Return to practice

If you were a registered nurse, health visitor or midwife but have had a break, we’ll support your return to nursing.

You have incredibly valuable experience and we’d be happy to help you refresh your skills, leaving you to get back to your career with confidence.

Our return to practice programme includes:

    • A work placement and a theoretical course, taught by the University of Plymouth. Courses begin in October and March and the theoretical part of the training is usually completed over three months.
    • Financial support, including a fixed-term contract of six months for the duration of the placement. This includes payment for 450 clinical hours (plus 60 hours annual leave) and a bursary payment, which consists of two payments of £500 to support you with travel, books, childcare etc. The cost of the university programme is also covered for you

Want to work more flexibly?

If you are a nurse who has recently retired or taken a career break and you don’t want to take part in a formal return to work programme, you might be interested in finding out about our flexible workforce.

Do I need a degree to return to practice?

You don’t need a degree to take part in the return to practice programme. However, because nursing is now studied only at degree level, the return to practice programme also has to be undertaken at degree level.

It’s worth noting that if you pass this course, you will receive 20 credits at degree level, which can be used towards completing a healthcare degree.

Don’t worry if you haven’t studied for a while. You’ll be given support to identify your study skills needs when you start the programme. Some materials and study skills packages are delivered through online learning resources, so you’ll need to be familiar with using a computer.

The content of the return to practice programme

The theoretical element of the programme is taught over six days, with additional learning days, such as tutorials and seminars. It covers the following topics:

  • Professional and ethical practices
  • Patient safety
  • Quality care
  • Reflective practice
  • Changing face of health care provision
  • Resilience and personal action planning
  • Study skills

How long will it take to complete?

You will be required to do 450 hours of supervised clinical practice.

You’ll be expected to work a minimum of two shifts (long days) per week in the acute setting and three shifts/days in the community setting. The hours worked will be discussed during your interview, along with your chosen location/area for your placement.

There will be an ongoing assessment of your work and you’ll be assigned to a Practice Assessor. You’ll also work with different Practice Supervisors, who will appraise your clinical skills and your progress while in placement.


What do I need to do before applying?

You’ll need to provide evidence that you have been on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register and that your registration has lapsed. The quickest way to get this information is to register with the NMC Online Service and print a copy of your lapsed registration status to bring to your interview.

You’ll also need to prepare for a numeracy test. You can practice for this by using SN@P Assessment & Education, an online numeracy and literacy education provider, specialising in clinical numeracy. Access to this is available on the Health Education South West Website 


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Last updated: March 23, 2022