Ireland’s nursing crisis could be eclipsed if US nurses weren’t being denied access to work here.
According to HSE annual report figures for 2016, nursing staffing levels have fallen by more than 3,000 since 2007 and the HSE has committed to increasing the nursing and midwifery workforce to deliver 1,208 additional permanent posts this year.
However, TheJournal.ie has heard from a number of nurses trained in the US who described being refused registration to work here because they were told they didn’t have the correct amount of clinical and theory hours from their studies – even though they have been working as professionals for years.
There are 65,000 nurses in Ireland: 51,000 are Irish, 4,600 are from India and 4,265 are from the Philippines, but only 270 are from the United States.
Rebecca Love, a professor at the School of Nursing Northeastern University and founder of American nurse recruitment website HireNurses.com, says she has been in touch with more than 5,000 American nurses who have shown an interest in working in Ireland since last year.
She says of those nurses actively seeking employment, many qualified in the US so are unable to register for work here despite Irish hospitals wanting to employ them.
TheJournal.ie has heard from more than a dozen nurses who say that the difference in their clinical and theory hours from their degree is the reason they have been refused or told to take an adaptation course. They also said that they were not told this information until after they applied – at a cost of €425 – even though it is a well-known issue.
Love said she has spent hours researching, calculating and reviewing the transcripts and documents of American nurses and she claims that nurses with a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) from the US do have the correct theory and clinical hours needed.
George Russell, a director at Irish healthcare recruiting firm Epic World jobs, is currently dealing with a number of US nurses who are trying to get registered to work in Ireland.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he said:
Currently I’m working with more than 300 nurses and can get any amount of American nurses if the obstacles at NMBI were out of the way.
Ireland is very high on their radar and with over three million nurses registered in the US, Ireland’s nursing crisis would be eclipsed by the amount of American nurses that have a desire to work here.
“I think adaptation is a much better idea than taking the RCSI aptitude test. Many foreign nurses wanting to come here are unable to afford the test. It’s a deterrent.
Where are the courses?
When asked which hospitals currently have available placements, a spokesperson for the NMBI said:
It is at the discretion of the approved health care facilities as to how they manage adaptation placements and queries regarding the numbers currently on placement in each facility should be directed to those institutions. NMBI has no role in organising placements.
However, as was already stated, the HSE does not monitor the programmes being provided by the hospitals.
TheJournal.ie directly contacted 21 HSE hospitals which the NMBI lists and asked if they were currently carrying out adaptation courses. Of the 21 only two replied; the Department of Psychiatry in Drogheda and Tallaght Hospital.