Royal Trinity Hospice in London has highlighted the success of a scheme supporting nurses to return to the profession “at a gentler pace” after a career break.
Since joining the return to practice programme two years ago, the hospice has supported eight nurses. Of these, six have chosen to stay at the hospice in permanent nursing roles, alleviating a nursing shortage there.
“I hope more hospices consider return to practice nurses as part of their recruitment strategy”
The return to practice programme is run in partnership with Kingston University and St George’s University of London.
Those on the programme must complete theory and skills based sessions, a two stage assessment and a minimum of 150 hours of clinical practice over three months.
The hospice said nurses benefited from its flexible working policy, support from senior nursing staff, and an opportunity to learn at a gentler pace than in a hospital setting.
Participation in the initiative had helped Trinity recruit more skilled and experienced nurses during a period of national nursing shortage, it noted.
Helen King, clinical educator at Trinity, said: “Return to practice nurses bring fantastic communication skills, experience and networks from other healthcare settings and invaluable life experience which is so important when caring for people at the end of life.
“As a former return to practice nurse myself, it’s been so rewarding to support these new recruits to grow in confidence and competency,” she said. “I hope more hospices consider return to practice nurses as part of their recruitment strategy.”
Hospice hails success of nurse return to practice scheme
One of those who has completed the programme is Anne Smith, 56, a staff nurse at Trinity. She said: “I was out of nursing for 32 years. I left when I had children; nursing wasn’t as flexible back then.
“But when my daughter decided to train as a nurse, I saw her enjoyment and realised how much I missed it,” she said. “I thought I might be too old, but I am quite comfortable, even though I have a lot to learn.
She added: “So much has changed, like the medicines and technology, but I feel happy to ask for help. On the second day of my placement I thought, ‘I want to work here. I love it’ and I still do.”
Trinity describes itself as the only dedicated end-of-life care provider for 750,000 people living in central and south west London. Last year, it cared for 1,500 people in their own homes and through its inpatient and outpatient services in Clapham.