Nearly 14,000 nurses encouraged to return to nursing practice by NMBI in association with Nursing Homes Ireland



Experience of ‘inactive’ nurses can bring enormous benefits to nursing home sector


Nearly 14,000 nurses classified as ‘inactive’ are being encouraged to return to the workforce to provide nursing care to the elderly.


The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), in conjunction with Nursing Homes Ireland, is writing to 13,774 nurses who are categorised as ‘inactive’ on the NMBI’s register.


“The quality of patient care across our health system is hugely dependent on an adequate workforce of nurses.  The aim of this initiative is to encourage some of the many thousands of nurses whose names are on the inactive file of the register to consider reactivating their registration and returning to practice in Ireland,” Mary Griffin, NMBI CEO said. “Currently there are significant employment opportunities throughout the country, both on a full-time and part-time basis, that offer nursing staff the prospect of advancing their education further and developing new skills.  We are happy to partner with NHI on this initiative and to urge nurses currently out of practice to consider returning and bringing their specialist skills to bear within communities and care facilities in need of nursing care and expertise.”


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “We are delighted to partner with the NMBI for this important initiative. Nursing homes in our local communities offer great opportunities for inactive nurses to return to practice by offering them fulfilling roles that bring immense satisfaction. Their background and experience can bring enormous benefits and support to the dedicated home-from-home healthcare settings in our communities that are nursing homes. The majority of people who are dependent upon nursing home care are very old, being aged 85 years or over. With this cohort of the population projected to increase considerably by the CSO, requirement to provide specialist, gerontological care is growing significantly.”


A bursary to the value of €1,500 is available to nurses wishing to complete HSE-run return to nursing practice courses. The communication being issued to the 13,000+ inactive nurses informs them of the bursary available and how they can reactivate their registration. It also informs them of NHI’s dedicated recruitment website,, and A Career in Nursing Homes, the organisation’s booklet that provides information and advice to nurses considering careers in nursing homes.  


Mary Griffin, NMBI CEO, and Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, are available for further comment. For further information contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive, at 01 4699806 / 087 9082970 or Glen McGahern, Q4 PR at 086 1940057.


See below testimonials provided by nurses who have returned to practice. Further interviews may be facilitated in this regard – contact Michael McGlynn.


Pictures are available from Jason Clarke Photography from the launch of the initiative.


Marie Colgan, Bed Manager, Orwell Healthcare, Rathgar, Dublin

Marie Colgan previously fulfilled role of psychiatric nurse in St Vincent’s Hospital and as a General Nurse in North Infirmary Hospital, Co Cork. Marie stopped working due to family commitments and in 2016 returned to nursing after 21 years out of the profession.  She assumed the role of bed manager at Orwell Healthcare, Co Dublin. “Understandably I was apprehensive to begin with but this is slowly subsiding as I gain more experience within my new role and learn the systems within Orwell Healthcare,” Marie comments. “It brings a good feeling to be getting on top of aspects of the job and is very reassuring after being so long away from the workplace.” The mother-of-three states getting on top of the new role “bit-by-by” and “coming up to speed with advances in technology and modern practices in healthcare” have given her immense satisfaction and proven extremely rewarding and satisfying. Marie speaks of the benefits of working in a nursing home setting as opposed to the previous hospital settings she fulfilled her nursing duties within. “It’s a smaller environment, more personal and has a nice mixture of nursing and care,” she states. “My role at present is an administration and liaison role which is a new challenge for me. The residents in nursing homes are not acutely ill in general so there is less nursing pressure in that sense.” What would she say to any ‘inactive’ nurse who is considering a return to nursing and looking at nursing home care as an option?I would recommend it as it is a less stressful environment to re-enter nursing after being inactive due to the mix of relatively healthy residents and therefore a good place to re-familiarise with technology and nursing practices.”


Joan Lee, Staff Nurse, Cedar House, Goatstown, Dublin

Marie was inactive for 14 years before she returned to nursing practice. She had previously nursed as a diabetes specialist nurse in St Vincent’s Private Hospital. She took the career break in 2004 due to family commitments. She returned to practice to Cedar House just over a year ago, in May 2015. How did she feel about returning post a ten year break? “Excited and terrified in equal measure,” she explains. “I’m absolutely delighted to have made the return to nursing practice. I find the job rewarding in many ways. There’s the generous support of colleagues, positive feedback that comes from patients and relatives, the job satisfaction at the end of the day.” She said the finds the role she is pursuing “very rewarding”. “I especially like the team role where the team works as a unit each day and night towards the care and support of all residents holistically.” Asked of the benefits of working in a nursing home as opposed to a clinical setting, she states her present role provides flexibility, with her working two days concurrently. “It’s not a stressful area and the home setting is natural,” she adds. So what would she advise inactive nurses considering returning to nursing? “I would say talk to the nurse manager in the nursing home in the locality where you live. Take a tour of the facility, see what roles are available, ask would they offer a return to practice type of upskilling, as my employer did and this helped me ease into the role. Look out for an atmosphere of support towards continued practice development.”


Mary Maguire, Staff Nurse, Killure Bridge Nursing Home, Waterford

After a 19 year absence from nursing, Mary Maguire was understandably “nervous and lacking in confidence” when she returned to nursing in 2013. Mary was previously nursing in intensive care and providing clinical care to persons with spinal injuries. She stopped pursuing her nursing career in 1995 and spent an extended period overseas. In 2013 she returned to nursing at Killure Bridge Nursing Home in Co Waterford.   “I went to live in Malaysia where foreign, non-Asian nurses were unable to get registration approval,” she explains. “I left in 1995 and only returned to nursing at Killure Bridge in 2013. “I felt nervous and lacking in confidence upon my return but I am very happy that I made the decision to return to nursing practice. I enjoy being back in a professional environment and having something very important to contribute. A nursing home is a perfect stepping stone for nurses returning to practice to re-enter the workforce. It provides a more gentle environment and has supported and enabled me to regain my confidence and skills. I would definitely recommend anyone considering to return to nursing and looking at nursing home care as an option to be look at it as an excellent setting in which to return. It can provide a very rewarding career with great satisfaction.”  



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