About the IPNA

Our Vision

is that every Practice Nurse in Ireland will have equal access to appropriate quality education and the specialist role of the Practice Nurse in General Practice will be recognised, acknowledged, and valued.

Our Mission

is to support the advancement of education in practice nursing in Ireland.

  • by promoting and assisting nurses in further education programmes
  • by providing a forum for the dissemination of this information
  • by sharing developments in the practice nursing field which will promote the highest standards of care to benefit the community

Our Values

Partnership: The IPNA will work positively with other groups and organisations that it deems to be suitably equipped to provide the necessary educational programmes or skills required for the enhancement of Nursing in General Practice.

Excellence: The IPNA will promote excellence in practice nursing, by disseminating information to its members on all matters relevant to Nursing in General Practice.

Advocacy: The IPNA will support PNs in building their competence and skills, and assisting them in further developing their scope which will improve the quality of care provided by engaging in regular continuing professional development (CPD)

Collaboration: The IPNA value collaborative working with its membership branches and officers to ensure a robust and independent organisation that delivers good member value.

Role of Practice Nurse

There are approximately over 2,000 Practice Nurses in Ireland. They are involved in immunisations, cervical screening, health promotion, phlebotomy, weight management, smoking cessation, women’s health, men’s health, antenatal & postnatal care, wound management, travel vaccinations, cryotherapy, counselling, stress management, ear care, methadone maintenance; management of chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dermatology ; as well as clinical audits, practice protocols, CPR training, etc.
“A Practice Nurse is a registered nurse/midwife working in general practice who provides professional holistic health care within his/her scope of nursing and midwifery practice, to the practice population.” Irish Practice Nurses Association.
The positive impact of practice nursing on patient care is regularly noted and has been shown in audits and research :
Bury, G., Twomey, L., & Egan, M. (2020, 05 28).
Norful, A., Martsolf, G., de Jacq, K., & Poghosyan, L. (2017)
Laurant, M., van der Biezen, M., Wijers, N., Watananirun, K., Kontopantelis, E., & van Vaught, A. J. (2018).
Practice Nurses (PN) are working at the epicentre of policy reforms which will transform primary care through the implementation of Sláintecare. This healthcare reform strategy sets out a blueprint for realignment of care into the community, hospital avoidance and models of care which move from disease focus, to one of prevention and health promotion.
As a result, Practice Nurses are now being presented with an increasing variety of conditions and patient needs.  Continuing Nurse Education enables Practice Nurses to provide evidence-based quality care and is essential before undertaking extended nursing roles.

General Practice Nurse Activities

Immunisations

  • Infant vaccinations, (Infanrix; PCV; Rotavirus; , Meningitis B & C; MMR; Hib)
  • Childhood vaccinations, Diptheria; Polio; Tetanus; Pertussis MMR ).
  • Travel vaccinations, Hepatitis B, Tetanus boosters.
  • Flu and Pneumococcal vaccines.

Women’s health / Antenatal care.

  • Cervical screening and sample taking.
  • Advice on various methods of contraception and H.R.T.
  • Pre-conceptual advice.
  • Pregnancy testing, antenatal care, postnatal care, breastfeeding advice.
  • Antenatal classes.
  • Insertions of Mirena and Implanon.

Men’s Health

Methadone Maintenance

Counselling

Nurse Prescribing

Cardiology

  • Cholesterol testing & dietary advice.
  • ECGs.
  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring. Anticoagulation and Monitoring therapy Smoking cessation. Stress management. Heartwatch Programme.
  • Anticoagulation and Monitoring therapy.
  • Smoking cessation.
  • Stress management.
  • Heartwatch Programme.

Wound Care

  • Minor Surgery/Suturing/Cryotherapy.
  • Treatment of venous leg ulcers and other skin injuries.
  • Suturing of skin lacerations.
  • Post-operative suture removal.
  • Treatment of warts and verruccae / cryotherapy.
  • Nursing management of skin conditions - eczema, psoriasis.

Diabetes Care

  • Diabetes Cycle of Care

Respiratory Care

  • Asthma Cycle of Care.
  • Nursing management of COPD.
  • Smoking cessation.
  • Spirometry.
  • Administration and monitoring of nebulised therapy.

General Nursing

  • Health Promotion and Education.
  • Telephone triage and advice.
  • Phlebotomy/Venesection.
  • Ear Care.
  • Administering long-term medications/injections.
  • Liaising with patients regarding results and advice.
  • Completing patient referrals as appropriate.

Indirect Nursing

  • Liaising with other HCPs in the community/hospital.
  • Drafting practice protocols/Disease coding records.
  • Auditing patient care and practice services. Maintenance/sterilisation of surgical instruments.
  • Maintenance of emergency equipment. Education of practice staff (e.g. CPR, First Aid).

History of the IPNA

The Irish Practice Nurses Association (IPNA) is a professional membership association of Practice Nurses and was granted Charitable Tax Exemption (CHY 17932) in June 2008. The main objective of the association “is the advancement of education in general practice in Ireland by promoting and assisting nurses in further education programmes and to provide a forum for the dissemination of information on developments in the Practice Nursing field which will promote the highest standards of care to benefit the community.”

From its beginnings in the early 1990s as a small group of Practice Nurses who decided to meet regularly to share ideas and information, it has expanded steadily and there are now 18 Branches nationwide holding monthly educational meetings.

Aside from the very much appreciated help from the National Council in hosting our first website, the IPNA has never received any grants or funding from the Department of Health. The growth and successful development of the IPNA can be solely attributed to the hard work of many dedicated Practice Nurses who have given so generously of their own time over the years. The IPNA is also immensely grateful to the many generous sponsors of our branch meetings, Annual Educational Conference and some of our educational awards.

The IPNA logo was designed in 1990 by Kate MacCormack (daughter of Netta Williams – one of the IPNA’s founding members) when she was a 1st year student in the National College of Art & Design. The four people represent a family and the hand behind them represents the Practice Nurse supporting the family. The hand also symbolises the “hands-on” clinical nursing care provided by Practice Nurses.
  1. 1989 Circular 5/89 from Department of Health announces new subsidy available to GPs to assist with the cost of employing a Practice Nurse.
  2. 1990 Practice Nurses, like all nurses, are required by An Bord Altranais to maintain clinical competence. However no specific formal education exists, so Practice Nurses around Ireland start to meet in small groups to share information and source relevant education. IPNA logo designed by Kate MacCormack (daughter of Netta Williams, a founding member of the IPNA).
  3. 1993 6th November, first General Meeting of IPNA. Proposed Articles of Association discussed.
  4. 1994 Inaugural National Executive Committee meeting. Registration of the name "Irish Practice Nurses Association" with Companies Registration Office. Articles of Association finalised and signed.
  5. 1995 First IPNA Annual Conference & AGM held in Galway.
  6. 1996 "Introduction to Practice Nursing" course available in RCSI and continues until 2002.
  7. 1997 IPNA members work hard to ensure that Practice Nurses are included in the forthcoming Commission on Nursing. Several Submissions are made.
  8. 1998 Commission on Nursing is published by the Dept of Health. IPNA Wexford Branch formed.
  9. 1999 First issue of "Irish Practice Nurse" Journal is published.
  10. 2000 IPNA works to ensure that the recommendation of the Commission on Nursing to create Practice Nurse Facilitator posts (which would later be re-titled "Professional Development Coordinators for Practice Nurses") is implementated.
  11. 2001 Several Practice Nurses receive CNS grade.
  12. 2002 First of 11 Professional Development Coordinator for Practice Nurses posts is filled.
  13. 2003 First IPNA website developed and hosted by National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing & Midwifery.
  14. 2004 IPNA Conference Coordinator post created for pilot period of 2 years.
  15. 2005 1,077 Practice Nurses working in Ireland. First accreditation of a Practice Nurse as ANP in Primary Care. IPNA Bursary re-introduced.
  16. 2006 1,239 Practice Nurses working in Ireland. Employment of part-time IPNA administrator. Conference Coordinator position created on 3 year fixed term basis. IPNA Branch Poster Award developed. Valere Mangan IPNA Loyalty Award developed. A second Practice Nurse is accredited as ANP in Primary Care. IPNA works with ICGP to update the publication "The Practice Nurse - a Guide to Nursing in General Practice". IPNA, with the support of ProMed, produces the "IPNA Members Resource Pack and Personal Portfolio".
  17. 2007 Employment of part-time membership secretary 1st complete review of Articles of Association with postal vote. IPNA Clinical Award developed. Final issue of "Irish Practice Nurse" Journal is published.
  18. 2008 1,461 Practice Nurses working in Ireland. First issue of "Nursing in General Practice" Journal is published. IPNA co-organise the inaugural All-Ireland Nursing in the Community Conference with the ICHN and CPHVA (N.I.) New independent website designed and posted on the internet. 2nd revision of Articles of Association by postal vote. IPNA is granted Charitable Tax Exemption by Revenue Commissioners. Full Membership Survey carried out.
  19. 2009 1,519 Practice Nurses working in Ireland. Memberships & Renewals now managed centrally by Membership Secretary. Development of Research page on IPNA website. Creation of Membership page on IPNA website, which includes the option to download a Membership Form.
  20. 2010 6 Practice Nurses become Registered Nurse Prescribers.
  21. 2011 Approx. 1,700 Practice Nurses now working in Ireland. IPNA Annual Conference 2011 opened up so that all Practice Nurses working in Ireland can now register for the event.
  22. 2012 February - Kildare/Carlow Branch divides into two branches to facilitate better access for members in both counties to branch educational meetings. June - 35,512 visits to this website since its launch in Sept 2008. July - Video about Benefits of Membership posted on You Tube. September - 11 IPNA members are now Registered Nurse Prescribers. October - Criteria for membership changed to include RCNs and RMs. Also Associate Membership made available to previous members who have retired from Practice Nursing or are on a career break. November - IPNA Logo trademarked.
  23. 2013 February - IPNA South Dublin Branch established. 3rd June - A group of members participate in the Flora Women's Mini-Marathon on behalf of the IPNA and in support of the Marie Keating Foundation. Extensive work undertaken to make online educational modules available to members.
  24. 2014 It is estimated that there are now 1,800 Practice Nurses working in Ireland. IPNA e-Learning Zone launched.
  25. 2015 IPNA is included on the Charities Regulatory Authority website. New website is launched.
  26. 2016 IPNA representation on Health Reform “The Future Healthcare Policy Reform”
  27. 2017 Practice Nurse Education and Qualification survey circulated by IPNA/IPNA representation on DOH Capacity Review
  28. 2018 IPNA representation NMBI Developing a Professional Competence Scheme for Nurses and Midwives; 3 IPNA members nominated for Irish Medical Times Practice Nurse of the year award.
  29. 2019 IPNAS increased profile; IPNA members on several National groups, including TOP services, CAG Cervical Check, HPV Screening.
  30. 2020 1st Virtual NEC meeting held via Zoom. IPNA undertook a national survey of Irish general practice nurses to provide clarity and enhance understanding of the role which generated a great response

Benefits of Membership

The Irish Practice Nurses association is the home for all Practice Nurses in Ireland. As a member you will benefit from a vibrant association which includes: 
Join now and engage with your colleagues throughout Ireland, enhancing the delivery of Primary Care for all our patients.

Monthly Meetings

Members Website and Information Hub

Free Journal

Educational & News Updates

Exclusive Website Access

Free eLearning

Awards & Bursaries

Practical Assistance

Reduced Fees for Annual Conference

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Qualifications Needed

As with all nurses in Ireland, registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI – formerly An Bord Altranais) is mandatory in order to practise as a Registered Nurse or Registered Midwife.

In order for the GP employer to avail of the Practice Nurse subsidy, the Practice Nurse must be a Registered General Nurse (RGN).

Additional Qualifications/Competencies

The range of nursing care and extended roles which may be provided by a Practice Nurse is extensive. Each Practice Nurse, like all other nurses, must practice within his/her own Scope of Practice, (see Scope of Nursing and Midwifery Practice Framework 2015 31 October 2015 “ and “must take measures to develop and maintain the competence necessary for professional practice” (Code of Conduct, available from NMBI Formerly An Bord Altranais ).

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Therefore, General Practice Nurses have a responsibility to ensure that they are suitably qualified and competent to undertake all aspects of their role. The autonomous nature of general practice nursing means that issues pertaining to the Scope of Practice require constant reflection and vigilance on the part of the individual nurse. Any General Practice Nurse who provides antenatal care must be a Registered Midwife, i.e. on the current Midwives Register of NMBI Formerly An Bord Altranais . There is also a requirement for a General Practice Nurse who is a midwife to notify their local HSE office of their intention to practice midwifery in the community.
For further information, please refer to the NMBI document “Practice Standards for Midwives 2015”

Learn More

Facts about the IPNA

There are currently 2000 Practice Nurses working in the Republic of Ireland (Professional Development Coordinators for Practice Nursing, 2020.)

55 RNP

55 Practice Nurses are now Registered Nurse Prescribers according to the IPNA National Educational Survey 2020.

2000+ PN’s

There are currently over 2,000 Practice Nurses working in the Republic of Ireland according to the Professional Development Coordinators for Practice Nursing Group, 2020.

45.66% Dual Qualified

45.66% of IPNA members are dual qualified, i.e. registered on 1 or more NMBI divisions in addition to the RGN division according to the Membership Database of the Irish Practice Nurses Association 2020.

4 RANP

4 Practice Nurses are accredited as Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioners (RANP) in Primary Care with an additional 4 posts awaiting approval according to the IPNA National Educational Survey 2020.

89% Update their Skills

89% PNs have undertaken post-registration education or skills updates (ranging from certificates to PhDs) in clinical areas that are relevant to Practice Nursing according to the IPNA National Educational Survey 2020.

358 CNS

358 Practice Nurses are accredited as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) in Primary Care according to the IPNA National Educational Survey 2020.

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Membership

Join now!

Membership of the IPNA is available to nurses on the Active Register of NMBI on any one of the following divisions: RGN, RCN, RM, RPHN, and who are currently working in General Practice in the Republic of Ireland.  For more information please see the Membership page of this website.  Alternatively, you can contact the membership secretary Barbara Shanahan at 086-263-4917 or e-mail:  membership@irishpracticenurses.ie

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