Becoming a registered Nurse in Ireland

The role of a Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) are nurses who have acquired a nursing licence approved by their relevant nation or state. RNs can find themselves working in various professional settings across both the public and private sectors, and are often expected to specialise in a specific type of practice. They provide care for all age groups and help treat all types of illnesses and conditions. The role of an RN can range from physical therapy to emotional support. In Ireland, RNs are required to adhere to the standards and practices set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

How do I become a Registered Nurse?

The path to becoming an RN begins with acquiring a degree in Nursing from a Higher Education Institution. Applications must be made through the Central Applications Office (CAO), while mature applicants must also sit an assessment test administered by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) on behalf of NMBI. The CAO issue offers to mature applicants in July, with all other applicants receiving offers in August. Applicants must also complete a medical assessment, screening and vaccination programme.

Currently there are 13 HEIs offering Nursing degrees in Ireland (see list at in the specific areas of children’s nursing; general nursing; intellectual disability nursing; midwifery; and psychiatric nursing. All degrees are Level 8 Honours Bachelors.

All HEIs are involved in research in the field of nursing, and as a student you may be given the opportunity to assist with research programmes.

Usually within three months of commencing your degree you will undertake your first clinical placement. In your fourth year you will be placed on a 36 week placement or internship, the latter of which could be paid. Students on placements gain vital experience in a variety of settings, such as accident and emergency departments; community health centres; coronary care units; intensive care units; medical wards; operating theatres; and surgical wards.

Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc), making them eligible to apply for registration with the NMBI. If you aren’t on the NMBI’s Register of Nurses and Midwives, you are legally forbidden from practicing as a nurse in Ireland. A retention fee of €100 must be paid each year to remain on the register.

Who you will work with

The role of a RN is a collaborative one. You will be required to work alongside a range of health care specialists, along with fellow RNs. You may supervise student nurses. You will often need to liaise with other sectors, such as law enforcement. RNs will have regular working relationships with:

● Community Workers
● Doctors
● Firefighters
● General Practitioners
● Law Enforcement Agents
● Paramedics
● Student Nurses

Key skills for Registered Nurses

RNs must possess a range of intellectual, physical and emotional skills in order to consistently provide a high level of care for patients and assistance to other health care professionals. Key skills required include:

● Ability to remain organised and focussed while dealing with a variety of tasks
● A compassionate and sensitive demeanour
● Communication skills that allow you to speak with and understand both fellow professionals and patients
● Physical and mental capacity to work long hours, often in stressful situations
● Ability to think critically and come up with solutions in a limited amount of time and while under duress
● Observation and alertness is key in assessing patients’ ongoing conditions
● Understanding of ethics and professional conduct
● Awareness of any cultural factors that may need to be taken into consideration with patients
● Commitment to continuing your educational development in a rapidly changing field

Useful links: Health Services Executive Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland Nursing Services and Recruitment Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation

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