In Summary - General Nurse (RGN)
General Nurse (RGN)s typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - General Nurse (RGN)
Nurses care for people's emotional, psychological and physical needs. They aim to promote the health of the individual and population.
Although some nurses may spend a large amount of time working on their own in direct contact with patients, all nurses are part of a wider health care team. This includes other nurses, health care assistants, doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers and many others. Nurses are responsible for planning and implementing the complete nursing care of their patients.
Whatever the setting or the problem, nurses assess nursing needs and draw up care plans. They observe the effectiveness of care and modify the care plan accordingly. They administer medicine and injections and carry out routine procedures.
Nurses of any discipline may work in hospitals, community based health centres or in patients' homes. Some may concentrate on health promotion work. For instance, they might help patients to regain or retain their independence, which allows them to continue living at home.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
- Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
- Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
- Monitor, record, and report symptoms or changes in patients' conditions.
- Consult and coordinate with healthcare team members to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
- Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions.
- Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
- Direct or supervise less-skilled nursing or healthcare personnel or supervise a particular unit.
- Prepare patients for and assist with examinations or treatments.
- Instruct individuals, families, or other groups on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and develop health improvement programs.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Interests - General Nurse (RGN)
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You need to have good communication skills. This is partly so that you can work effectively in a team, and partly so you can talk to patients in a language they will understand and involve them in care planning.
Technological advances in some areas mean that an interest in science, and an understanding of how the body and mind work, is essential. Carrying out physical care requires practical ability and good observational skills.
Nurses must be resourceful, mature and tolerant enough to cope with demanding patients and other difficult situations. It is important that you are flexible, can use your initiative and have a good understanding of the organisation you work for.
Most nursing posts require a certain level of physical fitness and emotional resistance.
Entry Requirements - General Nurse (RGN)
To work as a qualified nursing professional, you must first successfully complete a programme of nursing education, and then apply to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), the statutory body for regulation of the nursing profession in Ireland, as a Registered General Nurse (RGN).
Pre-Registration Degree Programmes Leading to Registration with NMBI
There are 5 pre-registration level nursing training programmes available, all of which are at Level 8 Honours Bachelor Degree:
- BSc in General Nursing (RGN),
- BSc in Psychiatric Nursing (RPN)
- BSc in Intellectual Disability Nursing (RNID)
- BSc in Childrens and General (integrated) Nursing
- BSc in Midwifery
The programmes are offered through 13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in association with the main Healthcare Agencies (Hospitals/Clinical Sites). Application is made through the CAO.
Getting into Nursing Training
To get into a nursing training programme applicants must:
(a) have obtained a minimum grade of C3 in two higher level papers and a minimum grade of D3 in four ordinary or higher level papers in the Leaving Certificate, in the following subjects:
- Irish or English
- A Laboratory Science subject (Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Physics & Chemistry or Agricultural Science)
- Three other subjects
(b) have achieved the equivalent minimum educational attainments to the Leaving Certificate, as judged by the Higher Education Authority(HEA)
(c) meet the minimum educational requirements specified by the third level institution (HEI) concerned, for entry to the course, provided the requirements are not of a lower standard than those set out in (a) above.
(Note: Foundation Level Mathematics or Foundation Level Irish are not acceptable).
Alternative Entry Routes:
Certain Specific QQI Level 5 Certificate Programmes provide links to Nursing Degree Programmes. These currently are:
- Nursing Studies (5M4349 / DCHSN)
- Healthcare Support (5M4339 / DHSXXX)
- Community and Health Services (5M4468 / DCHSX)
In all cases, applicants must have achieved distinctions in five components including;
- Anatomy and Physiology (5N0749 / D20001)
- Introduction to Nursing (5N4325 / D200012)
- Human Growth and Development (5N1279 / D20032) or Biology (5N2746 / C20006)
Always contact the Admissions Office of the individual HEIs or visit www.cao.ie or www.nursingcareers.ie to check for any changes.
For full detail see 'Nursing and Midwifery - A Career for You'
Last Updated: April, 2016
Pay & Salary - General Nurse (RGN)
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 27k - 42k
Department of Health (Circular 4/2016) revises the rate of pay for Student Nurses (General/Midwife/Children's/Intellectual Disability) in respect of their 36 week placement period to a payment rate of 70% of the first point of the Staff Nurse scale (€27,483 / €19,238.10 annualised).
The rate for student Mental Health Nurses is also sanctioned at 70% of the Mental Health Staff Nurse scale (€19,685.40 annualised).
Last Updated: March, 2016
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - General Nurse (RGN)
Despite a decline in employment, the demand for certain types of nursing skills has remained strong and has resulted in shortages. Work patterns and certain geographical locations are also impacting on recruitment and retention of nurses.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - General Nurse (RGN)
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO)
An Bord Altranais/Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)
An Bord Altranais/Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)