Student experiences of returning to practice

Ann Macfadyen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Following the mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Enquiry (2013), it was recognised that there was a need to increase numbers of nurses nationally (Health Education England, 2014).
Return to Practice programmes are the main route for lapsed registered nurses, who have not maintained the required numbers of hours in practice or undertaken continuous professional development, to return to the NMC register. These courses have low attrition rates and are a more cost effective way of increasing the nursing workforce rather than the 3 year pre-registration programme (HEE, 2014). Following a scoping exercise of Return to Practice programmes in 2014, a national ‘Toolkit’ was developed to inform further development of Return to Practice programmes.
The Return to Practice programme has been delivered by one University in the north of England since 1987, and is currently funded by Health Education England. The recruitment for, and delivery of the programme involves close working arrangements between the University and its partner trusts. Unlike many other institutions, there is no limit as to the amount of time applicants for this programme have been off the NMC register, and over the last five years, more than half of the students commencing the programme have been out of practice for over 10 years.
While this group of students have particular educational needs and, although most have not studied at University previously, they have a wealth of life experiences. Many have drawn upon their nursing skills throughout their careers, albeit away from nursing.
The experiences of Return to Practice students who are now working as registered nurses after many years out of practice and the strategies which have been developed to recruit and support them in facilitating their smooth return will be outlined during this session.


ConferenceRCN Education Conference International Conference & Exhibition 2016: partners in practice – the global perspective
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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