Ireland’s health service will face even more severe staffing pressures without increasing the number of undergraduate nursing and midwifery places, the INMO has warned.
The call for more places comes on the International Day of the Nurse, May 12th 2020 - Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday.
Of the 3,700 nurses and midwives who joined the nursing and midwifery register in Ireland last year, 13% (183) had trained elsewhere in the EU, with nearly half (49%, 1,189) having trained outside of the EU.
The INMO warns that the global pandemic means a likely drop in overseas recruitment, resulting in extra pressures in nursing and midwifery staffing in coming years.
To combat this, the union is calling for an urgent increase in the number of undergraduate nursing and midwifery places and a clear message that a moratorium, pause or any other measure to slow down recruitment cannot be countenanced.
There are roughly 1,800 spaces on nursing and midwifery courses available each year. In 2019, 5,324 students put nursing or midwifery as their first-preference choice in the CAO.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“Today is a day to celebrate nurses. We have been deeply humbled by the strong public support for our profession. During COVID-19, International Nurses’ Day has taken on an even stronger meaning for the public and our members.
“We must ensure that frontline staff are given the support and resources they need to do their job. To provide safe care, we need to build up our staffing levels.
“Ireland must continue to recruit staff from around the world, but also to train more ourselves. We train far fewer nurses and midwives than we need, but we know that thousands more want to join the nursing family.
“Over 5,000 motivated students put nursing or midwifery as their first preference in the CAO last year. We should ensure that more places are available to accommodate them.”