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Regulations and standards for nurses and midwives

Regulations and standards of care play an important role in nursing and midwifery.

As a practising nurse or midwife, regulations and standards:

  • outline your professional expectations
  • serve as a guide on protocols and procedures
  • provide a baseline for those with responsibility for providing care
  • promote accountability for the quality and safety of services provided
  • promote healthcare that is up to date, evidence-based, effective and consistent
  • provide a baseline for planning and measuring improvements
  • ensure that care provided is patient centred
  • promotes best possible outcomes and minimises exposure to risk of harm

Regulatory bodies

There are 3 primary regulatory bodies that produce and monitor standards of care relevant to nurses and midwives.

These include:

  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
  • Health Information and Quality Authority
  • Mental Health Commission

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

NMBI is an independent regulatory body for the professions of nursing and midwifery.

NMBI is responsible for:

  • education, registration and professional conduct of nurses and midwives
  • protection of the public
  • ensuring the integrity of nursing and midwifery practice

NMBI produce regulations and standards that reflect the core values of compassion, care and commitment.

Related topic

Standards and guidance - NMBI

Register of nurses and midwives (NMBI)

To safeguard the public, NMBI maintains a national Register of Nurses and Midwives.

All nurses and midwives who practice in Ireland must by law register on the Register of Nurses and Midwives.

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

HIQA is an independent authority responsible for:

  • promoting person-centred care for the benefit of the public
  • developing healthcare quality and safety standards
  • monitoring the safety and quality of health and personal social care services
  • regulating the quality of service provided in designated centres for children, dependent people and people with disabilities
  • driving continuous improvement in Ireland’s health and personal social care services
  • publishing reports with the results of monitoring inspections

People who work in designated centres for children, dependent people and people with disabilities are affected by the HIQA standards. HIQA conduct monitoring inspections to assess continuing compliance with the regulations and a range of standards.

Some standards and guidance documents provided by HIQA are:

The Mental Health Commission (MHC)

The MHC is an independent statutory body.

MHC is responsible for governing and promoting high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services.

MHC regulatory standards and codes of practice ensure that quality systems support best patient care and safety.

Some standards, frameworks and codes of practice provided by MHC are:

  • Quality Framework for Mental Health Services in Ireland
  • Code of Practice relating to Admission of Children under the Mental Health Act 2001 (2006)
  • Code of Practice on Admission, Transfer and Discharge to and from an Approved Centre 2009
  • Judgement Support Framework 2018

Page last reviewed: 24/06/2019
Next review due: 24/06/2022