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Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

The application process is now closed for the Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

A Guide to Submitting Your Application may be helpful to read for those who intend submitting an application in the future. It explains what the application process involves.

The Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare is currently operating as a virtual programme.


The Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare is designed to meet healthcare challenges now and into the future. It will enable you to lead transformational change and implement Health Service strategy to deliver real improvements for patients and service users. The programme is designed to support you in developing the insights, skills and knowledge to lead transformational change and implement strategy successfully at senior leadership/management level. It will put patient/service user care at the heart of the learning journey, situating all learning and discussion around the impact on patient/service user care. It builds upon a deep insight into each leader’s personal leadership capability, supporting you in understanding and leading transformational change. The programme culminates with building the ability to implement Health Service strategy at pace and in difficult and challenging circumstances.

The programme takes places over six months. It is for clinical and non-clinical colleagues within the health service who are experienced senior leaders and managers looking to progress their careers.

The programme is suitable for experienced senior leaders and managers who are:

  • already on the senior leadership team of their organisation
  • aspiring to be on the senior leadership team of their organisation, and are likely to be ready to apply for such a leadership role in the next two years
  • excited by the opportunity to apply new skills and behaviours to real-time work-related improvements
  • able and keen to work on a challenging development programme with peer assessment
  • willing to commit to at least 10 hours learning a week over a 6 month period
  • willing to commit to full attendance at all face-to-face aspects of the programme

The second cohort of this programme commenced in September 2023.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this programme you will be able to demonstrate your ability to:

  • leverage deep insight into your personal leadership capability and create a meaningful personal development implementation plan
  • evaluate the full power of equality, diversity and inclusion to lead, inspire and motivate a diverse healthcare workforce to optimise patient and service user outcomes.
  • analyse complex decisions and act courageously in the service of patients and service users where appropriate
  • critically examine the significance of organisational purpose and the role of environmental, social and governance criteria in strategic decision-making in healthcare
  • formulate a comprehensive range of practical recommendations for developing best-practice leadership to impact organisational and patient-centric outcomes
  • critique models of social, emotionally intelligent, and compassionate leadership to identify applications to healthcare
  • create alignment between overall health service strategy and implementation plans in participant-specific contexts that puts patient and service user outcomes at the heart of strategy implementation


To be eligible for the programme, you must hold:

  • a relevant academic qualification at primary degree level, or
  • an equivalent professional qualification, or
  • relevant work-based learning and experience

You must also:

  • be an employee of the HSE, TUSLA, a Section 39 hospice, or a body which provides service on behalf of the HSE under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004
  • satisfactorily complete the application process

Selection criteria will include:

  • your personal statement
  • your leadership/management experience
  • your senior line manager’s supporting statement
  • previous leadership/management development programmes you’ve undertaken
  • creation of the best possible mix of participants from eligible applicants

To maximise the learning within each cohort, the Health Service Leadership Academy seeks to create the best possible mix of participants from eligible applicants.

This will include having a mix of:

  • clinical and non-clinical participants
  • disciplines and professions
  • locations and types of health service organisations

Eligible applicants who do not get offered a place on the next cohort due to oversubscription, will be added to a waiting list for subsequent cohorts.

The programme director or a member of the Health Service Leadership Academy may contact you if clarification is required on any aspect of your application.

Programme overview

Time commitment

At least 10 hours per week, and 100% attendance at all face-to-face elements

Programme title: Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare
Qualification Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare (awarded by University College Cork)
Length of programme: circa 6 months, part-time
Time commitment: at least 10 hours per week
Faculty: delivered by the IMI
Modes of learning: online, residential workshops and peer learning circles delivered virtually at present
Attendance requirements: 4 residential sessions totalling a minimum of 7 days over the programme. 3 are virtual and the final one, the programme assessment, is face-to-face. A minimum of 3 virtual peer learning circle days over the programme
Attendance: 100% attendance

The Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare facilitates collaboration with colleagues and peers using your own experiences to solve difficult problems, building your own support network with other participants throughout the healthcare system.

The programme supports you in your role and future career by:

  • providing a breadth of knowledge focusing on the systematic acquisition and understanding of leadership principles by exploring key themes through the lens of relevant theoretical and practical applications
  • facilitating you to create and interpret new ideas with advanced scholarship supported by your personal reflections and peer review
  • developing a range of new skills through hands-on practical techniques, toolkits and materials
  • experimenting with new ideas and engaging in critical dialogue with peers to communicate and explore results of research and innovative ideas
  • examining the need to make evidence-based decisions, balancing the leveraging of healthcare analytics with professional judgement under challenging circumstances
  • learning to scrutinise and reflect on social norms and relationships and where appropriate make changes
  • exercising autonomy to evaluate yourself through personal reflection, required readings, and personal research to explore a relevant complex issue

Programme features

The programme will include several features that have been designed to maximise the impact of the programme:

Psychometrics and debrief

You will complete the following two psychometrics:

  • Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT): the most scientifically robust ability test of emotional intelligence.
  • Hogan Development Survey: deeper dive into derailers for senior leaders

You will attend a one-to-one psychometric feedback and debriefing session which will focus on self-awareness and areas for personal and professional development. This includes the analysis and evaluation of abilities to productively manage relationships, enhance mindset and behaviours, and expand presence as an impactful and transformational leader.

Pre and post leadership evaluation

A bespoke questionnaire will assess your leadership skills pre and post-programme. This enables you to self-assess in the specific areas of each module and provides insights into programme impact and further areas for development

Peer learning circles

You will participate in a peer learning circle (see learning methods for further information)

Programme assessment day (face-to-face)

The final day of the programme involves you presenting a poster of your plan for an implementable transformational change in your area of the health service. The day will be split into two parts. In the first session a panel of assessors from the IMI will review the posters and discuss the plan with each participant in order to grade the output. In the second session all participants and senior staff from the health service will be invited to walk through the poster gallery and discuss the posters with each participant.

Programme structure, modules and assignment information can be found in the applicant guide

Learning methods

The programme is delivered using the following core learning methods:

  • 60% self-directed learning (academic content and assignments)
  • 30% virtual residential learning (academic content and peer interaction)
  • 10% peer to peer learning (academic content and peer learning circles)

Self-directed learning

You will engage in a significant amount of self-directed learning, including reading of assigned material and preparation of assignments. While the required reading is essential for a complete grasp of the topics, additional reading is provided so that you can go deeper into any topic if you wish.

The Health Service Leadership Academy virtual campus is where you can find all the resources needed for your studies. It can be accessed at any time and on any device, at a time and place which suits you.

It is unlikely that you will need to read academic material beyond the required and additional reading lists, but you may need to access and assimilate health care specific material from other resources.

Virtual residential workshops

There are four residential workshops during the course of the programme; the dates of which can be found on our website. We recognise that participants will have a level of experience of working within the healthcare system and the sessions are interactive so we can leverage the experience of participants.

Peer-to-peer learning

Your peer learning circle meetings provide a space for peer review, exploration, and synthesis where you can experiment with ideas and skills to enhance leadership practice and behaviours. This will involve interactive learning to review readings, respond to content questions and collaborate with colleagues. Your peer learning circle will support the individual and collective process of sense-making and meaning-making in a disruptive and transformational environment. You will collectively support and challenge each other to understand the changes needed, to identify the choices available and to make commitments to the necessary changes. The three peer learning circle meetings take place after the first, second and third residentials respectively, on dates agreed between the peer learning circle and the tutor assigned to facilitate and support the learning.

Key information

Commitment to the programme

You must make a commitment of at least 10 hours per week to programme work. It is up to you to fit this time in. It is likely that most of this will be undertaken in your own time. There is a strong focus on practical application of new learning and you are encouraged to practice your management development in your workplace. We would ask line mangers to support you in doing this so that you can become a more effective manager.

Attendance is mandatory at four residential sessions, totalling a minimum of 7 days. You will also attend a minimum of 3 days at peer learning circle meetings throughout the programme. Line managers are asked to treat time spent at residential workshops and peer learning circle meetings as time spent at work.

Attendance requirement continues to apply whether these elements are delivered virtually or face-to-face.

Programme costs

While there are no programme fees currently charged for participating on this programme, if the programme is delivered in person in the future, rather than virtually, participants may incur travel and subsistence costs associated with attending residential and face to face components of the programme. Costs for travel and subsistence at residential and face-to-face programmes must be paid by you and recovered through your local travel and subsistence procedures. The Health Service Leadership Academy is not in a position to refund other areas of the HSE, or external agencies for costs incurred in this regard.


All applications for Health Service Leadership Academy programmes must be submitted using the UCC application portal.

To apply for this programme:

  • complete the application form
  • ensure that your senior line manager completes the supporting statement
  • have proof of identity that you can upload (for example, driving licence, passport)

Application form and supporting documents

When you have the above documentation ready go to UCC application portal.

Follow the Guide to Submitting Your Application to correctly complete and submit your application.

You must upload the 3 documents listed above to successfully submit your application. Your application is incomplete until the 3 documents are uploaded. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

You can only apply for one of the Health Service Leadership Academy programmes. The Health Service Leadership Academy will not accept more than one application per person.

You will receive an acknowledgement that your application will be processed once you have completed the information on the UCC application portal and uploaded the Application Form, Senior Line Manager Statement and Proof of Identity.

You will receive notification of the outcome of the application process by email in early July 2024.

Application form and supporting documents

Guide to Submitting Your Application

Application form for Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

Applicant guide for Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

Senior line manager supporting statement for Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

Dates for cohort commencing in September 2024 are available in the programme schedule for Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare


If you require additional information about the Professional Diploma in Strategic Transformational Leadership in Healthcare:


Phone: 087 272 8198 or 087 281 9507

If you need any help with the UCC application portal:


Phone: 01 207 8412 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.