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Congratulations on choosing the exciting career of mental health or intellectual disability nursing.  You have embarked on a journey that will be both exciting and rewarding.  However you may encounter many difficulties and problems on this journey and that is when you may need the extensive services and expertise that membership of the PNA provides.  The PNA endeavours to provide a highly professional and comprehensive Industrial Relations package as well as a myriad of other benefits to its members.

Workplace Representation.

Many nurses get through their working week without experiencing any major workplace difficulties.  But inevitably problems can and do occur.  It can be something simple like clarifying your entitlement to an allowance or your right to special leave.  It may be something much more serious, such as threat of dismissal or referral to the Fitness to Practice Committee of An Bord Altranais. Unfortunately, it maybe that you are subject to some form of harassment or bullying.  It could be a personal problem on which you need some advice.

Whatever the problem your local PNA representative can give you solid advice and make representations in a tactful manner on your behalf if that is your wish.  If it is a serious issue the local representative will seek advice and guidance from our national representatives.  All our local and regional representatives are qualified working nurses.  Indeed our National Full-time Representatives also started out like you are now, Student Nurses.  We firmly believe the best people to represent nurses are nurses!

Thankfully most issues are resolved at local level.  But on occasions it may be necessary to take your case to a regional or even a national level.  The PNA has a long and proud history of representing its members individually, collectively or on behalf of specialist groups, before various tribunals, at all levels of the Labour Relations Process and in exceptional circumstances in the highest legal courts in the land.

Why Should I Join the PNA?

  • As The Major Independent registered Trade Union for nurses working in Mental Health, Intellectual Disability and other Specialist Services, we aim to enhance the standing of nursing.  A chief aim of ours is protecting the student nurse.  In this respect we have defended Students at all educational and Practice fora.

  • The PNA represents over 6000 other nurses in the areas in which you work!

  • Union Leadership including full time officials are all qualified nurses.

  • It is a member led and member driven union.

  • Ideally placed to guide on issues of professional practice and development.

  • Legal advice and full legal service available.

  • Proven track record in industrial relations.

  • Membership is free for students.

  • Whether it’s Nurse Education, Health Legislation, Pay or Conditions, the PNA lobbies and campaigns tirelessly for you – The Future of Nursing.

PNA – Quiet simply the voice of specialist nursing.

Structure of the PNA.

  • Every member, including student nurses, belongs to a Branch in the region in which they work.

  • The Members of a Branch elect Branch Officers and a Branch Committee at their annual general meeting, to manage the union locally.

  • Each Branch has 2 Representatives on the National Executive.

  • All policy is decided by the National Executive between our Annual Delegate conferences.

  • The union is managed nationally by the Officer Board, which has representatives from every Health Service Executive area, who are elected at the Annual Delegate Conference.

  • A Full-time professional staff based at Head-Office services the members.


  • The PNA has fiercely maintained its independent status and is recognised and consulted as an authoritative body on all matters germane to mental health and other specialist areas.

  • The PNA negotiates with Dept. of Health, Dept of Environment, H.S.E., Public/Voluntary Hospital Boards, Private Hospitals, An Bord Altranais, Health and Safety Authority etc.

  • The PNA holds all FOUR positions reserved for Psychiatric nurses on An Bord Altranais.

  • The General Secretary is President of HORATIO, The Pan-European collective of Mental Health Nurse Organisations.

  • The PNA sit on the Health Services National Partnership Forum; The Mental Health Commission; The Implementation Group for Vision for Change etc.

  • The Union represents its members in both local and national media.

Additional Benefits.

As a member of the PNA you are entitled to avail of a range of fringe benefits.

- Salary Protection Scheme - Life Assurance Scheme - AVC Scheme - PNA Credit Card - Preferential Banking Facilities – Car/House Insurance Discounts – Substantial Strike Fund – Holiday/Travel Discount – Benevolent Schemes – Gaeltacht Scholarship awards – Legal Representation at fitness to Practice Inquiry – Entitled to Attend Seminars/Conferences on Professional and Industrial Relations issues – “Journal of Psychiatric Nursing” Free to all members – Industrial Relations training programmes run by the Union. -

So you’re a student nurse then……

All aspects of your training relating to being able to register when you qualify are governed by An Bord Altranais, The Nursing Board of Ireland. ( This body controls the Registration, Training and Fitness to Practice of all nurses in the Republic Of Ireland.  As a student nurse you are on the `candidate register`. You should be provided with a student nurse card and I.D. number. Post qualification unless you are registered with An Bord Altranais, including the payment of the yearly registration fee, you cannot work as a nurse in Ireland.

However due to the nature of student nurse training your working life is also governed by The University or Institute in which you’re learning. These centres’s have systems in place to safeguard student welfare as well as services such as medical care and information and access to counselling.  Although you may feel that you may not need these services at present it pays to familiarise yourself with these services.  In the future you or a classmate may need assistance.

Dept. of Health and Children - Student Nurse Entitlements.

Students receive a once-off payment of  €203 in the first year of the programme towards the cost of your uniform.  The hospital/health agency is responsible for payment.  They can however give you your uniforms in lieu of payment.

External Clinical Payment.
A student on the nursing degree programme may be entitled to receive an accommodation allowance where it is necessary for the student to find alternative accommodation for the duration of the placement.  The current rate of the allowance is €50.79 but hopefully this will be increased shortly.  You are also entitled to a refund of the cost of travelling to and from placement site.  Where student tickets are available, students will be reimbursed at this rate.  The Hospital/health agencies are responsible for payment.

Students will receive a salary for the continual rostered clinical placement (1yr).  During that period the student is paid 80% of the first point of the staff nurse pay scale.  Students will receive incremental credit for the rostered placement.  This means that when you qualify and register and then commence employment in the health service your pay starts on the second point of the incremental scale.  You will receive ‘Premium Pay’ when you work night-duty or weekends or Bank Holidays.  Your PRSI class while on Rostered Clinical placement is Class 1.

You are entered into your Employers existing superannuation scheme when on paid clinical placement.

Annual Leave.
Students are entitled to 4 weeks Annual Leave. (20 x 7.8 hour days.)

Sick Leave.
Students may be granted up to 12 weeks’ sick pay.  But to ensure that you meet the mandatory requirement of registration outstanding clinical hours must be completed.  These outstanding clinical hours to meet the mandatory requirement will be paid.

Maternity Leave.
Students that are pregnant during the course of paid rostered clinical placement may avail of maternity leave. (REF: Maternity Protection Acts 1994/2004.)  The student must meet the mandatory requirement when maternity leave is completed.

PNA Membership

  • As a member of the PNA you have access to the National Officers of the Union through your local Branch.  Take time when you first go on Clinical Placement to get to know your local union activists.  They have a wealth of knowledge that you can benefit from.

  • Also it’s worth noting that the PNA runs training courses annually for future activists and these are great fun as well as being empowering for front-line staff.

  • One of our full time officers, Ms Aisling Culhane is employed as our Research and Development Advisor.  Aisling is available in head-office to assist with any queries you may have.

How do I join?

Join Online by clicking here...

or fill in this form and return it to your local branch officer or post to HQ.

This form is for STUDENT Membership

If you require FULL Membership please CLICK HERE...