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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

From the community handywomen to frontline heroes: Charting a century of Irish nursing and midwifery regulation

Murphy, Denis, Gilligan, Kim and Watson, Derek (2021) From the community handywomen to frontline heroes: Charting a century of Irish nursing and midwifery regulation. Journal of the Institute of Public Administration of Ireland, 69 (3). pp. 19-43. ISSN 2449-9471

Item Type: Article


This paper argues that professional regulatory frameworks are shaped by sociocultural factors and prevailing ideologies that stem from society’s interactions with and expectations of the regulated professions. Taking a century of Irish nursing and midwifery regulation as a case reflection, the paper highlights five regulatory pivot points to provide a historical narrative of how adopting a sociocultural perspective can enlighten our understanding of the current regulatory form. A form that in early twenty-first-century Ireland resulted in the establishment of a professionally contentious, non-professional (lay) majority on the regulatory board for these frontline professions. The paper concludes by suggesting that when viewed through a sociocultural lens, regulatory change is to be expected. As prevailing ideologies change, power, influence and cultures alter to support and reinforce the new ideology. Professional regulation thereby becomes reflective of society’s views on professionalism and professional identity, drawing on society’s historical experiences of the professions.

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More Information

Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional regulation, nursing and midwifery, Ireland, sociocultural perspective, ideology
Depositing User: Derek Watson


Item ID: 13872
ISSN: 2449-9471
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Derek Watson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2021 10:53
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 10:53


Author: Derek Watson ORCID iD
Author: Denis Murphy
Author: Kim Gilligan

University Divisions

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism > School of Business


Business and Management > Business and Management
Business and Management > Management (general)
Business and Management

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