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

Tuesday, 12th February 2008-RCSI Study Shows Ireland's Growing Dependence on Non-EU Nurses

12 February 2008

More than half of all new entrants to the Irish nursing register in 2006 came from outside the European Union (EU) according to a new study on nurse migration from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The Health Research Board (HRB) funded study also revealed that most of the migrant nurses interviewed did not intend to stay in Ireland on a long-term basis.

Pictured from l to r are Professor Hannah McGee, Head of the Department of Psychology, RCSI; Dr. Niamh Humphries, Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI and Professor Ruairí Brugha , Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, RCSI.

“It is clear that overseas trained nurses, mainly from outside the EU, are now an essential component of the Irish nursing workforce. Indeed the number of non-EU entrants to the register has increased from 14 per cent in 2000, to 57 per cent in 2006”, said lead researcher Dr. Niamh Humphries, Division of Population Health Sciences at RCSI. “Over half of the nurses (57 per cent) registering on the Irish nursing register in 2005 and 2006 came from India or the Philippines”.

Dr. Humphries explained “It was widely expected that overseas nurse recruitment would reduce once the first batch of university trained nurses graduated in 2006. However, this has not been the case as more migrant nurses registered in Ireland in 2006 than in 2005”.

Over half of the migrant nurses who participated in the qualitative study said that they intended to emigrate from Ireland in the next five years. A desire to be settled or stable in Ireland was high on their list of priorities and outweighed career-related considerations in determining their future plans.

Dr. Humphries continued; “Given the fact that the Irish health system has clearly become reliant on migrant nurses, we need to identify why some of these nurses plan to leave Ireland, what the consequences of their departure will be and what we can do to encourage them stay.”