Appointed to Higher Education Expert Advisory Panel

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Sheila McClelland, CEO of The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland has been appointed to a new Expert Advisory Panel set up by the Higher Education Panel to review opportunities for new nursing education programmes.

She has joined the panel which will review opportunities in the higher education sector to contribute to addressing national skills needs in dentistry, pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and veterinary. She will be as representative of the professional and regulatory body responsible for nursing.

The panel is comprised of representatives from Government departments and regulatory and professional bodies that have direct professional experience and or academic expertise in the relevant disciplines, or knowledge of the higher education system at a senior level.

Following the panel’s recommendations, the Higher Education Authority will consider opportunities for new programme provision alongside options for programme expansion to determine a final list of options to present to Government this month.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) has published new educational standards and requirements to regulate the practice of Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scanning by nurses. This marks the first education standards published by a regulator in Ireland in this area of practise.

DXA is a modern technology which combines X-rays, a computer and software which provides quantitative and qualitative assessment of body tissues. Nurses in Ireland can undertake the practical aspects of DXA scanning if they have completed the education programme. The programme will address safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to medical ionising radiation.

As a professional regulator, NMBI is responsible for setting standards for the education and training of nurses and midwives, to ensure the protection of the public and the integrity of the professions. NMBI developed these standards following the transposition of a European directive which requires new education standards to ensure public and staff safety when nurses perform bone density scans using ionising radiation (X-ray).

The new requirements aim to ensure a standardised approach to DXA education programmes and to ensure that nurses are competent to administer a DXA scan to adult service users in a healthcare setting following completion of the education programme. The standards set out the key aims of ensuring nursing practice in this area is safe, compassionate, professional and accountable.