Practice nursing career pathway and role development

All practice nurses must be registered general nurses. There is no mandatory education or training to become a practice nurse.

Ideally, practice nurses should have at least 2 years post-registration general nursing experience. However, 4 to 5 years post-graduate experience is more desirable. This enables nurses to develop their competencies in a broader clinical background.

A new practice nurse may not have all the skills for primary care initially. They can develop their skills through ongoing education and training.

Practice populations and healthcare needs vary between practices.

Practice nursing posts are often advertised locally by GPs.

Department of Health Circular 5-89 (PDF, 2 pages, 23KB)

Further education

Practice nurses may undertake further education. For example, education on:

  • respiratory management
  • diabetes management
  • cardiovascular disease management
  • women's health
  • cancer screening
  • immunisation

Maternity services

A practice nurse providing maternity services must be a competent registered midwife.

General practitioners hold the Maternal and Infant Care Scheme contract. This provides free maternity services in general practice to all pregnant women.

This care may be provided by the practice nurse if they:

  • are a registered midwife (RM)
  • have appropriate clinical indemnity

Related topics

Practice Standards for Midwives, NMBI (PDF, 331KB, 28 pages)

National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 (PDF, 9.93MB, 133 pages)

National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services, HIQA (PDF, 4.39MB, 188 pages)