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Returning to practice: frequently asked questions

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Health Education England have answered some of the most frequently asked questions on returning to nursing practice

Why should I consider returning now?

In September 2014, a commitment to recruit more nurses and provide more training was announced.
You already have the skills and experience that can make a big difference to patients, clients, carers and their families. The refreshed RTP programmes will support you, particularly financially in regaining your registration.

Do I need to re-train?

The amount of retraining you need depends on whether you have retained your registration as a nurse. If you have, then people locally in trusts can work with you on an induction back to nursing. If you need to re-join the register, you can join one of the return to practice courses being run across the country.

Will the courses be funded?

Yes. You won’t have to pay any course fees as a returner.

Will additional financial support be available?

Additional financial support towards travel, childcare and book costs etc will be available. Each local education and training board (LETB) will have more information on financial support available to you.

Will the return to practice programme lead directly in to a job once I complete it?

Many places now offer an RTP placement that leads on to a permanent position, but it is entirely dependent on each organisation. Your local LETB will have further information on the opportunities available in your area.

I have retired and received an NHS pension but I am interested in returning part time - is this possible?

Part-time return to practice courses will be available. In respect of employment, we recommend reading this factsheet on the NHS pensions website. With support from your local LETB, and following successful completion of the return to practice course, you can search for employment that meets your requirements.

Will I be able to work flexibly if I return?

Flexible working for nurses is an option and we suggest you discuss this with your local LETB when applying for a course and subsequent employment on an individual basis.

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

Universities are able to offer a reading list of key documents that you might be interested in studying to help you update your knowledge of current policy. Local trusts and universities will offer open days so that you can visit and look around.

How long will the courses be?

The courses will be approximately three months to complete, although some people may take longer dependent on clinical placement hours required and the length of time out of practice and length of time previously in practice. The courses will also be flexible to fit around existing commitments, such as childcare.

How do I find out about what courses are running in my area?

Visit the Apply Now page to find out more about the courses available in your area and the contact details of the best people to speak to. Visit the page now and choose the area you would like to study and work in.

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

The return to practice course is open to all, regardless of how long you have been out of practice, and will update you on any new developments in nursing. You will have support and mentoring throughout the course.

I am a nurse outside of England. Does this apply to me?

The funding is available for nurses who currently reside and work in England. Nurses from outside England, such as Wales for example, are welcome to apply for the programme, but there would be no funding available for them.

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