New role to strengthen neonatal unit    

New role to strengthen neonatal unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick  

University Maternity Hospital Limerick

SERVICES at University Maternity Hospital Limerick have been strengthened with the appointment of the hospital’s first Neonatal Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner (RANP), Irene Beirne.

RANPs are the highest level of clinical experts in the nursing profession in Ireland, and Irene, who has worked at University Maternity Hospital Limerick since 2001, now plays a more crucial role than ever in the care and management of premature and complex births in the hospital’s Neonatal Unit.

Irene completed a Master’s degree in Nursing and Midwifery at University of Limerick, and developed the necessary high-level, complex clinical skills during a minimum of 500 hours’ supervision by a consultant neonatologist.

Irene explains: “Advanced nurse practitioners are independent, autonomous, highly skilled nurses in their respective areas.

From a neonatal point of view, I am qualified and have authority to perform a full episode of care, from admission to discharge. 

“I can admit an infant to the neonatal unit. I can diagnose, order diagnostic tests, interpret those tests, and make decisions on diagnosis. I can prescribe, and implement a plan of care, and reassess that plan of care from day to day, and then, finally, discharge the infant. I work very closely with the Consultant Neonatologists, who provide clinical supervision and also work within the multidisciplinary team.”

Neonatal RANPs are unique even among advanced nurse practitioners, which Irene explains is “due to the range of complex procedures for infants admitted to neonatal care.”

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