Posted by in Features.

The Work of a Nurse

There is a great variety of work in the field of nursing and interested persons have a wide choice. The Nurse’s primary function is the care of the sick, the aged and the infirm, either in general or specialised hospitals, or in their homes under the Public Health Service, bringing them the comforts they need and helping them to recover to good health. Nurses in the Public Health Service are also concerned with the prevention of illness and the maintenance of good health standards.

General hospital nursing is mainly concerned with surgical and medical cases while the specialised hospitals cover orthopaedics, psychiatry, midwifery, mental handicap, children’s and other particular illnesses. Irish nursing qualifications are in great demand throughout Europe.

There are three basic types of nursing, each leading to a registered qualification they are as follows:

  • General Nursing course leading to the qualification Registered General Nurse (RGN)
  • Psychiatric Nursing course leading to the qualification Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)
  • Mental handicap nursing course leading to the qualification Registered Mentally Handicapped Nurse (RMHN)


Age Requirements

Applicants must not be less than 17 years of age on the 1st of June in the year of application. Applicants, aged 24 years or over on the 15th October in the year of application, who do not possess the educational requirements specified above will also be eligible for consideration.

How to become a Nurse

Since the formation of the Nursing applications Centre an advertisement is placed once a year in the National newspapers, inviting applications for Registration for the three programmes. This advertisement is placed around April/May each year, however these arrangements are currently being reviewed and details of any changes will be available later this year. Interested applicants should then forward a completed application form to the Nursing Applications Centre, all applicants who meet the age and educational requirements will be invited to undergo a written assessment exercise of 2–3 hours duration.

The assessment will be held at a number of venues throughout the country, usually around the end of June. The assessment will require no special preparation; there is no syllabus and past papers are not available. Interviews are held in late July/early August. The number called for interview will be determined having regard to the number of training places available. Those placed highest, based on the results of the assessment, will be called for an interview. Applicants who fail to obtain the required Leaving Certificate will be eliminated from the competition. Successful, qualified applicants will be offered a place in their school of highest preference, depending on place availability and their ranking after the completion of the interview process.

Applicants must opt to:

  • Accept the offer.
  • Accept the offer but ask to be considered for a higher preference should one become available.
  • Reject the offer outright.
  • Reject the offer but ask to be considered for a higher preference should one become available.

Prompt reply to the offer is essential and failure to reply within a specified time limit is regarded as an outright rejection. Acceptances must be accompanied by a booking deposit of IR£50 which is refunded three weeks after the applicant commences the course. Offers are subject to the applicant passing a medical examination.

An annual non-means-tested maintenance grant of IR£2,500 will be paid by the health board/hospital to students on the Programme. This will be paid monthly in advance with the exception of the first payment which will be made at the end of the first month.

Where to go for further information

An Bord Altranais (Nursing Board)
31/32 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6760226
Fax: 01 6763348

Note: the address of the Nursing Applications Centre may change, details will be published in the National newspapers.

Information supplied by FÁS.