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NMBI’s role and key functions

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), formerly called An Bord Altranais, has two main objectives:

  • To protect the public.
  • To ensure the integrity of nursing and midwifery practices.

NMBI is the statutory body which sets the standards for the education, registration and professional conduct of nurses and midwives. We advise on how nurses and midwives should provide care to patients, their families and society.

Our functions in safeguarding the public involve establishing and maintaining the Register of Nurses and Midwives. We also establish procedures and criteria for assessment and registration. Additionally, we approve education programmes and further education programmes for the purposes.

NMBI also sets standards of practice and provides support for registered nurses and midwives. This includes developing, publishing and reviewing:

  • A code of professional conduct and ethics.
  • Guidance on all aspects of professional conduct. 
  • Guidance on maintaining professional competence.

Through our fitness to practise functions, NMBI is responsible for considering complaints against nurses and midwives.

Standards and guidance

NMBI provides guidance to nurses and midwives on achieving and exceeding high standards of practice.
The Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives (the Code) is the overarching structure that informs the Board’s framework of professional guidance to registered nurses and midwives.

Professional accountability, competency and the quality of professional practice are based on this structure together with other supporting guidance and standards frameworks. For more details, visit the Code section of the website.

Key among these frameworks is the Scope of Nursing and Midwifery Practice. It represents the range of roles, functions, responsibilities and professional activities a registered nurse or midwife has the authority to perform. In Ireland, the scope of practice for nurses and midwives is determined by legislation, EU Directives, international developments, social policy, national and local guidelines, education and individual levels of competence. Read or download the Scope document.

NMBI publishes rules, other standards, guidelines and advice for nurses and midwives to help them comply with the Code and to support them in their scope of practice and professional responsibilities. You can access this content in the Standards & Guidance section of the website. NMBI also has responsibility for accreditation of nursing and midwifery education programmes at Ireland’s Higher Level institutions. Standards and requirements for these programmes are available in the Education section of the website.

NMBI’s function

NMBI is the body where the public may make a complaint about a nurse or midwife and takes action when it is believed a nurse or midwife may be putting the safety of a patient at risk.

More specifically, the primary functions of NMBI, as set out in the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 are to:

  • Establish procedures and criteria for the assessment and registration of nurses and midwives.
  • Act as the competent authority for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications of nurses and midwives awarded in or recognised by European Union (EU) member states.
  • Specify standards of practice for registered nurses and midwives; including the establishment, publication, maintenance and review of appropriate guidance on all matters related to professional conduct and ethics for registered nurses and registered midwives; appropriate guidance on the maintenance of the professional competence of registered nurses and registered midwives; and a code of professional conduct for registered nurses and registered midwives.
  • Specify criteria for specialist nursing and midwifery posts.
  • Establish committees to inquire into complaints.
  • Make decisions and give directions relating to the imposition of sanctions on registered nurses and registered midwives.

NMBI is also responsible for the provision of information on careers in nursing and midwifery.

Board composition

The Board of NMBI comprises 23 members, eight of whom are registered nurses and midwives. The majority of Board members are not nurses or midwives. For more information on our current Board, visit the Board members page.

NMBI’s key stakeholders include the public, nurses and midwives, patient representative groups, employers of nurses and midwives, higher education providers, health care organisations, the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health, the Government, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the representative bodies of nurses and midwives and other regulators.

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