Almost 80,000 nurses and midwives are practising in Ireland, a five per cent increase on last year, according to new figures.

A report on the nursing workforce also showed a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of new nursing registrants in Ireland, with 6,257 signing up in the 12 months to June 1, 2023.

The majority of these new registrants in the past year came from non-EU countries. The top overseas countries from which new registrants came were India (3,272), Philippines (560), United Kingdom (232) and Zimbabwe (169). A total of 1,584 new registrants qualified in Ireland, up two per cent from the previous year. Just 131 new registrants qualified in EU countries outside Ireland, a 64 per cent drop.

The State of the Register 2023 report found that, as of June 1, there were 84,948 nurses and midwives registered in Ireland, up four per cent. Of these, 79,489 nurses and midwives were currently practising. A total of 70,969 were in patient-facing roles, an increase of seven per cent, which was welcomed by Chief Nursing Officer Rachel Kenna.

The CNO said, “nurses and midwives play a pivotal role in the provision of coordinated, safe and high-quality care. And seeing the increase in numbers at the point of the patient reflects positively that we are planning appropriately and effectively for the future of patient focused care delivery across the health care system.”

The highest percentage increase in new registrants was found among general nurses (up five per cent). While the number of registered midwives was down 3.5 per cent, the number of practising midwives actually increased by 0.3 per cent.

There was a slight increase in the number of psychiatric nurses (0.2 per cent) and intellectual disability nurses (0.2 per cent). While the number of registered children’s nurses decreased overall (down 0.1 per cent), the numbers practising rose by three per cent.

The report shows an increase in the number of registrations in the post-primary divisions of the nurses register. In the advanced practice divisions, there was a 23 per cent increase in advanced nurse practitioners and a 43 per cent increase in advanced midwife practitioners. Nurse prescribers went up by 14 per cent, and midwife prescribers rose by 32 per cent. The number of registered public health nurses also increased by two per cent.

Dr Louise McBride, President of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), said, “we are delighted to see the nursing and midwifery professions growing. These numbers not only represent statistics but real individuals dedicating their lives to the betterment of healthcare in Ireland. The data in this report is essential for ensuring that we maintain and improve the standards of care and safety that we aspire to as professionals. I commend the NMBI team, and I encourage all nurses and midwives to read this report and reflect on its implications for their practice.”

Source: Irish Medical Times