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University to launch new return to practice course

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A new course designed to attract former nurses back into the profession is being launched at Sheffield Hallam University in the wake of the current staff shortages.

The part-time course will prepare former nurses who have been off the register for no more than 10 years to rejoin the frontline.

The course has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and is being run in conjunction with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.

“We are really keen to help practitioners refresh their knowledge and skills and welcome them back into nursing”

Linda Crofts

There are 20 places on the four-month course, which starts in February 2015. If successful, the course will be rolled out to other trust areas. 

Return to practice schemes are a key plank of Health Education England’s plans to plug significant shortfalls in the nursing workforce, which latest evidence suggests is in excess of 12,500 whole-time equivalent posts.

As reported earlier this month by Nursing Times, initial research by the new education and training body found a mixed picture − with potential for the idea, but also vast inconsistency in existing courses and support for people who embark on them.

Joanne Benn, deputy head of nursing and midwifery at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We are aware of the challenges employers face when it comes to planning and sustaining the supply and demand of the future nursing workforce at a time of financial constraint, which is why we are introducing this new course.

“Nursing can be one of the most rewarding professions but because of the challenges the healthcare sector is facing at the moment, former registered nurses or health visitors may not have the confidence to go back into the service,” she said.

“This new course is about tackling those reservations and giving nurses the support they need to renew their registrations,” she added.

Linda Crofts, head of learning and development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Qualified nurses take career breaks for many reasons and we are really keen to help practitioners refresh their knowledge and skills and welcome them back into nursing.”

Two open days are being held at the Northern General Hospital on 5 June and 15 July, from 10am to 2pm. More information is also available from the university’s website.


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