Featured Advice
What are your 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.

About this Sector

About this Sector

Please give an overview of your sector?

The Health Services provide thousands of different services in hospitals, health facilities and communities throughout Ireland. These range from public health nurses treating older people in the community, to caring for children with challenging behaviour, from educating people on how to live healthier lives to performing highly-complex brain surgery, from planning of major emergencies to controlling the spread of infectious diseases.

At some stage every year, everybody in Ireland will use one or more of the services provided. They are of vital importance to the whole population.

What is the size and scope of the sector?

The Mission of the Health Service in Ireland is to 'Improve the Health and Wellbeing of People in Ireland'. We aim to ensure that :

  • People in Ireland are supported by health and social care services to achieve their full potential and
  • Can access safe, compassionate and quality care when they need it and
  • Can be confident that we will deliver the best health outcomes and value through optimising our resources

An employee of the Health Services could be working in an Acute Hospital setting, a Community-based setting, a Residential Care Home, a regional office or have a corporate function to name but a few.

The following are the categories of staff employed by the HSE:


  • Consultants - Specialty areas
  • Area Medical Officers
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Senior House Officers
  • Registrars
  • Psychiatrists
  • Public Health Doctors


  • Dental Surgeon
  • Dental Craftsman
  • Dental Nurse 


  • Clinical Nurse Managers
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Clinical Nurse Managers - Specialty areas
  • Staff Nurses - All Disciplines
  • Staff Nurses - Speciality Areas
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Midwives

Allied Health and Social Care Professionals

  • Physiotherapists (Basic Grade, Senior, Manager)
  • Radiography (Basic Grade, Senior, Manager)
  • Speech and Language Therapy (Basic Grade, Senior, Manager)
  • Occupational Therapy (Basic Grade, Senior, Manager)
  • Social Work (Basic Grade, Senior, Manager)
  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Audiologist
  • Dietitian
  • Orthoptics
  • Psychologist

Science / Laboratory

  • Analytical Chemist
  • Biochemist
  • Medical Scientist
  • Pathology technician
  • Physicists

Management /Admin / ICT

  • General Administration
  • Specialist Areas:
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • ICT
  • Corporate Affairs etc

General Support Staff

  • Attendants
  • Drivers
  • General Operatives
  • Nurses Aides (Care Assistant)
  • Homehelps
  • Supplies Officers

Technical and Maintenance

  • Draughtsman/Technician
  • Electrician
  • Engineer/Engineering Officer
  • Maintenance craftsman/technican
  • Mechanic
  • Plasterer
  • Plumber
  • Technical Services Officer

Catering and Housekeeping

  • Catering Officers
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Dining Room Staff
  • Housekeeping Staff
  • Porters
  • Laundry Staff

All our positions are advertised on www.hse.ie .

What are the current issues affecting this sector?

Recruitment and promotions in the Health Services currently operates on the basis of the Pay and Staff Numbers Strategy.  This means that each employer needs to operate within their own budget and all senior posts must be sanctioned by the Department of Health.

It is Government policy, in the case of Medical Consultants, to move to a consultant delivered service, and in the case of the other grades to increase their numbers in order to meet the requirements of integrated care delivery and address community and primary care needs particularly in respect of children at risk, the elderly and those with disabilities.

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years

We want to provide a health service which becomes world class, is available to people where they need it and when they need it. It should provide people with the very best outcomes which can be achieved, as this is what everyone who uses our services expects. We have therefore set ambitious goals and priorities which will stretch us. We may not be able to achieve all of them but we will certainly make every effort to do so.

Safer, Better Healthcare and ensuring that the patient is at the heart of everything we do are central to our Strategy. This emphasis seeks to ensure that people’s experience of the health service is not only safe and of high quality, but also caring and compassionate.

The delivery of better quality care requires that the HSE puts in place the most effective clinical care pathways that are integrated across acute, community and residential care settings. This is necessary to ensure that patients and service users are supported at all stages of the care journey and in the setting that is most appropriate to their needs.

To deliver on this and as part of the health service reform programme, seven Hospital Groups and nine Community Healthcare Organisations have now been established. Delivery of the National Clinical Programmes will take place through these new structures.

Ongoing improvements of our Health Services have a particular focus on:
a) key infrastructural changes such as Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations;
b) service improvements in areas such as integrated care and services for people with a disability; and
c) strategic enablers such as the individual health identifier. The following are the key reform programmes being progressed:

  • Continued developments of Hospital Groups, including the National Children’s Hospital.
  • Continued development of the Community Healthcare Organisations.
  • Strenghening of the clinically led, multidisciplinary, patient centred Integrated Models of Care Programmes
  • Continue to develop and implement ICT reform in line with the eHealth Strategy under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer.
  • Strenghten our efforts to attract high quality staff to our Services, particularly in occupations such as medicine and nursing.
  • Continue to implement Healthy Ireland, which is our national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Ireland.
  • Continue to embed health and wellbeing goals and key performance indicators throughout all reform programmes for both staff and service users.


Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?

There are currently 108,225 people employed in the Public Health Service in Ireland. This includes the following Staff Category / Grade group breakdown:

a) 9,587 Medical/Dental

b) 35,534 Nurses

c) 15,109 Health and Social Care Professionals

d) 16,554 Management/ Administration

e) 9,444 General Support Staff

f) 19,648 Other Patient and Client Care

A significant number of people are also employed in the independent and private health care sectors, which includes GP practices, private hospitals and clinics.

Employees of the HSE bring a range of skills, talents, diverse thinking and experience to the organisation. The HSE is committed to creating a positive working environment whereby all employees inclusive of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependents, age, physical or mental disability, civil status, membership of the Traveller community, and geographic location are respected, valued and can reach their full potential.

We aim to develop the workforce of the HSE which reflects the diversity of HSE service users, and which is strengthened through accommodating and valuing different perspectives, ultimately resulting in improved service-user experience.

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?

Yes - there are certain career areas within the HSE that are currently experiencing skills shortages.

These include:

  • Medical grades, including Consultant and Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHD)
  • Health and Social Care Professionals and
  • Nursing grades. 


The main skills shortages are for NCHDs and Consultants in the areas of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry, particularly in certain locations of the country.

There is also evidence of a significant undersupply of GPs in Ireland at present. By 2025, the predicted shortage of GPs here will potentially range from 493 to 1,380 due to increased levels of access to free GP care.


In the Nursing area, there is a shortage of Nurses in Theatre, Emergency Medicine, Midwifery and Mental Health.  

All 1,500 Nurses graduating this year will be able to access permanent jobs in hospitals across the country and other areas of the health service. 

Allied Health Professions

There is evidence that there will be shortages in some Allied Health Professions such as Speech and Language Therapy, certain Audiology grades and some other therapy grades.

Did you know ...

By 2025, the predicted shortage of GPs here will potentially range from 493 to 1,380 due to increased levels of access to free GP care.