Ireland’s brain drain would appear to be set to continue as HSE faces serious competition with overseas recruitment companies. In a survey conducted by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) on 2018 4th Year Students, overseas recruiters had already approached 57 per cent of respondents, while the HSE had offered permanent contracts to a significantly smaller 18 per cent at the time (February 21 – March 7) .
The survey focused on what the students’ post-graduation plans were, with a massive 71 per cent claiming to be considering leaving Ireland.
INMO Student and New Graduate Officer, Neal Donohue, commented: “The offer of a permanent contract for an extremely low paid job with poor working conditions is simply not attractive for nursing and midwifery interns. The shortage of skilled and experienced nurses and midwives to support the education of students will also mean there will be further deficits going forward”.
A further 60 per cent are considering leaving the public health service to work in the private sector, while 79 per cent identified increases in pay and improvements in staffing and working conditions as the required incentives to retain nurses and midwives in the public services. 76 per cent said that staffing levels are not adequate to support learning and training of student nurses in the clinical setting.
The INMO carried out this survey to highlight that recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery graduates in Ireland is a serious concern: in December 2007 the nursing and midwifery WTE was 39,006, a decade later, this figure had dropped to 36,777, which is a loss of 2,229 nurses and midwives in the Irish Public Service.
Evidence from the survey indicated that the top three ranking incentives to entice the graduates to stay within the public health service include; pay increase, improved staffing levels and working conditions, and access to funded postgraduate education.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “The results from this survey are stark and reinforce the point that recruitment and retention is now very urgent. If we are to develop the services to implement the Bed Capacity Report, the Maternity Strategy and the recent Framework for Staffing and Skill Mix which is to be rolled out nationwide, the Public Service Pay Commission needs to deliver for nurses and midwives.
“The government has agreed that there is a deficit in nursing and midwifery and they now need to retain the experienced nurses and midwives we have here and recruit our new graduates who are considering leaving the country. To improve the conditions and staffing levels low pay throughout the nursing career has to be addressed”.