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Frequently Asked Questions on Nursing Return to Practice

Do I need to retrain if I have been out of practice?

The amount of retraining you will need to undertake in order to return will depend upon whether you have maintained your registration. If you have been out of practice but have not allowed your registration to lapse, then you may be able to return without the need to complete a Return to Practice course. You will still need some support though to return but this can be provided locally in NHS organisations, in the form of an induction period and preceptorship. For further information please contact the HR department of your local organisation who will be able to advise you.


Will the course be funded?

Yes, currently within Yorkshire and the Humber, your course fees and DBS (formerly CRB) and Occupational Health fees will be funded. This may change over time due to funding constraints so it is always best to check this with your preferred University at the time you are applying for the programme.


Will additional financial support be available?

Currently, those returning to nursing will also receive a small bursary to help with childcare costs, travel, books etc. For further information regarding this you should discuss with the University. As the programme is part time, you may also find that you can complete it while still in other employment. This may change over time due to funding constraints so it is always best to check this with your preferred University at the time you are applying for the programme.


Will I be guaranteed a job once I have completed the programme?

There is no guarantee of a post on completion of the programme. However, many organisations are actively recruiting nurses currently so finding a post may not be an issue. For information regarding posts which may be available in your local area, you should access the NHS Jobs website 


I have retired and received an NHS pension but am interested in returning to practice part time. Is this possible?

All of the Return to Practice programmes in the region are part time programmes.

For more detailed information regarding returning to the NHS following retirement, you may find it useful to read this factsheet  or to contact NHS Pensions. Many organisations are willing to offer flexible employment including part time hours to potential returning nurses. This should be discussed with your potential employers.


Will I be able to work flexibly if I return?

Many organisations are willing to offer flexible working for nurses including part time hours. This should be discussed with your potential employers.


Is there anything I can do to prepare for the Return to Practice programme?

There are lots of things you can do to prepare yourself for the Return to Practice programme. These will help you during the application process as well as during the course and throughout your future career, including:

  • Refresh your numeracy skills
  • Explore recent key healthcare documents and policies
  • Attend open days and careers events at local Universities / organisations
  • Talk to other healthcare professionals about recent changes in the NHS


How long will the course be?

This will vary between universities and may be affected by the length of time you have been since you were on the register. It is usually 4-6 months in total and will include both study time (in the university and self-directed) and time in practice supported by a mentor / supervisor.


How can I find out about the programmes which are running in Yorkshire and the Humber?

There are 4 universities which currently offer the programme within the region:

  • University of Bradford
  • University of Hull
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • University of York


I haven’t practiced as a nurse for quite a long time. Does this matter?

Some of the universities have a time limit for those out of practice, but there may be some flexibility so it is always worth contacting them to discuss your individual circumstances.


I completed my nurse training outside the UK. Can I apply for the Return to Practice Programme?

If you moved to the UK and were on the NMC register but your registration has now lapsed, you can apply for the Return to Practice Programme. However if you have not ever been registered with the NMC but your registration has lapsed in another country, you will not be able to complete the Return to Practice programme here. To discuss your individual circumstances you should contact the NMC  for further advice.


What support will I get during the programme?

At the university you will be offered support with your academic work from the module tutor and will also be allocated a personal tutor for any other support you may require during the programme. In your practice placement area you will be allocated an experienced practitioner to support you as your mentor during the programme.


What support will I get when I complete the programme and take up employment?

All organisations will have slightly different processes but all will offer induction for new staff members, along with a period of support, often in the form of preceptorship and / or clinical supervision. For further information regarding this you should discuss with your potential employers.


 I want to work in Primary Care. Will that be possible?

There are job opportunities in many different sectors including primary care. If you are interested in returning to primary care, you should discuss this with your University at the time of application.


I don't feel ready to return yet, how can I prepare myself?

It would depend upon why you don't feel ready.

If you feel you need to develop your study skills in order to prepare yourself for level 6 study, you might find it useful to access a 'Study Skills' course. Many Universities and Further Education Colleges will have courses you can access

If you feel you have been out of practice for a while and need to have a greater awareness of current healthcare, you might want to consider either volunteering within a healthcare environment, or working as a healthcare support worker role or similar before applying to Return to Practice. While this is not essential, many prospective students report that this can be very useful


I trained as an Enrolled nurse and am now considering returning, do I need to access a different programme?

No, the Return to Practice programme is for both Registered Nurses and Enrolled nurses. The only difference would be that on completion of the programme you would be re-registered on Part 2 rather than Part 1 of the NMC Register


Can I complete the programme whilst working full time in my current job?

The European Working Time Directive states that individuals should not work for more than 45 per week so working full time whilst undertaking the programme would be very difficult. You may want to consider either using holiday days, or taking some unpaid leave whilst you undertake the programme. You can discuss this with the Return to Practice course leader at the University of your choice.

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