New HEA study shows majority of nursing graduates stay in Ireland

The HEA released a fact sheet, detailing various facts about nursing and midwifery in Ireland

Recent findings by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) states that 96% of Irish nursing graduates are employed in Ireland nine months after graduating. The HEA released a fact sheet, detailing various facts about nursing and midwifery in Ireland.

The HEA reported that over 70% of nurses with graduate degrees earned between €25,000- €45,000, compared to an average of 50% of all graduates. The number earning less than €25,000 was also much smaller than the average, with 28% of nurses earning under that amount, compared to a 47% graduate average.

According to the survey, 49% of all undergraduate nurses are recipients of the SUSI grant, compared to 44% of undergraduates in all courses. It also showed a drop in undergraduate preference, with nurses in 2015/16 making up 4% of all undergraduates, down from 5% in 2011/2012. 74% of undergraduates were under twenty three, with the remaining 26% older, showing nursing as a popular course for mature students. The study found that nine in ten undergraduates were female.

While the HEA’s findings tell of good news about nursing and midwifery in Ireland, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) released a statement “clarifying misleading HEA headline”. The INMO said that the study included courses under the definition of “nursing and caring”, saying that caring is too broad a definition to be included and therefore skews the results.

In the statement, the INMO said:“In the study the HEA defined nursing as “nursing refers to all courses under the broad discipline of nursing and midwifery from 2014/15 onward and nursing and caring up to and including 2013/14.” “Caring is a very broad definition and would not refer specifically to nursing therefore the figures of undergraduates in 2011 of 2,202 exceed the nursing undergraduate figure by 802 and likewise for 2012,13 and 14.  Also, the definition in this study, of nursing graduates, includes both undergraduates and post graduates, therefore those undertaking education while employed are included in the results”.

In relation to the statistics provided, the data was collected from 6 of the 13 Schools of Nursing and Midwifery. This excluded more than half of the third level institutions providing undergraduate nursing education.”

The HEA report also stated that over 70% of nurses with graduate degrees earned The INMO’s statement refutes many of the HEA’s statistics, with Liam Conway, the INMO Student and New Graduate officer saying: “The INMO is currently in the process of conducting an exit poll of the 2017 new graduates and early indications show the following that only 52.56% graduates are offered permanent contracts, while 6.05% have been offered fixed term/temporary contracts and 41.40 % have not been offered a contract or post.

Speaking to the Irish Times, the HEA said that they sent the study to the INMO and asked if they sought clarification on any particular matter.

Hugh McInerney

Hugh McInerney is the host and producer of Trinity News' podcast.