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INMO Survey Reveals that 71% of Nursing Graduates Consider Leaving Ireland

Survey findings show graduates dissatisfaction with nursing opportunities in HSE

A recent survey conducted by the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) revealed that 71% of Nursing and Midwifery students are considering leaving the country in search of work.

This finding does not come as a surprise, the attractiveness of a nursing career in Ireland has somewhat faded due to low pay and chronic understaffing in overcrowded hospitals. As a result, the recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery graduates in Ireland is a serious concern. In the decade from 2007-2017, the figures for nursing and midwifery whole time equivalents (WTE) dropped by over 2,200 from 39,006 in 2007 to 36,777 in 2017. The results of this recent INMO survey revealed many reasons for this drop-off in WTE levels.

The survey was conducted in February -March 2018 and was answered by 417 of 800 Fourth Year Nursing/Midwifery students. The main findings were as follows:

  • 71% are considering leaving Ireland;
  • 60% are considering leaving the public health service to work in the private sector;
  • 57% have already been approached by overseas nursing companies;
  • 18% have been offered permanent contracts by the HSE;
  • 79% identify increases in pay and improvements in staffing and working conditions as the required incentives to retain nurses and midwives in the public services; and,
  • 76% say staffing levels are not adequate to support learning and training of student nurses in the clinical setting.


The top three incentives cited for enticing graduates to stay in Ireland are:

  • Increase in pay
  • Improved staffing levels and working conditions; and,
  • Access to funded postgraduate education.


The government have big plans to rejuvenate the healthcare sector and will need to develop services to implement the changes promoted in the Bed Capacity Report, the Maternity Strategy and the recent Framework for Staffing and Skill Mix. Delivering on this will be a struggle without a steady stream of graduates entering the profession. Furthermore, the need to retain experienced staff is vital to have any hope to implement change and support the learning and training of newly qualified nurses and midwives.


If you are considering a career in Nursing or Midwifery, you can find lots of information on Careersportal. To access occupational profiles, including video career interviews, click on the following links:

General Nurse


Mental Health Care Nurse

Children’s Nurse


Check out the Medical and Healthcare sector page to find Employment Trends and expert information from the HSE. Click here.


The CareersPortal Team









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