The return to nursing practice programme

The return to practice programme is a combination of classroom and placement-based learning. 

The hours you spend on placement will vary and be negotiated with you, depending how long you have been off the NMC register.  

The whole programme can take three to 12 months to complete. The university you choose will be able to provide further information. 

NMC requirements and re-registration

If you were a registered nurse but have had a break, you will need to meet a number of requirements to re-register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), including completing a number of practice hours. If you have not completed the required number of practice hours you will have to complete an approved Return to Practice (RTP) programme before applying to re-join the register.

If your registration was removed by one of the NMC’s fitness to practise panels, you will have to apply for restoration to the register.

Throughout the programme you will develop a portfolio that demonstrates your skills. The portfolio will be sent to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to record the completion of your return to practice programme and your re-registration.

Courses available across the country

Led by supportive tutors, assessors and supervisors, there are approximately 30 courses available across the country, all created to refresh your nursing skills so that you’re ready to return to practice.

A proportion of your programme will be based at a university, with the tutors working with you to support your learning experience.

The remainder of the time will be spent on a clinical placement, where a mentor will work with you to record your competence in clinical skills.

There are also a number of universities running RTP programmes in general practice nursing in London, the North East, North West, South West and West Midlands regions of England.

In Thames Valley, Wessex, Sussex and Surrey there are currently no specific Return to general practice nursing courses. However, support networks are in place in these areas to enable students to go through a GP practice with general practice nursing support. You should contact the universities running the RTP nursing programmes to find out more.

Numeracy skills

If you are considering a return to practice course and are concerned about your numeracy skills, you can contact the course provider or employer to find out what assessment and support may be available.

Other routes back to practice

Another route back into nursing and midwifery is the NMC test of competence. Launched in January 2020, it involves an online test and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Like the return to practice course, this route is also funded by the NHS.

More information on the test of competence including information on how to apply is available on the NMC website.

  • If you have further questions, you can get in touch with your regional return to practice lead by email. 

    East of England 

    London

    Midlands

    North East and Yorkshire

    North West

    South East

    South West

  • Many NHS organisations will advertise their return to practice opportunities directly on NHS Jobs. A selection of current vacancies is below. 

    • View Vacancy

      Return to Practice Nurse

      Huddersfield, HD3 3EB

      • Salary:

        £19737.00 to £21142.00 a year

      • Type:

        Fixed term

      • Employer:

        Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

      • View Vacancy
    • View Vacancy

      Return to Practice Nurse - Band 3

      Southmead Hospital, Bristol, BS10 5NB

      • Salary:

        £19,737 - £21,142 per annum

      • Type:

        Fixed term

      • Employer:

        North Bristol NHS Trust

      • View Vacancy
    • View Vacancy

      Return to Practice Nurse - Bristol

      Bristol, BS1

      • Salary:

        See advert

      • Type:

        Fixed term

      • Employer:

        Sirona care and health CIC

      • View Vacancy
    • View Vacancy

      Band 5 Return to Practice Nurse - Trust Wide

      Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, Various locations, BA1 3QE

      • Salary:

        £0 Rtp Bursary

      • Type:

        Honorary

      • Employer:

        Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

      • View Vacancy
    • View Vacancy

      Return to Practice Nurse - Royal Free and Barnet Hospital

      Royal Free Hospital / Barnet Hospital, Barnet or Hampstead, NW3 2QG

      • Salary:

        £23,521 - £36,738 per annum inclusive of HCAS

      • Type:

        Permanent

      • Employer:

        Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

      • View Vacancy
Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve