Career Opportunities/ Professional Issues
Career Progression in General Nursing
General nursing offers the most varied of careers with opportunities available across a number of settings. Although general nursing may involve looking after sick people in traditional settings such as hospitals, it offers so much more. General Nurses work in general practice, the community, nursing homes, hospices, the armed forces and universities as well as in public and private hospitals.
Following completion of their Bachelor Degree in Nursing and registration as a General Nurse with An Bord Altranais, many graduates choose to spend at least their first year gaining experience in the clinical setting by working within either the public or private hospital setting. The choice of hospital and clinical focus e.g. surgical, medical, older adult are normally dictated by the fact that during their undergraduate degree, student nurses are attached to a particular hospital. As a result, they develop insight into the variety of clincial specialities e.g. but also the type of nursing that appeals to them most. This time gaining experience and being part of a clincial team is invaluable in ultimately determining what direction your career may take.
Post-registration Programmes leading to additional registration
Ultimately, career progression is dependent on a mix of further study and work experience. In Ireland, there are a number of specialist courses and programmes available some of which are outside General nursing. There are, for example, post-registration programmes that lead to an additional registration with An Bord Altranais and these include Children's Nursing, Nurse Tutor, Public Health Nursing and Nurse Prescriber. It is also possible to undertake a post-registration programme in Midwifery. TCD and its partner Health Service Providers offer both the Children's Nursing and Midwifery programmes. In addition, practitioners can undertake a post-graduate Diploma or Masters in Clinical Health Science Education following which they are eligible to apply for Nurse Tutor registration.
Clinical Nurse Specialist/Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Masters
Post-graduate Diploma and Masters programmes across a range of specialities that will enable you to develop the requisite knowledge and skills to practice at the level of Clinical Nurse Specialist or Advanced Nurse Practitioner are also available. In partnership with our allied Health Service Providers the School of Nursing & Midwifery at TCD provides several 1 year post-graduate Diploma in Specialist Nursing programmes including Emergency Nursing, Intensive Care, Cardiovascular, Renal, Haematology, Orthopaedics and Peri-operative strands. It is anticipated that practitioners undertaking these programmes will be able, in the future, to undertake a second year (part-time) and earn the award of Masters in Nursing. An Advanced Nurse Practitioner programme in Emergency Nursing is also offered in conjunction with St.James's Hospital.
Postgraduate Diploma/Masters programmes are offered on either a full or part-time basis in Gerontological Nursing, Cancer Care Nursing and Palliative Care.
Details of these programmes can be found in the postgraduate and research opportunities area of the School of Nursing and Midwifery website and at http://www.nursingcareers.ie Advice on clinical and educational the pre-requisites for specialist and advanced nurse practitioner programmes can be found on the National Council for Nursing and Midwifery website http://ncnm.ie.
For nurses who wish to pursue careers in management, Diploma and Masters programmes in the areas of Health Service Management and Leadership are available in the School of Business at Trinity College Dublin.
With a general nursing qualification there is the potential also, with experience and further study, to enter the fields of education and research. Whilst in the past opportunities to develop a career in reseach were often confined to the role of research assistant on medically-led studies, the significant developments in nursing research and the recognition of the contribution of nursing research to the health sciences has increased the potential for nurses to become principal investigators and leaders in the field. For those who are interested in beginning a research career, the School of Nursing & Midwifery offers opportunity to undertake a Masters by Research or PhD (part-time/full time). For further information on these opportunities please refer to the postgraduate and research area of the School of Nursing & Midwifery website. In conjuntion with clinical experience and expertise a Masters or PhD qualification may lead to a career in higher education.
Finally, it is important to note that this section on career progression is not designed to be exhaustive but to give a flavour of the diverse career options and opportunities for the general nurse. Moreover, your general nurse qualification is ultimately marketable since it is an accepted qualification in many other countries thus providing opportunities for travel or career options abroad.