Certificate in Healthcare Management Practice

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


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Who should attend

This programme is designed for NCHDs who wish to learn more about the non-clinical aspects of healthcare delivery and at the same time receive a formal postgraduate qualification (awarded at Level 9 NFQ), which will assist in their career development.

About the course

This programme, developed by Dublin Academic Medical Centre (DAMC) clinicians in partnership with Smurfit Executive Development, provides doctors with relevant management language, tools and best practices, and focuses on practical skill development through highly-interactive discussions, role-plays and simulations.

Participants will learn to understand key business management principles, practices and tools in relation to healthcare dynamics, financial management and leadership. Learning outcomes include increased managerial effectiveness through the application of theoretical knowledge and practice, and the evaluation and appraisal of financial data to improve service development and efficiency.

Course Content

The programme is delivered over 6 days and encompasses the following:


Participants are introduced to the language and concepts of finance and business. Using a number of case studies participants will have the opportunity to understand basic financial statements including Profit & Loss Accounts, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements. Participants will develop an appreciation for the judgements and estimates that underpin most financial numbers.


Participants will apply their business understanding to a number of clinically-based case studies via a highly interactive and participative process. The module culminates with participants developing a business plan for an initiative that is important to them in the context of their own clinical practice. While this business plan is valuable in itself, it also serves as a template for future such projects.


The emphasis of this module is on improving practical negotiation and influencing skills required in the workplace. Participants will develop their negotiation skills by learning the most effective strategies to use and by practising with a realistic simulated negotiation exercise set in a hospital environment. A key element of negotiation is the ability to influence others - participants will have the opportunity to discuss and explore solutions to situations in their own workplace where they would like to be more influential.


The Self-Management module will present a number of tools and techniques that will enable participants to better position themselves in how they are perceived by others and in a way that makes their interactions more effective. Using a communications model, participants will learn to adapt their style to their audience. Personal branding and what that entails is examined as well as looking at techniques to help participants be more effective at time management. The most important element of self-management is our attitude to change. The area of change and how it affects the individual will be one of the core underlying strands throughout the module.


This module will provide participants with best practice guidelines on how to lead and manage change in the constantly-shifting context of the Irish healthcare system. Adopting an action-learning approach, participants will work on real projects to understand and develop the skills of change diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The focus will be on developing leadership skills to effectively drive effective and enduring organisational change.


The Developing a Service module provides participants with an understanding of the nature of service and the factors that contribute to excellence (or otherwise) in service design and delivery. The pluralistic structures within the healthcare sector give rise to competing demands for more commercially-oriented performance. Creating a culture of service excellence in healthcare requires the application of principles and techniques used elsewhere. The potential to adapt these techniques/principles is examined with a view to taking advantage of the best aspects of the art and science of medicine.


Four course participants will be invited to deliver a “Dragons’ Den”-style pitch of their business plan to a panel of distinguished healthcare managers. A medal is awarded to the overall winner.


Credits are earned through continuous assessment. Participants will not sit exams. All assessment is completed by participants individually and is set out in the study guide.

Programme Benefits

  • Enhanced understanding of leadership strengths and weaknesses;
  • Deep insight into how a leadership style can affect a participant’s workplace, their colleagues and ultimately their success as a leader;
  • Reflection on the roles of leaders and managers in organisations;
  • Greater appreciation of a participant’s own capacity for leadership;
  • Formulate a self-designed leadership development plan;
  • Insight into how to exercise leadership more effectively and make high impact leadership interventions;
  • Practice in the provision and receipt of constructive feedback;
  • Develop a greater sense of how a participant can contribute to team leadership;
  • Improve the ability to create and garner support for the organisation vision;
  • Insight and practice in coaching as an intervention to enhance organisational performance.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the programme, participants will be expected to be able to:

  • Display/Demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of key business management principles, practice and tools focusing on financial management and business planning, service development, change management, negotiation and communication;
  • Ascertain the factors influencing the efficiency of a service enterprise/organisation;
  • Apply theoretical knowledge and practice as appropriate to inform the practitioner’s current and future roles within the healthcare sector;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the day-to-day management of healthcare service, planning, budgeting and personal effectiveness;
  • Evaluate and appraise data to resolve healthcare issues and improve the processes/procedures used within the healthcare environment;
  • Communicate clearly, major policy/strategic developments within the healthcare environment to all stakeholders.


Kathy O'Reilly

Kathy is a Lecturer in the Management subject area at UCD, and teaches across a number of areas and programmes, including Management Consulting, International Business, Global Marketing, Service Learning and Project Management. In addition to teaching on a number of UCD's programmes in Ireland, S...

Karan Sonpar

Professor Karan Sonpar joined University College Dublin in 2009. He earned his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada. He has held prior academic appointments at IE Business School, Spain and University of Manitoba, Canada. He served as Captain in the Indian Army prior to his PhD. His work ha...

Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath is a Senior Management Consultant Business Practice Leader with Productivity Inc., a leading international consulting and training firm that specializes in delivering topline growth and bottomline improvement solutions throughout the Global 1000. Mr. McGrath has over 30 years experie...

Stephen Boyle

Stephen is an experienced trainer and consultant specialising in the field of negotiation, influence, persuasion and communication skills and has fifteen years’ experience in management consulting, corporate communications, strategic planning and change management. Stephen lectures on MBA and MSc...

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Certificate in Healthcare Management Practice at The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

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