Nursing graduates get jobs despite embargo on staff


ALL NURSES AND midwives who graduated in the past year after receiving training at Cork University Hospital (CUH) were kept on by the hospital despite the embargo on recruitment.

The hospital’s director of nursing, Dr Mary Boyd, said 70 nurses and 32 midwives had been given jobs after a “business case” was made for them. Some of them were replacing retiring staff or staff who were leaving the service.

Her comments at the annual conference of the Irish Association of Directors of Nursing and Midwifery came as the Irish Nurses Organisation, which represents nearly 40,000 nurses, plans to hold a press briefing next week to highlight the lack of opportunities for nurses who are now graduating.

Graduates were let go by Galway’s University College Hospital in recent weeks as the HSE West attempted to deal with a multi-million euro deficit.

Dr Boyd, who is director of nursing at what is now the State’s largest hospital with more than 1,000 beds and 2,000 full- and part-time nurses, acknowledged some graduates would end up going abroad in the current climate but believes there will be opportunities for them to return.

“Irish nursing graduates are sought after worldwide and it is fantastic that they can get an opportunity to go abroad,” she said. “But fundamentally our objective is to retain our Irish graduates and we will as far as possible find innovative ways to do that, and the graduates of last year at CUH, every single one of those at their own request and voluntarily were retained within CUH.”

Asked how CUH was able to retain all its nursing graduates despite the moratorium on recruitment, she said: “My budget was managed pretty well. I work with an extremely competent team and I put the business case forward, and we were allowed retain our graduates,” she said. “We went through a very rigorous process of priority posts at our hospital . . . we put our business case forward and we got our special dispensation.”

Meanwhile, Dr Boyd told about 150 delegates attending the conference in Tullamore, Co Offaly, that it was time for nurses to stop moaning about cuts in funding and instead roll up their sleeves and find ways of working around the current difficulties.

She said the moratorium on recruitment in the health sector would not go away simply because people wished it to. “The moratorium is not a deliberate and singular attack on nurses or midwives. It is, whether we like it or not, an expediency determined by those who control the purse strings,” she said.

“The challenge for us, therefore, is to ask ourselves just how we are going to deal creatively with these challenges, to formulate real solutions and not just talk endlessly about them,” she added.