Life Long Learning (LLL)

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New education programme offers doctors a route to internationally recognised qualification in clinical nutrition and metabolism

Irish Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN) introduce Life Long Learning (LLL) post-graduate nutrition education programme for doctors as a means of improving knowledge and practice in this important area.

Nutrition contributes to at least 6 of the 10 leading causes of death and has a major impact on outcomes in chronic disease, yet medical education in Ireland lacks training in its use in patient management. Recognising the importance of advancing knowledge and practice of clinical nutrition within medicine, IrSPEN – a multidisciplinary body established with the support of the ISG – is now offering doctors in Ireland the opportunity to obtain an internationally recognised post-graduate qualification in clinical nutrition and metabolism.

The Life Long Learning (LLL) Programme in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism is an innovative and highly effective educational programme for medical doctors and health specialists, much of it available online. Developed by the European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) in conjunction with a number of European universities, the LLL programme has been accredited by the Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes and has received funding from the European Union under the Leonardo da Vinci programme for innovative vocational education projects addressing important areas of need.

Dr Nick Kennedy, Associate Professor at Trinity College and Chairman of IrSPEN’s Education Committee, explained how the programme works:  “LLL is a programme with over 120 online and live training modules on a wide variety of topics. This offers participating doctors the opportunity to tailor their own learning to their interests and specialty area, through a combination of online and live courses. Credits are earned for completing both online and live modules and 100 credits in total are needed to sit the final exam, leading to the award of the ESPEN Diploma in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism”.

IrSPEN, which is the national society affiliated to ESPEN, has worked hard to introduce LLL to doctors in Ireland this year and organised the first live modules with accredited expert lecturers from the UK and Italy at the RCPI in Kildare Street in December 2013. The second live module, held in conjunction with the RCPI, took place at the RCPI in May 2014. To make qualification more accessible to Irish based doctors, IrSPEN plan to host between two and four live modules in Ireland next year and will even consider running an extended live course over several days if the demand is great enough.

Once registered with LLL, doctors can also attend modules of interest that are run in the UK and at the annual ESPEN congress which is held in a different European country each year. Click here to see live courses available in 2014.

Whilst many doctors will welcome the opportunity to complete the ESPEN Diploma in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Dr Kennedy highlighted the fact that each module is tested and graded, so that certificates in selected topics may be obtained, demonstrating a level of knowledge and competence in a chosen specialty area.

IrSPEN’s commitment to advancing post-graduate education in nutrition is not confined to the LLL programme. Since 2010, the organisation has collaborated with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI) to deliver a one day clinical nutrition module for specialist registrars. Indeed, based on the initial success of the course, the RCPI have made completion of a nutrition module mandatory within specified specialty training pathways.

The modules are freely accessible online after registering here. Any doctors interested in attending future live modules or registering for the LLL programme can obtain more information by contacting IrSPEN here.


Online courses/modules available from ESPEN through the LLL programme

The programme offers 120 training modules (90 available online). The module is the main educational unit of LLL programme. Each module consists of a review on a certain problem using a clinical case, self-assessment test and grading quiz. Modules on related subject areas are grouped into topics making it easier for the user to select modules in a particular field of interest.

  • Topic 1: Metabolism of Macronutrients, Pro- Prebiotics and Fibre
  • Topic 2: Water, Electrolytes and Micronutrients
  • Topic 3: Nutritional Assessment and Techniques
  • Topic 4: Nutritional Requirements for Health throughout Life Span
  • Topic 5: Malnutrition
  • Topic 7: Enteral/Parenteral Nutrition – Substrates
  • Topic 8: Approach to Oral and Enteral Nutrition (EN) in Adults
  • Topic 9: Approach to Parenteral Nutrition
  • Topic 10: Nutritional Support in Pediatric Patients
  • Topic 12: Nutritional Support in Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Topic 13: Nutritional Support in Liver Disease
  • Topic 14: Nutrition in Pancreatic Disease
  • Topic 15: Nutrition Support in Renal Disease
  • Topic 16: Nutritional Support in SIRS and Sepsis
  • Topic 17: Nutritional Support in the Perioperative Period
  • Topic 18: Nutritional Support in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Patients
  • Topic 19: Nutritional Support outside the Hospital: Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN) in Adult Patient
  • Topic 20: Nutritional Support in Cardio-Vascular Diseases (CVD)
  • Topic 21: Consequences of Diabetes Mellitus on the Nutritional Status
  • Topic 22: Nutrition in Lipidemias
  • Topic 23: Nutrition in Obesity
  • Topic 24: Nutrition in Metabolic Syndrome
  • Topic 25: Nutritional Support in Neurological Diseases
  • Topic 26: Nutritional Support in Cancer
  • Topic 27: Nutritional Support in AIDS
  • Topic 29: Nutritiont in Hereditary Disease
  • Topic 31: Nutrition in Behavioural Disorders
  • Topic 32: Food Safety
  • Topic 34: Nutrigenomics
  • Topic 35: Economics of Nutrition
  • Topic 36: Nutrition in the Elderly
  • Topic 38: Nutritional Support in Respiratory Diseases



Credits are awarded for live courses (3 CME credits) and for online training (up to 4 CME credits). Credit accumulation gives you the opportunity to be awarded the ESPEN Diploma in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism.

The LLL programme is a global effort of ESPEN supported by the EU to provide post-graduate qualification in Clinical Nutrition and thus to improve daily practice. It was developed as the project BG-03-B-F-PP-166039 of Leonardo da Vinci programme by ESPEN and a number of European universities with the support of EU. The LLL Programme in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism was accredited by Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes.