Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Friday, 30th November 2007 - First Cohort of Nurses and Midwives in Ireland Complete Nurse Prescribing Programme at RCSI

30 November 2007

The first cohort of twenty two nurses and midwives in Ireland were presented with a Certificate in Nurse/Midwife prescribing today at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

Back Row (l to r) are Dr Stephen Kerrigan, Ms Mary O Neill, Ms. Lorraine O'Hagan, Ms. Brenda Casey, Ms. Martina Murphy, Ms. Nicola Clarke, Board of the Faculty Nursing; Ms. Chanel Watson, School of Nursing RCSI.
Front Row (l to r) are Dr Michael Robson, Master Holles Street Hospital; Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, RCSI; Ms. Mary Brosnan, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Holles Street Hospital.

The six-month educational programme was delivered at two national centres - RCSI and University College Cork (UCC) and involved collaboration between the schools of nursing, medicine and pharmacy. The education programme involves a theoretical component as well as the assessment of essential clinical competencies in prescribing. A second cohort of thirty six students commenced the programme in October 2007 in RCSI.

The introduction of nurse and midwife prescribing in Ireland is a significant and important initiative in the Irish healthcare system and will result in an expansion and extension of the scope of nursing and midwifery practice. In 2006 a National Implementation and Resource Committee for nurse/midwife prescribing was established to examine and develop the necessary governance, legislative and educational processes for prescribing, all of which are now in place.

Nurses and midwives will now be allowed to prescribe medications for patients in certain limited and controlled situations. Particular areas where nurse and midwife prescribing will have a particular impact includes chronic disease management, emergency treatment, pain control and palliative care.

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the RCSI School of Nursing and Midwifery said “This is a mile stone in the history of nursing and midwifery in Ireland and the role will further unleash the potential of the professions in health care delivery. Prescribing of medications by nurses and midwives will enable patients to have easier access, faster delivery of treatment and earlier intervention in both the hospital and primary care setting.”