Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Professional Certificate in Children and Loss

This course seeks to equip practitioners with the necessary skills to understand and support children on their grief journey. When a child experiences loss, either through death or a parental separation, their needs are often misunderstood or overlooked. Because children may express their grief in ways that are different to adults their reactions may go unrecognised.

Aims and objectives

This Professional Certificate in Children and Loss aims to equip professionals who work with children with an informed understanding of bereavement and loss in children and adolescents.

Specific educational objectives

  • Develop a critical understanding of the theory underpinning childhood loss and bereavement.
  • Evaluate the different types of loss issues experienced by children at different stages in their development e.g. younger children and adolescents, loss through separation and divorce.
  • Critically appraise therapeutic interventions – including art and clay.
  • Analyse the role of resilience in bereaved children and an ability to incorporate resilience into care plans.
  • Assess support systems for working with children and loss.
  • Integrate new knowledge and skill into professional practice.
  • Exhibit an integrated value-based and evidence-based approach to the support of bereaved children.

Course structure

This part-time course runs from September to March each year.

It comprises of two modules:

  • Module 1 - Understanding Children and Loss
  • Module 2 - Addressing Loss Issues with Children

Each module consists of approximately 200 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, assignment preparation and integrative sessions.

Registration will take place in RCSI on a date in September/October to be confirmed. There are 11 full-day inputs (on Thursdays and Fridays) over a seven-month period.

All the course presenters are skilled practitioners who work with bereaved children. The course also includes two integrative sessions. These sessions facilitate the integration of course learning in a small group setting and are led by our senior facilitators.

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Eligibility and admission requirements

Applications are invited from professionals whose work brings them into contact with children who are bereaved through a family death or parental separation. The course will be of interest to teachers, chaplains, social workers, social care workers, psychologists, counsellors, nurses and others who meet bereaved children in their work.

Participants must possess a Level 8 degree in a relevant area or equivalent demonstrated through a defined Recognition of Prior Learning Process (RPL). RPL requires demonstration of significant experience in working with children in a professional capacity or through formal volunteering; completion of CPD or other training in a relevant area and; relevance of course to career/opportunity to apply learning.

An academic transcript of your Level 8 degree (or higher, if applicable) will be requested. An academic transcript lists your academic history: programmes attended, a breakdown of marks/grades achieved, the degree awarded, your overall grade and conferring date.

International degrees' equivalency are to be verified by using the NARIC service from QQI.

English language requirement

Prospective students applying for the Professional Certificate in Children and Loss for whom English is not their native language may need to arrange a test to confirm proficiency in English with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). More detailed information on requirements, exceptions and test centres can be found here.

  • Closing date for receipt of applications has been extended to Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Course design

This course design supports the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). RCSI and NUI have awarded the course 20 credits. The programme is designed around Level 9 outcomes as identified in the National Framework of Qualifications.


The fee for the Professional Certificate is €1,650. The fee may be paid by cheque/postal order, EFT or credit/debit card.

Cheques/postal orders should be made payable to the Irish Hospice Foundation and forwarded to Iris Murray, Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, D02 YE06.

Fees are eligible for tax relief.

A non-refundable deposit of €250 is required on acceptance of a course place.


Cancellations up to three weeks prior to the course commencing will be given a full refund, minus a cancellation fee of €200. Thereafter, no refunds will be made.


All classes are held in the training rooms of the Irish Hospice Foundation, 4th Floor, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, D02 YE06 and will run from 9.15am - 4.15pm.

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For general enquiries contact:

Iris Murray, Course Administrator, Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, D02 YE06.