71% of final year nursing students ‘considering leaving State’

INMO says 57% of soon to be graduates offered work abroad, while HSE has approached 18%

More than 70 per cent of those who are training and will soon qualify as nurses plan to leave the State, according to a survey by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

More than 70 per cent of those who are training and will soon qualify as nurses plan to leave the State, according to a survey by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

 

More than 70 per cent of those who are training and will soon qualify as nurses are considering leaving the State, according to a survey by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Phil Ni Sheaghdha, general secretary of the union, said the survey of fourth year nursing students found increases in pay, improved staffing levels and working conditions along with access to funded post-graduated education would be essential to retaining these nurses.

Some 71 per cent of respondents said they were considering going abroad with 57 per cent saying they had already been approached by overseas nursing companies about work options. Some 18 per cent of respondents had been offered permanent contracts by the HSE and some 60 per cent were considering working in the private rather than public health service.

The INMO announced the findings of the survey, which was responded to by 417 of 800 fourth year students, on the first day of its annual delegate conference in Cork.

‘Competitive’

Ms Ni Sheaghda said the findings reiterated yet again that the recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery graduates in Ireland was “a serious concern”.

“Without real competitive rates of pay, the offer of permanent contracts in overcrowded understaffed workplaces are simply not going to keep nurses and midwives here and will not be enough as this survey shows,” she said.

“The Government has agreed that that there is a deficit in nursing and midwifery, they now need to retain the experienced nurses and midwives we have here and recruit our new graduates who are considering leaving the country.”

Ms Ni Sheaghda said that to improve working conditions and staffing levels “low pay throughout the nursing career has to be addressed”.

She said staff nurses were experiencing a pay deficit of 10 to 12 per cent relative to other health graduates in the public service while those in promotional grades were seeking a 6 to 7 per cent pay rise.

In December 2007 there were 39,006 Whole Time Equivalents working in nursing and midwifery roles in the State’s public health system but that this had now fallen to 36,777, she said.

INMO new graduate officer Neal Donohue said that the offer of a permanent contract for an extremely low paid job which came with poor working conditions was “simply not attractive for nursing and midwifery interns”.

“The shortage of skilled and experienced nurses and midwives to support the education of students will also mean that there will be further deficits going forward,” he said, adding that the HSE needs to realise nursing is now a global profession and it has to compete in a global market.