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Return to Practice

The Return to Practice programme is currently delivered twice a year, once in Spring and once in Autumn. It is jointly provided by the University of Suffolk and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust (QEHKL).  The Return to Practice (RtP) Tean welcomes applications from Adult or Children's Nurses who are not currently registered with the NMC having not practiced in the last 3 years.  

A number of nurses have successfully returned to practice despite not being registered as a nurse for 10 years or more. The programme aims to give you the confidence to adapt to changes in practice, thus enabling you to re-awaken the knowledge you have and to benefit from the wealth of experience that you will have gained in those intervening years.

How long is the Return to Practice programme?

  • The programme length is variable accordingly to how long you have been out of practice.

What does the course consist of?

The course consists of 10 study days (taught and online virtual learning environment), with 200 - 327 practice hours, depending on the time you've been out of practice.

The course is equally divided, 50% practice and 50% theory, and consists of one theoretical module of 20 credits at level 6 degree level.

As well as this, you are expected to attend all lectures, seminars, tutorials, and other planned teaching, learning and assessment activities prescribed for your course.

How much practice do I need to complete in order to re-register with the NMC?

  • Guidance from Health Education England recommends the following:
  • 3 -7 years out of clinical practice – 150hrs (20 x 7.5 hour days)
  • 8 – 10 years out of clinical practice – 200hrs (27 x 7.5 hour days)
  • 10 – 15 years out of clinical practice – 275hrs (37 x 7.5 hour days)
  • 15 years or more – 375hours (50 x 7.5 hours)

How many hours a week does the course involve?

  • The course will start with an initial 4 days of study and a library/study skills day.
  • You then need to complete 15 hours clinical practice per week and one day in a classroom setting per 2 weeks.
  • You will also need to undertake personal study; this will be supported by one of the RtP Lecturers or your mentor in clinical practice. If you have never studied at degree level or have been out of practice for more than 10 years, there will be built-in study skill lessons to enable you to get to grips with academic writing.

Where will you get your clinical experience?

The practice element of the programme is undertaken in one clinical setting within the QEH. We aim to offer you a placement in an area in which you may have had previous experience and are most likely to feel comfortable. You will be supernumerary and therefore able to concentrate on your learning needs. There is a degree of flexibility in negotiating your shifts but you will need to consider undertaking sufficient hours each week (15 hours) to make the placement a worthwhile learning experience.

Will there be job opportunities at the end of the course?

The Return to Practice programme prepares you for re-entry onto the professional register and is an absolute requirement for returning to practice. You must successfully complete all theoretical and practical elements of the course to be eligible to re-enter the professional register. It does not lead automatically into a post, but it will provide you with the knowledge and skills to look for a post in a variety of clinical settings.

QEHKL is keen to recruit nurses to roles within the Trust on completion of the course and you will be guaranteed an interview for our Foundation for our Foundation Staff Nurse posts.

What should you do now?
If you would like to know more about the programme before applying, please call or email

Amanda Small

Lead Nurse Education and Development

01553 616613 ext 4583 or bleep 3053.

We look forward to helping you to return to practice.

Julia Saunders

Practice Development Nurse

01553 613613 Ext: 3306/3915 or bleep 3306.

Or take a look at the University of Suffolk Return to Practice (Nursing) page.



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