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Nicky's story

Nicky takes you through her reasons for coming back to nursing.


My name is Nicky and I am married with three grown up children. I began my training as a state registered nurse in 1979 based at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne and after qualifying in 1982, I worked there as a staff nurse on a general surgical ward. Following completion of my district nurse training course in 1985, I worked as a district nurse based at a practice in Gosforth.

I left nursing to have my first child in 1987 and my second in 1989. At the time it was not deemed good practice to job share for reasons of continuity of care, so I decided to leave the profession. However I returned in 1991, initially working unpaid for a few weeks at the Freeman Hospital, until I obtained a district nursing position, working twilight shifts for a practice in Ponteland.

It was a short return as in 1992 for reasons relating to my husband’s job, our family spent a year in Australia. My third child was born in 1993 and I made the conscious decision to stay at home to bring up my three children. I always wanted to return to nursing at some stage and after a break of over twenty years I successfully completed the return to practice course at Teesside University in March 2014.

For someone who had been out of nursing for such a long time, I found the course fairly intense, with a lot of academic work condensed into a short period of time. It was initially very hard studying again and getting to grips with research, referencing, information governance and in particular understanding the concept of critical analysis. Thankfully I was given plenty of support and encouragement along the way.

My practical placement was based at Bishop Auckland Hospital where I completed around 200 hours working on a medical ward. I really enjoyed the experience; it gave me a good insight and developed my practical skills in the workplace. My desire though was to return to community nursing but I needed to maintain some degree of flexibility because of my other commitments. I felt my best option was to find a position as a community bank nurse.

I knew I needed to obtain some experience and as a result of conversations with Dr Pat Bramble, Senior Lecturer at Teesside University, I was encouraged to contact one of the Community Practice Placement Facilitators. This led me to a day shadowing one of the district nursing sisters in my locality.

I am now working as a bank staff nurse in the community for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and have just been successful in obtaining a similar position with my local trust in Durham.

I would recommend the return to practice course to anyone who wants to get back into nursing. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if I hadn’t completed it, but if I were to offer one piece of advice it would be to warn that it is very time consuming and demanding but if you have the drive and are surrounded by support as I was, then you can do it.

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