Migrant Nurses Ireland (MNI) was invited by Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) for a consultation meeting as part of preparing the strategy statement for the 2023 – 2025 period. NMBI Director of Registration Mr Ray Healy, Head of Operations, Ms Kathy Ann Berette, Director of Communications, Mr Greg Harkin, Convenor of MNI, Mr Varghese Joy and central committee member Ms Somi Thomas attended the meeting held at NMBI office on Monday, 7th March.
In the consultation meeting MNI officials raised a number of serious matters in relation to the registration process of non-EU overseas nurses and requested to address them immediately and also to incorporate measures in the new strategy statement for 2023 – 2025.
One of the main issues raised was about the current design and execution of aptitude test and adaptation programme which are very intense and do not take into account of the tremendous stress a new nurse is going through when coming to Ireland from countries like India. During this transition, nurses experience a huge amount of stress due to a difference in culture and various other factors in the Irish healthcare environment. MNI received reports from nurses that on many occasions the examiners/assessors do not take the stress of candidates into account and that their approach to nurses aren’t pleasant or supportive. MNI requested in the meeting to ensure that the aptitude test and Adaptation program are executed in a migrant nurses friendly way while keeping the standard of the competencies assessed at a required level. MNI has brought few practical difficulties new nurses face to the attention of NMBI officials in the meeting. Currently, the break time between two stations during the aptitude practical test is 3 minutes which isn’t sufficient for candidates to prepare for the next station. In addition, when a nurse becomes unsuccessful in the adaptation program, the appeal process is cumbersome and takes a considerable time to get the outcome. This results in the expiration of nurses initial visa granted and the nurse will be forced to leave the country while waiting for the submission or outcome of the appeal. MNI requested NMBI to rectify these areas and take steps to grant such nurses an extension of their visa.
Another issue raises by MNI in the meeting was about easing the access of migrant nurses to various career progression pathways especially advanced nurse practitioner (ANP). NMBI’s current statement and Slaintecare envisage a sumptuous increase of number of ANPs by 2030. On the other hand, migrant nurses find it hard to get access to ANP pathway due to lack of support and information even if they have post graduate qualification and experience. MNI requested NMBI to devise information sessions and programs to enable migrant nurses to have a better access to ANP program.
The outcome of the meeting was extremely positive where NMBI officials commented that many issues raised by MNI were unnoticed and promised to take actions to rectify those issues.