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Nursing Education Comparison: Ireland and Poland


In this paper, the author compares the nursing education in Ireland and Poland. The particular interest of these two European countries was caused by the certainties that are inherent in these countries. Before reading about the history and current educational system, the expectations of the nursing education systems in these countries were set rather high for the reason that both Ireland and Poland are developed countries with a good budget, and their governments should provide grants and learning programs for the medical workers where necessary. The latter assumption is based on the importance of the medical profession and the current state of the economy in Ireland and Poland.

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Political History and Development of Nursing Education


After Poland’s transition to a market economy, it has become increasingly difficult for Polish nurses to attain and maintain a desirable standard of living (Immigration, Belonging, and the Politics of Difference, 2008). Nursing education in Poland is developing slowly but steadily in response to changing social needs and emerging healthcare issues.


Nursing in Ireland is presently a witness to the momentous educational restructuring, connecting to the institutions of higher education. The reorganization is going to change accreditation provisions, changing organizational structures, together with the changing shape and content of nursing curricula. The route and goals of nursing practice are dependent on the nursing curriculum change. Curriculum development in Ireland has moved from supporting basic levels of structured training towards an approach, which seems to favor educationally led programs and experiences.

Comparison of the two countries

Both Poland and Ireland are going through the process of constant development. Health administrations undergo the organizational structure changes, and efforts are made in order to bring up skillful and knowledgeable nurses.

Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education


Polish nurses’ representatives can be found at almost all levels of the healthcare organization. These representatives were capable of reaching verdicts on countless issues associated with health care. However, their most important contribution was establishing the conditions for better nursing, increasing the number of nursing positions, establishing standards, supporting the efforts of local nurse managers, and gaining support from decision-makers to introduce changes in nurse education.


At the end of the 20th century, nurses in Ireland became more diplomatically conscious. They turned to their trade unions when facing a number of topics, as well as education. The main subject for nurses was their proposal to increase both their wage and qualification status to an extent that they thought was proportionate with their experience and the stresses put on them by the essence of their labor. The government was mixed up in numerous hearings studying the materials involving the public finances (O’Dwyer, 2007).

Comparison of the two countries

Polish nurses placed their bet on their own representatives, but Irish nurses were closely related to the trade unions. Nurses from both countries participated in strikes with the intention of pursuing justice concerning salary and professional status.

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Current System of Nursing Education


Nurse education is basically a five-year nursing secondary school following 7 or 8 years of primary school. The diploma graduates of these lyceums and the pre-existing 2 and 2.5-year schools were qualified to enter university studies. During the 1970s university-based nursing programs were introduced for the first time in Poland (Sztembis, 2006).


Today, nursing students are exposed to the same privileges as other university students. The prospectus of the study suggests an equilibrium of theory and clinical training for the first three years of the four years. The last year is spent in the health facilities. This academic model provides a comprehensive and wide-ranging education that can be consolidated at the master’s level.

Comparison of the two countries

The current education systems in Poland and Ireland are slightly different: five-year against the four-year school. Hospital-based schools and combined nursing education programs are available in Poland. Both nursing education systems have moved into the University setting and offer post-graduate education.

Post-Graduate (Masters) Education


Post-graduate education of nurses teaches nurses specific skills to improve their competencies and re-qualify as community health nurses. Two years of experience in this field confirmed that the model of post-graduate education is compatible with the activities needed to provide high-quality nursing services.


While Ireland is among the last countries to move to an all-graduate nurse workforce, it has the benefit of learning how other countries managed to prepare their graduates to practice efficiently as nurses (Lahtinen, Leino-Kilpi, & Salminen, 2014).

Comparison of the two countries

Both Ireland and Poland offer decent postgraduate programs for newly graduated nurses who want to practice their skills and gain knowledge.

Conclusion: Reflections on Nursing Education

During the research, it was rather interesting to learn the facts that were specific for both the nursing education systems. Unfortunately, the history of nursing education in Poland seems to be a fly in the ointment, but the government is on its way to fixing the existing issues. Compared to the United States nursing education system, Irish and Polish systems are not so proficient, but they are still able to provide quality education consistently and their graduates are well-educated and skilled.

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Immigration, Belonging, and the Politics of Difference: Working Conditions of Polish Nurses in Norway. (2008). Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.

Lahtinen, P., Leino-Kilpi, H., & Salminen, L. (2014). Nursing Education in the European Higher Education Area — Variations in Implementation. Nurse Education Today, 34(6), 1040-1047. Web.

O’Dwyer, P. (2007). The educational preparation of nurses in Ireland. Nursing Education Perspectives, 28(3), 136-139.

Sztembis, B. (2006). The past, present, and future of nurse education in Poland: Stages, conditions, and activities. International Nursing Review, 53(2), 102-109.

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