Return to health visiting - FAQS

Why should I consider returning now?

A recent Government-led commitment to recruiting more health visitors has provided more training opportunities. You have the skills and experience that can make a big difference to children and families. The enhancement of the health visitor role and increase in numbers of health visitors will make it easier to perform the job you were trained for.

Do I need to retrain?

The amount of retraining you will need depends on whether you have retained your registration as a health visitor. You can find further information on returning to the register on the NMC website. If you have, you can get support from your local NHS Trust with 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 in most cases you won’t have to pay course fees. In addition Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, occupational health clearance and uniform costs may also be paid for you.

Will bursaries be available?

Yes, in many cases bursaries are available, or you receive a contribution towards travel, childcare and books. Information about bursaries can be found from your local Health Education England (HEE) office.

Will the course lead directly to a job?

Not necessarily. In most cases after successfully completing the course you will need to apply for a job.

I have retired and receive a NHS pension but am interested in returning part-time. Is this possible?

It is possible to do a part-time Return to Practice course. The Return to Practice Co-ordinator at your local Health Education England (HEE) office should be able to provide support with finding a suitable course.

It is also possible to work flexibly once in post. You would need to discuss this with any potential employers. You may find Returning to the NHS after retirement useful.

Will I be able to work flexibly if I return?

Flexible working for health visitors is possible. You would need to discuss this with potential employers.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the course?

You could contact your local Return to Practice course provider for a suggested reading list to get you up to date with current developments in health visiting. Your local NHS trust may hold open days where you can visit local hospitals or other healthcare providers. You could also contact the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) for information.

How long will the course take?

Courses vary but typically take three to six months. However, some courses can be tailored to individual needs and may be longer. The length of course depends on how long you have been off the register and how may practice hours you need to do to be eligible to re-register. Courses can also be flexible to existing commitments, such as childcare. The time it takes to complete a course will depend on how much time you can commit to it. You should speak to individual course providers for details. Contacts can be found on our health visitor course finder.

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

Find health visiting return to practice courses on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

I haven’t practised for quite a long time. Does this matter?

No because in most cases courses can be individually tailored to give you the support you need. All courses are different so you should contact individual course providers for full details. 

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