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Return to Practice Programme

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging trained nurses who have left the profession to consider a return to practice.

The Trust has introduced a new Return to Practice programme in partnership with the University of Chester, designed to fit around the professional and personal needs of former nurses who are interested in resuming their nursing career.

Sue Hamman, Divisional Lead Nurse and lead for the programme, said: “If you have previously trained as a nurse and feel ready to come back, we’d love the chance to speak to you about the options we have available to you. Our Return to Practice programme allows you to get paid whilst you train, and we make it as flexible as possible to ensure that it fits around your existing home commitments.

“We know that returning to nursing is a big decision, but our programme aims to make it as easy as possible to put your invaluable skills and experience back into practice.”

Further information about the programme is available by calling Audrey Butterworth on 01270 273712 or email audrey.butterworth@mcht.nhs.uk.


A testimonial from Sharon Harrison, who has recently retrained with the Return to Practice Programme

I first became aware of this programme from a friend who had heard about it on the radio.  I then looked at the Leighton Hospital website and found some information and contact details.  I was attracted by the way the course was being advertised, particularly as it stated that it didn’t matter how long you had been out of nursing, that there would be a salary while re-training, and the promise of guaranteed employment on completion of successful re-registration.

I qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1990 and had last worked in this role in 2002.  I regretted leaving the profession and had looked into returning several times. However, I was deterred by the combined factors of a two-stage process of applying to a university course and securing a clinical placement separately, and also not receiving a full time income during the re-training period.

I emailed the hospital and received a prompt reply offering an informal appointment to speak to the lead nurse responsible for the course.  I found the friendly attitude of staff reassuring when arriving at reception for the appointment, as I was unfamiliar with the hospital. The initial discussion was useful and informative; I was given the outline of the programme, and the reasons it came about were explained.  We also generally chatted about returning to practice, my reasons for returning, and my anxieties regarding the length of time I had been out of nursing.  The application and interview process were relatively straightforward, and again the availability and helpfulness of administration staff were supportive.

The way the programme has been run is excellent, having university days at the hospital and training sessions run by the Trust.  During my time in the clinical area I usually work with my mentor. The ward staff have been extremely welcoming, which has been an important factor. From the outset I have felt valued and part of the ward team. Being part of a group of nurses returning to practice has been useful as we can empathise and support each other, and during university days there is a chance to debrief.  The whole course is very similar to the way I originally trained and I feel that the support given by the practice education facilitators, lead nurse and university lecturer has been invaluable.

I would recommend returning to practice in this way, as the whole way the programme is set up is to nurture and support.  Even though the clinical environment can be demanding and tiring I am thoroughly enjoying being a nurse again.

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