Ireland's chief nurse promises bright future for intellectual disability nurses

Siobhan O'Halloran says Ireland is investing in its undergraduate nursing programmes

Siobhan O'Halloran says Ireland is investing in its undergraduate nursing programmes

There is no limit for what intellectual disability nurses in Ireland can achieve according to the country's chief nursing officer.

Watch: Dr Siobhan O'Halloran talks to Learning Disability Practice at Positive Choices 2018


Siobhan O'Halloran told the Positive Choices and Positive Commitment conference at Trinity College Dublin: 'There is a great and bright future for intellectual disability nurses in Ireland. We need them and we hope they will stay and we hope they will work with us to design services into the future.

'We have increased, gradually, the numbers of nurses in our undergraduate training over the last couple of years so we can assure ourselves that we will have a domestic supply of nurses in Ireland. We went through rather difficult times over the last number of years where we lived through a period of retrenchment. That's over. We are continuing to invest in our health services and most particularly we are continuing to invest in our nurses and doing everything we can to retain them here.'

Focus on specialist and advanced practice

Dr O'Halloran, herself an intellectual disability nurse, said changes in technology designed to help overcome challenges that people with intellectual disabilities – learning disabilities is the term used in the UK – will change practice greatly in the next ten years, and more specialist and advanced practice should be developed.

'I think the area that we need to focus on in particular, is in the area of specialist and advanced practice. We have developed that in general nursing and we have developed that in mental health nursing. We need to develop more in the area of ID nursing. Now to do that we need evidence and it's the evidence around the outcome and the impact that nurses have at that particular level. But we are committed to doing that.'

'Every day we come to understand the human condition better, so there is a huge amount of work to be done in putting in place the supports that are needed to enable people that are challenged in any way to live to the fullest of their potential.

'There is a rich and a bright future. There is no limit to what a nurse in intellectual disability nursing can achieve. I hope future chief nurses right across the world come from this particular branch of nursing because we do have a particular understanding of the human condition.'

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