Return to practice

returnIf you were a registered Nurse, Health Visitor or Midwife but have had a break, then you have valuable skills and experience and we would be happy to welcome you back and support your return to nursing.

We offer a return to practice programme which consists of a work placement and a theoretical course taught by either Plymouth University or the University of the West of England. Courses begin in October, January and May and the theoretical part of the training is usually completed over three months.

We also offer financial support for people returning to nursing, including a fixed term contract of 3 months for the duration of the placement, which includes payment for 100 clinical hours and a bursary payment which consists of two payments of £500 to support you with travel, books, childcare etc.

If you are a nurse who has recently retired or taken a career break and do not wish to participate in a formal return to work programme then you may be interested in learning how you can contribute to patient care on a part-time basis or as part of our flexible workforce.

Do I need a degree to return to practice?

You do not need a degree to undertake the programme. However as Nursing is now only studied at degree level, the NMC require the Return to Practice programme to be undertaken at level 6 (degree level). If you pass this course, you will receive 20 credits at degree level which can be used towards completion of a healthcare degree. You will be given support in identifying your study skills needs when you start the programme and face to face support will also be provided. Some materials and study skills packages are delivered through online learning resources, so some familiarity with using a computer is useful.

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?

The period of time for supervised clinical practice will be discussed and agreed with you at interview as this can depend upon the number of years that you have been out of clinical practice, what employment history you have, and whether you have been working as an assistant or support role within a health care environment before application. The following are recommended:

5-10 years out of practice, minimum practice hours required = 100 (maximum 200)
11-20 years out of practice, minimum practice hours required = 200 (maximum 300)
> 20 years out of practice, minimum practice hours required = 300 (maximum 400)

You will be expected to work a minimum of two shifts per week and there will be an ongoing assessment of your work during the placement. You will work with a Sign-Off Mentor for a minimum of 40% of your placement and will be given an extra hour per week to assess your progress whilst in placement.

Financial support for returnees

NDHT offers a Fixed Term Contract of 3 months for the duration of the placement, and you will be paid for 100 clinical hours whilst on placement in NDHT (this is not available in other Trusts).

You will also receive a bursary payment from HESW which consists of two payments of £500 to support travel, books etc. This is paid through Payroll.

What do I need to do before applying?

As your NMC registration will have lapsed, you will need to provide evidence that you have been on the NMC register and that your registration has lapsed. The quickest way to obtain 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 will also need to prepare for a numeracy test, you can practice for this by using SNAP, which is available on the Health Education South West Website

How to apply

If you have any queries regarding Return to Practice then please contact:

Simon Domoney, Clinical Tutor.
Tel: 01271 370238 or Email: