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Advanced Nursing & Midwifery Practice: A Giant Leap Towards Efficient Healthcare in Ireland

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Advanced Nursing & Midwifery Practice: A Giant Leap Towards Efficient Healthcare in Ireland

The Irish healthcare system has taken a significant step forward with the launch of the new policy on 'The Development of Graduate to Advanced Nursing and Midwifery Practice'. Introduced by the Health Minister, Simon Harris TD, the policy intends to elevate the role and recognition of nursing and midwifery in our healthcare infrastructure, particularly in the implementation of the Sláintecare health reform programme.

CATS CONSULTING GROUP Advanced Nursing &  Midwifery Practice.

A Peek into the Past and the Vision for the Future

Back in 2017, a commendable milestone was achieved when the first batch of 124 Candidate Advanced Practitioners began their journey through a pilot education programme. Today, the nation takes pride in over 420 nurses and midwives practicing at an advanced level. The vision is even grander. Minister Harris envisions 2% of the nursing and midwifery workforce, which approximates to 750 professionals, to serve as Advanced Practitioners.

The Real Impact of Advanced Practitioners and Their Remuneration

One of the most significant takeaways from Minister Harris's address was the emphasis on evidence. Studies demonstrate that when advanced practitioners are in adequate numbers within particular areas, they significantly ameliorate some of the predominant challenges in healthcare. Notable among these are better management of long-term conditions, a significant reduction in waiting times, and improved patient access to services.

The policy's pilot scheme results speak volumes. Over 11,000 patients benefited from the expertise of Candidate Advanced Practitioners in just six months last year. With increased outpatient clinic capacity and reduced Emergency Department admissions, especially for respiratory ailments, the success aligns perfectly with the objectives of Sláintecare.

Such vital contributions to healthcare also come with a deserving compensation package. As of 16 August 2023, an advanced nurse practitioner in Ireland earns an annual salary of €66,582. Breaking it down, this translates to a monthly wage of €5,548, a weekly income of €1,280, or an hourly rate of €34.29. This remuneration is a reflection of their expertise, training, and the significant role they play in the healthcare ecosystem.

The New Model: Delivering Care Closer to Home

The policy not only ensures timely care delivery but also emphasizes care delivery as close to a patient's home as possible. An added advantage is the established career trajectory for nurses and midwives, which is essential for staff retention.

Insights from the Chief Nurse, Dr. Siobhan O’Halloran

Dr. O'Halloran highlighted the multifaceted role of Advanced Nurse Practitioners. From providing comprehensive patient care, including assessment and prescribing medications, to ensuring faster treatment timelines and early discharges, these professionals have already shown their potential in pilot programs. Cases where respiratory care led to drastic reductions in hospital admissions and swift consultant consultations further underscore the impact of this policy.

With a focus on community care, Advanced Nurse Practitioners are also enhancing the elderly care experience, preventing unnecessary emergency department visits.

Closing the International Gap

Historically, Ireland's numbers in advanced practice have been meager compared to global standards. This policy aims to bridge that gap. By proposing a 2-year trajectory from graduate to advanced practice, the policy aligns with international norms. The collaboration between the HSE and the Department of Health is a testament to the importance of nursing and midwifery in enhancing public health.

A Note on the Backdrop

International data consistently confirms the tremendous impact of Advanced Nurse Practitioners on healthcare, credited to their expansive qualifications and ability to provide comprehensive care. This policy is transformative; it seeks to overhaul the way we educate, train, and recognize our nursing and midwifery professionals. The Chief Nurse's Office has diligently tested the model over the past years, with 164 additional ANP posts developed across various domains, both in acute and community settings. The creation of a standardized national data tool is a pioneering initiative to quantify the influence of Advanced Practice Nursing and Midwifery interventions.

In essence, Ireland is poised to reshape its healthcare landscape, with advanced nursing and midwifery practice at its helm. And with competitive compensation packages, professionals in this field are both recognized and rewarded for their pivotal role in the health sector.


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