There has been a significant increase in registrations this year- nearly 1,000 overseas nurses and midwives had been registered to enter the Irish health system by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) by early April 2017, more than three times the figure for the same date in 2016. The number of total registrations had also more than doubled relative to this point in 2016, with 1,202 in total registered by NMBI. Overseas registrations are also increasing by a large number year on year.
NMBI has initiated a drive to improve efficiencies, and is undertaking a number of projects at present in the Registration Department to build on this progress. Applicants can now track their applications on-line using their personal NMBI account and the organisation is continuing to work with the Department of Health to add resources to the Registration Department and supplementing with agency staff appointments where possible.
Once an application and all supporting documents are submitted, the application goes through the assessment process. The length of time it takes is very variable and often depends on the country of origin of the applicant, as the documentation from some countries is more complex than that from others. Applicants for general nurse or midwife registration from EU Member States that have completed education programmes that comply with standards set down by the EU are the quickest to process.
Incomplete applications remain an ongoing challenge for the Board. The protection of the public is at the heart of the registration system. As well as a completed application form, applicants must send in identity documents and arrange for other supporting materials to be sent directly to NMBI, as is best-practice internationally.
NMBI is continuing to actively engage with all relevant stakeholders with regard to improving the registration process including the Department of Health, the HSE and other health-service employers, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) and recruitment agencies. NMBI is also working with NHI to explore ways of encouraging the large amount of nurses on the inactive part of the Register in Ireland to recommence practice.