Applying to nursing courses
Despite the many challenges that a career in nursing has, nursing courses still rank among the most sought-after categories in the CAO system.
Some are surprised that the largest category of CAO courses by a long shot is Arts, with many thousands of applicants competing for several thousand places.
And 5,598 applicants listed one of the five nursing degree courses as their first preference.
Q What are the different types of nursing degree courses?
A There are five distinct types; General Nursing, Children's and General Nursing (Integrated), Intellectual Disability Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, and Midwifery.
Nursing is unique among the CAO's list of courses in that every one of the nursing programmes in the handbook shows two entry codes -- one for standard applicants and one for mature applicants.
A quota of places is held for mature applicants in each course, usually ranging from 15% for general nursing to 35% for intellectual disability and psychiatric nursing.
If a student wishes to be considered for one of the quota of places allocated for mature applicants, he or she enters the appropriate mature applicant course code for nursing or midwifery.
Mature applicants are required to sit a written assessment test through the Nursing Careers Centre (NCC), and as all applicants know, the 2011 test takes place this coming Saturday, April 9. Results will be posted online in early May.
Q If you pass the written assessment, are you guaranteed a place?
A No, success at the NCC written assessment does not guarantee an offer of a place, but it does guarantee that the applicant will be eligible for consideration for a place depending on their ranking on the list and the number of places available -- just as candidates who are eligible on the basis of their Leaving Certificate results are listed in order of their points, and the available places are offered in order of merit.
Q Which are the most competitive nursing courses?
A The highest points are usually required for Children's and General Nursing, both for mature applicants and standard applicants.
Midwifery and General Nursing come next.
There is usually slightly less competition for Psychiatric Nursing or Intellectual Disability Nursing, perhaps because applicants have a less clear picture of what these categories of nursing involve.
Psychiatric nurses work with people who are diagnosed with psychiatric or mental health issues, and one of their primary objectives is to facilitate the maximum development of the mental health of these patients. See www.nursingcareerscentre.ie for more.
Upcoming open days: l Kildalton Agricultural and Horticultural College, Piltown, Co Kilkenny; Friday April 8, 10.30-1 pm. l DIT College of Engineering & Built Environment, Kevin Street, on Electrical and Electronic Engineering Saturday, April 9, 9.30am-1pm. l TCD Nursing School, open evening on psychiatric and intellectual disability nursing, Tuesday April 12, 5.50-7pm.