Return to nursing

Experienced nurses who want to come back to the profession have much to offer patients, employers and society. Coming back to the profession has never been easier with courses and training on hand to ease the transition and build skills.

If you are no longer a registered nurse you could undertake an approved return to practice course or you could undertake a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Test of Competence (ToC).

The Return to Practice course for General Practice Nurses is offered at a number of universities and incorporates the existing return to practice course that is required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for Re-registration and an Introduction to the role of a GP Nurse.

The Health Careers website provides a course finder that you can use to find Return to Practice course for General Practice Nurses in the North West or across the UK as a whole.

The course will be open to all previously registered nurses with relevant experience in all fields of nursing, and previously registered Practice Nurses can apply for this bespoke course too.

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.

NHS Health Education England will pay for your course and placement fees. You’ll also be given £500 for childcare, travel and book costs. You’ll also have support from a mentor and practice facilitator from your university.

In the video below Bridget explains her story returning to work as a Practice Nurse.

Find out more about returning to general practice nursing on the Health Careers website.

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 NMC-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 NMC to record the completion of your return to practice programme and your re-registration.

Find out more about returning to the NMC register.

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) which tests a broad range of clinical skills and other skills such as communication. 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.

The Standards for return to practice programmes set out the specific requirements that apply to all return to practice education programmes approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Download Standards for return to practice programmes.

A nurse, midwife or nursing associate must undertake a minimum number of practice hours to remain on, or rejoin, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

The Return to practice standards set out the options available for nurses, midwifes or nursing associates that are unable to meet the practice hours requirements.

Download Return to practice standards.

The Be a Greater Manchester Nurse campaign aims to recruit nurses in Greater Manchester, growing the profession and opening up opportunities for current, returning and future practitioners.

Nursing is, very simply, a vital profession, essential to everyone’s health, and our society. There’s nowhere better to be a nurse than Greater Manchester, where the choice of roles and career paths is as diverse as the area itself.

As a nurse here, you’ll have access to plenty of support too. When you want to start the next phase of your career, or change direction, you can do that here too, without having to relocate. So whether you’re a student, a nurse somewhere else in the UK, or a trained nurse who’s taken time out, you can make a nursing role your own in Greater Manchester.

There has never been a more exciting time to become a Greater Manchester nurse. Find out more at and #GreaterManchesterNurses #beagreatermanchesternurse .

Too often nursing goes unsung. That’s why the campaign film below is proudly supported by Greater Manchester’s own musical heroes.

Becoming a Registered Nurse

With so many people to care for – and the range of trusts, hospitals, primary and community services within our network – we can offer an impressive range of roles. You can work in hospital wards, outpatient units or specialist departments, or get out into the community, working in homes, GP practices or nursing homes. You could focus on adults, children, mental health or people with learning disabilities. There are also many opportunities in education, research, informatics and workplaces, the ambulance service, prison service and police – and we also have links with the voluntary and private sectors.

When you’re ready to move, we make it simple to change roles. So you can grow your skills in a particular area, or move sideways to take on a new role. You can also apply your skills with a different provider.

Return to Practice

However long it’s been since you were last registered as a nurse, we’ll make it enjoyable to return to this proud profession. You’ll need to complete a Return to Practice course. Financial support for this is paid for by Health Education England (and comes with an additional £500 to cover things like books, parking and childcare).

The course takes around six months, depending on how long you’ve been away and the clinical hours you need to complete. The minimum 22.5 hours per week in practice can also be tailored to work around your commitments. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in all the latest teaching and techniques, on an innovative and exciting course, which prepares you for clinical practice. And then, you’ll get back to doing what you do best – being a skilled, empathetic, experienced nurse.

Train to be a nurse

A nursing career isn’t something to be taken lightly. It calls for great focus and astute decision-making, and so training is essential. However, with the right approach, and the support we can offer through tutors, mentors / practice assessors / practice supervisor and university support networks, everything’s in place to ensure you succeed.

We have a reputation for holistic education. As well as covering the theory, we ensure you understand the clinical implications and practical applications of nursing. Outside of classroom work, you’ll also undertake a number of hospital and community placements, each introducing you to a new area of care, from sexual health to cardiology to A&E. You’ll also have a mentor / practice assessor / practice supervisor on each placement, who’ll be invaluable in supporting you. Their experience, knowledge and skill will help you to develop and unlock your full potential.

The Health Education England (HEE) Come Back Campaign is aimed at encouraging former registered nurses not currently practising back into the profession has been launched today by Health Education England (HEE).

The campaign hopes to inspire nurses to return by highlighting the fantastic opportunities and support that is available. This includes access to assessors and supervisors who will be on hand to boost confidence, and financial support of £500 to help with travel, childcare and book costs.

Nurses interested in returning can sign-up to an email guide with information and tips on returning at

The latest phase of ‘We are the NHS’ workforce campaign includes a partnership with Mumsnet to help find the qualified nurses in their communities who are not currently practising. A Mumsnet microsite will promote the campaign and showcase inspirational video stories from nurses who have returned to the profession.

Read personal stories from Nurses who explain why they decided to come back to nursing on the HEE website at

In the video below Rachel explains her story returning to work as a Practice Nurse.