Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • August 2019
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Working in a Medical Careers






SPEAKER: John Kelly


DEFDINITION OF CAREER AREA: The mission of nursing in society is to help individuals, families and groups to determine and achieve their physical, mental and social potential, and to do so within the challenging context of the environment in which they live and work. This requires nurses to develop and perform functions that relate to the promotion and maintenance of health as well as to the prevention of ill health. Nursing also includes the planning and implementation of care during illness and rehabilitation, and encompasses the physical, mental and social aspects of life as they affect health, illness, disability and dying…Nursing is the provision of care for individuals, families and groups throughout the entire life span – from conception to death…These functions remain constant, regardless of the place (home, workplace, school, university, prison, refugee camp, hospital, primary health care clinic and other sites) or time in which nursing care is given, the health status of the individual or group to be served, or the resources available. These functions relate to providing and managing direct practical nursing…whether promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative or supportive, to individuals, families or groups…(WHO, 1991).


The term ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’. Midwifery involves the provision of care and support to women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and to women and their babies following birth. Midwives have a key role in health promotion and education for women, their babies and their wider family circle. Midwifery care is underpinned by a philosophical approach that views pregnancy as part of the life cycle, a normal healthy event. The concept of partnership between the woman and the midwife is fundamental to midwifery practice and is based on mutual trust, support and collaboration. The provision of midwifery care is constantly evolving to respond to the changing needs of women in Ireland and their families. Midwives provide care in maternity hospitals/units, the newly developed midwife-led units and increasingly through the provision of midwife-led services in the community. Midwives work in partnership with obstetricians and other members of the healthcare team in the provision of care, particularly to women with complicated pregnancies… (NMPDUs, 2003).


ROUTES OF ENTRY: There are eight parts to the Register maintained by An Bord Altranais. There are five programmes at pre-registration level:




Leading to Registration

General Nursing 


Registered General Nurse (RGN) 

Intellectual Disability Nursing 


Registered Nurse Intellectual Disability (RNID) 

Psychiatric Nursing 


Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) 



Registered Midwifery (RM) 

Children’s & General Nursing (integrated) 


Registered Children’s Nurses (RCN) & Registered General Nurse (RGN)

Children’s Nursing (not integrated with general nursing) programmes and Midwifery programmes are also offered at post-registration level. Nurse Tutor programmes and Public Health Nursing programmes and Nurse Prescriber programmes are only at post registration level.


All Pre-Registration Honours Degree Programmes (NQAI Level 8) in General Nursing (RGN) Intellectual Disability Nursing (RNID) Psychiatric Nursing (RPN) Midwifery (RM) and Children’s and General Nursing (Integrated: RCN & RGN) take place in 13 Higher Education Institutions in association with 56 main Healthcare Agencies (Hospitals/Clinical Sites). There are 42 programmes with a total of 1880 places in Nursing and Midwifery at pre-registration level:


General Nursing: 4 years leading to BSc plus RGN. 14 Programmes, with a total of 1057 places, in 13 Higher Education Institutions in association with 21 main Healthcare Agencies.


Intellectual Disability Nursing: 4 years leading to BSc plus RNID. 8 Programmes, with a total of 240 places, in 8 Higher Education Institutions in association with 10 main Healthcare Agencies.


Psychiatric Nursing: 4 years leading to BSc plus RPN. 12 Programmes, with a total of 343 places, in 12 Higher Education Institutions in association with 14 main Healthcare Agencies.


Midwifery: 4 years leading to BSc plus RM. 6 Programmes, with a total of 140 places, in 6 Higher Education Institutions in association with 7 main Healthcare Agencies.


Children’s and General Nursing (Integrated): 4.5 years leading to BSc plus RCN & RGN. 4 Programmes, with a total of 100 places, in 4 Higher Education Institutions in association with 4 main Healthcare Agencies.


Potential Applicants

Men and women, of all ages, are most welcome to apply.



There is a wide range of settings in which the nurse/midwife can work, in the community and in the hospital/residential settings, including a myriad of specialist areas. The nurse/midwife might wish to pursue further education, including the courses leading to registration as outlined above. Click on Further Education on the NCC web.



A nurse/midwife can really make a difference in a person’s life, working on the frontline and making decisions that matter.



The current starting salary for the newly registered nurse/midwife is in excess of €31,000.


What Children’s Nurses/Students Say    “Babies and sometimes children cannot tell you what is wrong so you have to ask and involve the parents because they know the baby or child best. We learned about family-centered care in college but now on the wards you see it in action”.


“As a children’s nurse I am fulfilled by the challenges and the rewards that each day brings. Every day is different and children are special”.


“I never realised before I became a student nurse that play was important for children. I often watched children play but did not realise that they learned from it and used it to communicate”.


“I really enjoy the clinical side of my course, getting out there and using what you learned in the classroom”.


What General Nurses/Students Say   “My first few days were spent acclimatising to my new working environment. After that I really enjoyed being a member of the nursing team. The team worked really well and made it easy for me to fit in, they were so motivated, it urged me to do even better.”


“Becoming a student nurse was something I always wanted to do. Now I have successfully completed the first year, I can see how I can make a difference as a member of the nursing team.”


 “My first year was a challenge as I was learning to link my nursing knowledge to practice. Now I’ve a placement in the community which is really exciting as there are so many patients requiring planned nursing care.”


“The scope and depth of responsibility assumed by nurses is expanding rapidly in today’s complex health care system. Now I’m in the third year, I am so excited to be part of nursing.”


“I was thrilled when my rostered year of practice was completed, my confidence had grown and the wards where I had been a student wanted me to come and work with them.”  


What Intellectual Disability Nurses/Students Say


I work with children in an integrated pre-school. It is great to see that the work I do really make a difference to these kids, like seeing a child progress from crawling to walking in one term”.


“When I went to my first placement in the intellectual disability service, it was great to see what we had studied in college was put into practice. I was amazed at the great atmosphere in the place”.


“I have spent the last 35 years doing a job I really enjoy, which provides different challenges each day, working with individuals who are all different. No two days are the same”.


“The main thing for me is that I really love what I’m doing. This year I had one placement in a Day Activation Centre, one with elderly people and one in a small community house. Each placement was different but I enjoyed every minute. I am not sure yet what area I’ll work in when I am finished but there are a lot of career opportunities”. 


What Midwives/Midwifery Students Say


“My years as a student midwife were full of emotion, rewarding work and an eye opening journey into the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth – a very positive experience”.


“I enjoyed looking after the family unit”.


“Everyday I feel my job is worthwhile and being with women and helping them in their journey to motherhood is so rewarding”.


“Women always appreciate the time I give them in educating, encouraging and praising them in learning about pregnancy, childbirth and childcare”.


“I was a mother before I became a midwife and I remember the importance of the information and care I received from my midwife in helping me on my journey to motherhood”. 


What Psychiatric Nurses/Students Say


“Because we deal with ordinary people from ordinary backgrounds who have developed mental health problems, it has made me more self aware.  I have learned more about myself during my training than in all my prior experiences”.


“I never thought that any job could offer so many positive experiences or the opportunity to do so much work of real benefit to people”


“All my preconceptions of mental health and people with difficulties were hopelessly inaccurate. I found that instead of trying to pull people out of the water, the job was to teach them to swim”.





One Response to “Working in a Medical Careers”

  1. Sophie said

    i knew i’d be first On the site =]

    This was very helpful too !!

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