using a systems approach
  • Appreciate the value of Improvement Methodologies and approaches to measurement and improvement
  • Critically evaluate their quality improvement project with reference to Irish national policies and frameworks

Module 2: Leading and Implementing Quality Improvement

In Module 2 you will focus on the delivery of your project plan. There is also a focus on process variation, patient safety and person-centred care. An outcome of the programme is the completion of your project and project report.

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Discriminate and apply improvement methodologies to specific challenges as part of a quality improvement group project
  • Identify individual, interpersonal, organisational, cultural and systemic barriers to change and select appropriate and effective leadership approaches and interventions
  • Appraise systems variation and the impact on patient and service outcomes
  • Relate concepts of person-centred care and practice to service delivery
  • Appraise the principles of patient safety including risk management, human factors, systems theory, reliability and resilience engineering
  • Appreciate approaches to building capacity and sustainability in implementing quality improvement.


The Quality Improvement Leadership Programme assessments are split over 2 modules, to continue from Module 1 to Module 2 learners must complete and pass all related assessments in Module 1. An outline of the programmes summative assessment schedule is listed below:

Module 1:

Module 2:

Formative assessment will include participation in classroom activities and group work.

Learning session dates for 2021/2022

Teams that are accepted onto the programme will be split into two cohorts. Successful teams will be informed of their cohort allocation with the decision letter.

The feasibility of hosting in-house sessions will be assessed as per government restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cohort 1

Cohort 2

Mon 10 May 2021 17:00 - Wed 21 Jul 2021
RCPI, Ireland