Ireland is one country that offers free public healthcare services to its residents. Every legal Irish resident is entitled to receive healthcare services through the public healthcare system in the country. And if the person qualifies for a medical card, almost all public medical services are also free. Ireland’s free public healthcare services are primarily funded by the residents’ taxes and other people working in the country. Also, Ireland has been praised for its comprehensive and timely response to the COVID-19 virus. During this pandemic, frequent updates were given by the Department of Health and Health Service Executive (HSE). The organizations’ transparency and commitment to open data policy were commendable, and it led to a high level of compliance with safety measures among the general public.

As for the healthcare professionals practicing in Ireland, just like other countries, it is very diversified. Some nurses graduated in the country itself, and several foreign nurses opt to work in the country. The HSE offers a vast opportunity for nurses who wish to work in Ireland. The HSE is the largest employer in Ireland, and it already has over 120,000 members. The Irish Health Service has an impeccable reputation for providing quality nursing care and developing a rewarding and reputable career in nursing; that is why many nursing graduates dream of working in the country. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland maintains and handles around 78,000 registered nurses and midwives practicing in the country.

For further knowledge about the nursing profession and the steps to become a nurse in Ireland, go through our guide below.

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Steps to Become a Nurse in Ireland

1. Choose an Irish university that Offers Nursing Courses/Programs

There are several universities/colleges and institutions that offer nursing degrees in Ireland. Irish institutions of high education offer degrees in general nursing, mental health nursing, and intellectual nursing. As this is an important step to become a nurse in Ireland, students must know what nursing path they will take for them to be able to choose the best university or institution for them. More information about the undergraduate nursing programs can be found on the Irish institutions’ websites.

2. Prepare All the University Requirements

Be ready to submit the application requirements to your chosen university. The basic requirement for all universities offering nursing courses/programs are as follows:

  • Secondary school education certificate (knowledge in subjects related to medicine is a must; this includes biology, physics, mathematics)
  • Certificate of Language Proficiency

Other universities may require additional documents. Remember to check the university’s website to learn more about the requirements for applying to the nursing program.

3. Get a Language Proficiency Certificate

The language of instruction in Irish universities is English. Students who are native English speakers do not need to prove their fluency; however, non-native English speakers are required to present a certificate of language proficiency in order to apply to the chosen university. Thus, this is an important step for them to become a nurse in Ireland. Students can submit either an IELTS, TOEFL, or OET certificate to prove their proficiency.

4. Finish the Nursing Degree

Of course, this is an essential step to become a nurse in Europe. All nursing programs offered in Irish institutions take four years to complete. The applicant may also opt to take postgraduate degrees or specialist programs to further his or her knowledge and skills. These programs will be more in-depth than the four-year nursing course taken in your undergrad.

5. Apply for NMBI Registration

The NMBI handles all registration of nurses and midwives in the Republic of Ireland. It is illegal to perform nursing duties if you are not registered with the NMBI, so nurses that wish to practice the profession of nursing in the country must register before practicing their profession in Ireland.

To know more about the NMBI registration, please visit the Candidate’s Register. And for more information regarding the registration process for students and graduates qualified in Ireland, please visit the Qualified in Ireland section on the NMBI website.

6. For Foreign Nurses, Accomplish the Overseas Registration or Application Request Form

This is an important step to become a nurse in Ireland. For international or foreign nurses, log in to the NMBI website and download the overseas application request form. The form will be located in the Registration/Trained outside Ireland section. The form will ask the applicant to accomplish the following information:

  • Personal contact information
  • Division of Register
  • Debit/Credit Card details for the Overseas Registration or Application Fee

To log in and download the request form, please go to the NMBI website.

7. Pay the Overseas Registration Fee

After logging in to the NMBI website and accomplishing the overseas registration or application request form, the applicant shall pay the necessary fees for the processing of his or her application for registration. The payments from the applicants are necessary costs in the submission of their application.

To know more about the schedule of fees currently used by the NMBI, please visit the NMBI services fees.

8. Wait for the Overseas Registration Application Pack

Once the applicant’s application overseas application request form and application fee have been processed, the NMBI will issue an overseas registration application pack. All the instructions for the processing of the application shall be provided in the pack, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to read thoroughly and follow all the instructions indicated to avoid unnecessary delays in the processing of his or her application.

9. Prepare to Submit All Necessary Documents

The NMBI will require the applicant to submit necessary documents for the processing of his or her application as a registered nurse in Ireland. The requirements to be provided are as follows:

  • Personal information
  • Contact information
  • Identification card, passport, or any proof of identity
  • Professional registration or license issued in the country you came from
  • Details about the applicant’s professional practice in the country where he or she originated
  • Professional education primary qualification or certificate of completion or diploma in nursing
  • Language proficiency certificate

The documents mentioned above must be in English. If not, the documents must be translated and certified into English. The applicant will be asked by the authority to sign a declaration, in honor of the General Data Protection Regulation, which states: “I confirm that all the information provided by me in connection with this application is complete, accurate, and true to the best of my knowledge.”

10. Wait for the Outcome of Application

Once all the documents are received, the NMBI will immediately start assessing the applicant’s file. After the assessment of the NMBI, a decision letter shall be issued to the applicant. Their assessment process has four possible outcomes, which includes:

  • Eligible for Registration
  • Further information required
  • Required to complete an aptitude test before registration
  • Refused registration

The applicant shall be able to check the status of his application, including all outstanding documents, through logging in to the NMBI website and checking the Track My Application section. The instruction on how the tracking of applications works will also be included in the overseas registration application pack provided by the authority.

11. Once Eligible for Registration, Be Ready to Find Employment

Once the applicant’s registration is already approved, he or she is ready to seek employment and practice the nursing profession in the Republic of Ireland.


I hope that you found this article on the steps to becoming a nurse in Ireland informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!