Everything Nurses and Midwives Need to Know About the NMBI

In Ireland, there are four jobs available per every qualified nursing applicant, with intensive care and operating rooms worst stuck for staff.

With so many open jobs and so few available nurses at home, the HSE looks abroad to fulfil its staffing requirements and keep the Irish healthcare system running. Indeed, the figures in 2018 found that the HSE spent 293 million Euro on agency nursing staff – that’s roughly 800,000 Euro per day.

Would you like to work as an agency nurse in Ireland? All nurses and midwives in Ireland – whether trained at home or abroad – must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (or NMBI).

Here’s what you need to know about the nursing and midwifery board.

What is the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)?

The NMBI is Ireland’s statutory body governing nurses (of all levels) and midwives. NMBI’s goal is to provide strict standards for the professions and promote and improve patient care across the country.

To practice as a nurse or midwife in Ireland, you must first get registered on the Register of Nurses and Midwives. The NMBI maintains this list, which currently includes around 65,000 hard-working professionals. Once listed on the register, you then pay the Annual Retention Fee to the NMBi to remain on the list.

You can’t skip the fee: your HSE or private employer will ask for the certificate provided by the NMBI at the start of each calendar year.

Once you are cleared to register, your name appears on the electronic version. The register updates every two working days.

I Trained Abroad – Can I Register with the NMBI?

Whether you are Irish or of another nationality, the NMBI welcomes applicants who trained and began practising outside of the Republic of Ireland. You must also add your name to the Register of Nurses and Midwives to legally practise in the country.

The NMBI welcomes applications from three groups:

  • EU/EEA trained nurses and midwives with automatic recognition
  • EU/EEA trained nurses and midwives who require assessment
  • Non-EU/EEA trained nurses and midwives

The first group has the most relaxed time seeking registration in Ireland. It includes all EU countries and provides a reference date that is the cut-off for the earliest date of training for recognition.

For example, if you trained as a nurse in the United Kingdom, you qualify for automatic recognition as long as you trained after 29 June 1979. However, keep in mind that some dates are much later: Bulgaria and Romania both have dates in 2007.

Most people in this group can also apply for a European Professional Card (EPC) in their home country, which makes it easier to transfer your qualifications to a new state within the EU. However, an EPC doesn’t replace registration with the NMBI (it only makes it more streamlined).

Those who require assessment are usually those who trained as a nurse or midwife before the date of recognition.

In addition to providing proof of training and potentially undergoing assessment, all applicants must provide evidence of their English skills. The NMBI has an approved language test that you will learn about upon application.

You still need to provide this if you trained in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., and the UK.

You must either provide evidence that you completed a training program in English. If you practised for three years, then you can ask for a letter from your employer stating that you practised in English.

Can Nurses from Outside the EU/EEA Apply?

Yes, if you trained as a nurse or midwife in a non-EU/EEA country, then you are a Group 3 applicant.

The rules for group 3 applicants are stricter because, in addition to your skills, you also need to ask for the right to work in the Republic of Ireland.

To qualify for assessment, you must:

  • Hold a valid license in your country of qualification
  • Have completed your registration education program at least five years ago
  • Meet the English language requirements noted above

Additionally, you cannot apply if you only hold these qualifications:

  • Associate degree
  • Vocational nurse
  • Nurse’s aide
  • State enrolled nurse
  • Licensed practical nurse

You must have sought further education programs. For example, among American nurses, they look for a Registered Nurse with a bachelor’s degree.

The NMBI also requires a certain number of clinical and education hours.

If you meet the application requirements, you need to provide a full history of your education. If you worked in a specific field, like children’s health, the NMBI evaluates your background against the current NMBI standards for Irish nurses in that specialty.

Wait for Recognition Before Seeking Employment

The NMBI says you should not move to Ireland or leave your current job before you receive a decision from the board. You should also not seek employment before approval as the NMBI will not fast-track an application to meet your potential employer’s timeline.

Additionally, Irish privacy law means that the NMBI can’t share your application status with current or prospective employers. You can share your status with them yourself, but they can’t log-in on your behalf.

However, it is common to work with a recruiting agency to help guide you through the process of coming to work in Ireland.

Typically, the NMBI processes your application within 90 days after receiving all the relevant documents. Keep in mind that you may not provide everything it needs upon application, so the 90-day window doesn’t necessarily begin when you apply.

Would You Like to Work as a Nurse in Ireland?

Ireland has a severe nursing shortage and thus has a significant reliance on agency nurses. If you would like to work as a nurse in Ireland, you can.

To get started, you must meet the NMBI education and clinical requirements and make it through the application process and onto the register.

Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Med Doc today to learn more about the opportunities that await you across the Republic of Ireland.