Seanad debates

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Commencement Matters

Registration of Nurses

10:30 am

Photo of Jim DalyJim Daly (Cork South West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Seanadóir as ucht an t-ábhar seo a ardú anseo inniu. I thank Senator Conway for raising this issue. An Bord Altranais, the Nursing Board, was established under section 6 of the Nurses Act 1985. This Act was repealed in 2011 under section 4 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011. The Nursing Board was renamed the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, NMBI, under section 6 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 and has two main objectives. One is to protect the public and the other is to ensure the integrity of nursing and midwifery practices.

The NMBI is an independent statutory organisation that regulates the nursing and midwifery professions in Ireland. The main functions of the NMBI are maintaining the register of nurses and midwives, evaluating applications from Irish and overseas applicants who want to practise as nurses and midwives in Ireland, supporting nurses and midwives to provide care by developing standards and guidance they can use in their day-to-day practice, setting requirements for nursing and midwifery educational programmes in higher level institutions, investigating complaints made by patients, their families, health care professionals and employers and holding fitness to practise inquiries. Section 48 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 enables the board of the NMBI to register an applicant, if satisfied that the person meets the relevant criteria, in the division or divisions of the register of nurses and midwives, which is considered by the board to be appropriate. I have been advised by the NMBI that applicants who trained outside the EU-EEA are individually assessed against current Irish standards of education and training to include a full review of the applicant’s education and training programmes. This review includes all pre-registration and post registration nursing education programmes. American and Australian nurses must provide the following documents in advance of their application being individually assessed: a completed application form; identity documents, transcripts of training from their university school of nursing; professional employment reference; and verification of registration and good standing from all competent authorities with which they held their registration.

Some American and Australian applicants unfortunately do not meet NMBI standards and requirements in terms of the nursing programmes they undertook when compared to Irish standards and requirements. Many programmes fall significantly short of the hours required for registration with NMBI or to be offered a period of adaptation aptitude test and unfortunately these applicants are refused registration. An applicant has the right to appeal this decision within 56 days of the date on the decision letter.

I am happy to inform the Senator that my Department recently received correspondence from the NMBI regarding a change in registration process for non-EU applicants. The new process takes into consideration post qualification experience as part of the assessment process for qualification recognition. The change was instigated in the hope of widening access to non-EU trained applicants who apply for registration while maintaining the standards for access to the register of nurses. The NMBI has informed the Department of Health it will also be publishing an updated guide to registration and making all of the information regarding registration available on its website. It is currently in the process of updating the registration application forms and guidance which it hopes will assist applicants in submitting their documents.

I have been advised by the NMBI that as of 14 February 2018, a total number of 236 individuals who undertook their training in the United States are registered on the active register with NMBI. The vast majority of these registrants would have had to undertake either an adaptation placement or aptitude test as a pre-requisite to registration.


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