How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse? Here’s a Step by Step Guide

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse? Here’s a Step by Step Guide

Have you ever asked yourself “how long does it take to become a nurse”? If so, read this step by step guide on how to become a nurse in Ireland.

Currently, there is a severe shortage of nurses in Ireland.

This means that becoming a nurse is a fantastic career move, as you’ll always have job security.

But while you may want to become a nurse, you may be wondering how long does it takes to become a nurse. Or, you may just not be sure if it is the career for you.

In this article, we’ll go over the requirements to become a nurse in Ireland and what you can expect during the application process.

Prerequisites to Nursing School

In order to apply to a nursing programme, you’ll need to have completed secondary education. This is due to the fact that many nursing programmes are bachelor’s degrees. Therefore, you will need to have the appropriate qualifications.

You must have a C3 in two higher papers and at least a D3 in four papers. You must complete at least one laboratory science, math and either English or Irish. Some universities have specific qualifications for their entrance, so you must be aware of the school’s requirements before applying.

Students who have completed relevant FETAC (Level 5) modules with distinctions in 5 modules, can also apply to an undergraduate level nursing school. There are typically only limited places at universities for these students, however.

Some schools also have access programmes, that give both young and mature students the necessary preparation to begin nursing school.

You can do this through a Higher Education Access Route (HEAR), which is reserved for students who have earned their Leaving Certificate at a third level access programme.

There are also two foundation courses available at some universities, each of them last a year and are designed to transition you to nursing school successfully.

Figure Out if Nursing School is For You

Before you apply to nursing school, you should be sure this is the career you’re after. Don’t enter with doubts, only to complete your degree and hate it. Instead, evaluate this truthfully and honestly with yourself before you begin your course.

Figure Out What Type of Nurse You Wish to Be

In Ireland, there are five routes you can take in nursing schools. Not every university offers these courses, so you’ll have to find one that has exactly what you’re looking for.

You can choose to work in Children’s and General, General Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing, Midwifery, and Psychiatric Nursing.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse?

All programmes last for four years, with the exception of the Children’s and General qualification. This takes four and a half years to complete. The four year and four and a half years of work are to be done on a full-time basis.

You may also complete further specialist programmes in the form of postgraduate degrees. The programmes must be approved by An Bord Altranais (Ireland’s Nursing Board).

In some cases, these programmes will be more in-depth than your first four or four and a half years. Others are specialist programmes that allow you to gain even further skills.

Further programmes you can take include: Midwifery, Children’s Nursing, Nurse Tutor, Nurse Prescriber, Public Health Nursing, Advance Midwife Practitioner and Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

How Many Students Are Accepted Each Year?

Ireland has 44 schools which offer nursing as a degree. Within these schools, there are a set number of places for students. There are also a set number of places reserved for “mature students,” or those over the age of 23.

There are four universities who offer the Children’s and General nursing course. There are 100 places offered to students each year, about 25 per university. 15% of these places will go to students over the age of 23.

General nursing is offered at 14 universities. In total, 860 students are accepted into the programmes each year. This is an average of 62 students per university. 15% of the places go to students over the age of 23.

Ireland offers eight programmes for Intellectual Disability Nursing, with 180 places. This makes approximately 22 students accepted per university course. 30% of places are reserved for students over the age of 23.

There are six schools that offer the Midwifery specialty. They hold places for 140 students or approximately 23 per school. 20% of these places are reserved for students over the age of 23.

Finally, Ireland offers 12 courses in psychiatric nursing. Nationwide, there are 290 places for students or 24 per school. 35% of places are reserved for mature students.

Applying to Nursing School

Students must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO). In this portion, they will indicate which programmes they are most interested in and submit their scores from testing or secondary school. Mature students applying through the CAO must also take an exam for the PAS or Public Appointment Service.

Offers then go out to mature students in July. Further Education and Training, or FET students will receive their offers in early August. This is followed by traditional students who will receive their offers in mid-August.

Becoming a Nurse

Becoming a nurse requires hard work and dedication. It also takes serious passion. But we hope we’ve answered the question as to, “How long does it take to become a nurse?”

If you think you might want to become a nurse, take this assessment quiz to find out if this career path might be for you. If you think you would excel in the career, you should definitely consider applying to nursing school. You could open up doors for yourself, as well as make a difference in many people’s lives.

Visit our blog for more tips and tricks about the healthcare industry in Ireland, including success in school and work-life balance.