Higher Options career talks: nursing and midwifery

There are lots of different fields within nursing with a variety of career paths

If you enjoy working and engaging with people, you’ll more than likely thrive within the nursing or midwifery sector, say experts.

“Nursing and midwifery is a fantastic option for careers,” says Mary Devane, professional officer at the education department in the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NWBI).

“When you finish your degree programme, really it’s just the start of your career pathway and there’s so many different avenues to be a nurse or a midwife.”

There are a number of different fields within nursing.

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Clinical

The clinical option, which is more patient-facing, is one popular option. “So, you can become a clinical nurse specialist or a clinical midwife specialist. You can become an advanced nurse practitioner or an advanced midwifery practitioner,” she says.

Management

There are also management roles which involve looking at policy and strategic views of the profession.

Education is another route, with lots of nurses and midwives working in universities where they teachnursing and midwifery programmes or are involved in research.

Impact

Devane says nursing and midwifery offers a professional career with “something different every day” outside of an office.

“You make an impact on someone’s life every day. If that appeals to you, I would definitely consider nursing,” she says.There is a wide range of pathways into nursing and midwifery and getting on the register with the NWBI (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland).

General nursing

“The one most people would be familiar with would be the general nursing route which is the most popular,” says Devane.

“In that course, students will get a taste of everything, a taste of midwifery, a taste of children’s nursing throughout their training.”

As this route is the most popular, it tends to have the highest CAO points. However, she says students can make their way into the industry through other routes with lower points requirements.

“A student could do a course in intellectual disability, where the points are not as high, and they could do a post-graduate course in general nursing afterwards,” she says.

“Equally they could do mental health nursing and do a post-graduate diploma in general nursing afterwards, and there’s the integrated children’s programme too. If you want to do general [nursing] you can go a different route into it.”

Another way into nursing is through PLC courses, where students may be eligible to get into nursing courses through a lottery, should they receive distinctions in certain modules.

A new option are tertiary degrees. A key difference with doing a PLC, above, is that while it starts in the further education and training sector, there is guaranteed progression to higher education. Check out the National Tertiary Office for more,

Interview conducted in 2022

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