Skip to main content


Celebrating a quarter of a century of nursing and midwifery

27 Nov 2019

Nearly 5,000 nurses and midwives have qualified from the School of Nursing and Midwifery over its 25 years history at University College Cork (UCC), and to celebrate the school reaching a quarter of a century in operation this year, a public exhibition which documents the changes to nursing and medical care opens in UCC.

In 1994, when the School of Nursing and Midwifery at UCC opened its doors, nurses and midwives were recruited and trained in an apprenticeship model by individual training hospitals. They were part of the hospital workforce for the duration of their training and if jobs were not available on completion, they sought employment abroad for a number of years, like thousands of Irish nurses and midwives in the generations before them. 

“The move to all graduate nursing and midwifery professions was transformative” commented Professor Josephine Hegarty.

“This move was seen as necessary from a healthcare and professional perspective in the face of the changing complexity of healthcare but not universally welcomed by the general public. The evidence that having a graduate workforce leads to better healthcare outcomes and reduced patient mortality is compelling reaffirming the link between nursing and midwifery education and the quality of health service provision.”

To help illustrate the history of the school and the wider evolution of healthcare in the Cork region, UCC is hosting three interconnected events.  A public exhibition at Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork opens from today, 26 November 2019, to 12 December 2019 and will feature photographs, artefacts, nurses’ uniforms and equipment which illustrate how education, nursing, midwifery and health care more broadly have evolved over the last half a century.

In addition to the public exhibition, a book titled “25 Years Origins to 2019: Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC” is being launched on 27 November 2019 and the School is hosting a major international conference on 28 November 2019. These events will mark a milestone in one of Ireland’s leading schools for the education of nurses and midwives.

Irish nursing and midwifery has been transformed in recent years with the development of Schools of Nursing and Midwifery within Higher Education Institutions. Key milestones on that journey have been the change to an all graduate profession, increasing number of graduates taking higher degrees, new roles and responsibilities for nurses and midwives in particular the development of advanced practice roles. Over the last 25 years the UCC School of Nursing and Midwifery has attained over 6.5 million euro in research funding; helped generate new knowledge which has been disseminated in over 1,500 research publications; graduated more than 50 doctoral students; and impacted national health and social care policy.

For more on this story contact:

Professor Josephine Hegarty (Head of School) is available for interview: 087-4177062;

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF