Is nursing an attractive career option?

 

Sir, – There has been more than a 5 per cent drop in school-leavers opting for nursing as their first choice of career, according to figures released by the Central Applications Office (News, July 15th).

This is a very worrying, although not surprising, development. Salary levels for graduates in other comparable professions, such as teaching and occupational therapy, are significantly higher, so newly qualified nursing graduates emigrate en masse to such countries as Australia, Canada and Dubai, where salaries and opportunities for postgraduate professional development are superior to those in Ireland. Most of these people will never return to the Irish health service for obvious reasons, thus incurring an unnecessary burden on Irish taxpayers, who had to pay for their education.

In May, the Minister for Health announced a series of measures designed to improve significantly nursing manpower, including increasing the number of undergraduate places in the universities and colleges.

Until such such time as the Department of Health and the HSE refrain from paying lip-service to the profession, quality Leaving Cert students will increasingly opt for professions that pay them a decent salary and provide them with conditions of service commensurate with their professional qualifications and skills. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK J

O’BRIEN, MEd, RN

Maynooth,

Co Kildare.