Nursing Students Guidance

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Nursing Students: Guidance on Responsibilities and Clinical Practice Experience

As a nursing student in one of Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), your name must be entered on the Candidate Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).  

Our Candidate Register may be checked by your clinical supervisor or healthcare facility to ensure that you are eligible to undertake clinical placements as part of a nursing qualification.

NMBI would like to extend a warm welcome and wish you every success as you begin your career in nursing. The purpose of the guidance in this section is to outline some information about NMBI and provide some guidance for the clinical practice experience that you will undertake during your programme of study.

Student’s responsibility

As a student you will come into direct contact with patients or clients and their families and will actively participate in giving care appropriate to your level of knowledge and practical experience, with the supervision and direction of a registered nurse or midwife. As a student you have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the patient or client. As your knowledge, skills, experience and competence develop you will increasingly accept more responsibility.

As a nursing student, it is important that you do not undertake care for which you have not been prepared for or which you are not appropriately supervised.

If you are unsure about your responsibilities whilst on placement, please discuss the matter with your supervisor.

The student and patient confidentiality

Confidentiality concerning the patient or client records is an expression of the trust inherent in the nurse’s practice relationship with a patient or client. Information regarding a patient's or client’s history, treatment and state of health is confidential and is guided by both ethical and legal considerations. 

You are advised of the following:

  • Clearly identify yourself as a student as distinct from a registered nurse or midwife, when introducing yourself to the patient or client.
  • Access to and use of the patient or client records must be under the supervision of a registered nurse or midwife.
  • Should you wish to refer to the care of an individual patient or client in a written assignment, you must seek permission from your supervisor and you must ensure that you do not in any way identify the patient or client or healthcare facility.
  • Do familiarise yourself with the local policy or guidelines with regard to how the confidentiality of records is maintained within a particular health care facility. There are explicit guidelines on confidentiality outlined in the the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Midwives. It is also advisable that you refer to Recording Clinical Practice Professional Guidance to Nurses and Midwives.

Your attention is drawn to the provisions of Section 52 (1) of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 which states: ‘Nothing in sections 48 to 51 shall operate to prevent the Board from refusing to register or restore the registration of a person on the grounds of the unfitness of the person to practise nursing or midwifery, including where the Board is of the view that the person is unfit based on a relevant finding of a disciplinary body, court or tribunal, whether in the State or in another jurisdiction.'

Nursing is both a physically and mentally challenging profession. In any event where the Board considers an application for registration pursuant to these sections of the Act it will consider any information relating to the professional conduct and/or fitness of an applicant to engage in nursing practice. 

The Board may only consider such applications at the point of application for registration. Decisions pursuant to Section 48 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011, are not made at point of entry to a nursing registration education programme or at any time during the programme. 

The Board may also consider any prior convictions of an Applicant. 

In any such consideration, the Board will consider each case on an individual basis, and the Applicant will be invited to make written representation to the Board in the matter, will be invited to attend a Board meeting to make such representation, or may be represented at a Board meeting. Any Applicant subject to a decision by the Board to refuse registration pursuant to Section 52 (1) of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011, may apply to the Court for cancellation of this decision pursuant to Section 52 (3) of the Act.

Please contact NMBI in regard to any general queries that you may have in relation to these sections of the Act. 

Any personal queries in regard to these sections of the Act should be brought to the attention of your Nursing Registration Education Programme Director/Course Co-ordinator at your point of entry to the programme or at any time during your programme.

Standards and guidance

You are advised to familiarise yourself with the following NMBI standards and guidance during your programme:

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