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Return to Practice - case studies

People return to practice as a nurse, midwife or health visitor for a range of reasons - read their inspiring stories.


Melissa Phillips

Return to Practice nurse in Devon

Return to Practice nurse at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

My Return to Practice journey has proved to be an exciting, challenging and rewarding experience. I left nursing for seven years due to family ill health, but returned in 2014. My ultimate goal had always been to continue my career in Intensive Care, which is where the majority of my previous nursing experience lay.

I felt extremely fortunate to gain a placement in the Intensive Care Unit at The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, with the offer of a staff nurse position once I had re-registered. I undertook my return to practice course at Plymouth University.

Initially, the thought of producing a level-six clinical paper and completing a practice portfolio of clinical competencies seemed quite daunting. However, everyone in my cohort pulled together to support each other, and without exception, the staff who guided me through those early days were professional, encouraging and approachable.

I worked regularly with my sign-off mentor, achieving the competencies at a pace that worked well for me taking into account my previous nursing experience. Some aspects of clinical practice have changed over the years but the basics are reassuringly the same. I’m extremely happy in my renewed caree

Lynda Pearce

Return to Practice nurse from Whitchurch

Return to Practice Nurse at Whitchurch Health Centre 

I commenced the Return to Practice course in January 2015 working with the Community Nursing Team in South Bristol for Bristol Community Health.

Community nursing was completely new to me having spent my previous time as a nurse specialising in orthopaedics and rheumatology as well as the private sector.

The last six months have been a time of challenge and discovery as things have certainly changed since I was last practicing as a nurse.

I have discovered that there is a much greater emphasis on reflection and becoming a reflective practitioner. This hasn’t come easy but I have learnt so much by taking the time to think about and reflect on what I have seen in practice, observing my colleagues and mentors and the training days attended with Bristol Community Health and the university.

I have had amazing support from my colleagues in the community team and especially from my mentor and I have been so impressed with their professionalism, skills and knowledge.

I have enjoyed learning new skills as well as polishing up my existing skills and look forward to putting these into practice.

Michelle Andrews

Return to Practice mentor

Junior Sister on the Forrester Brown ward RUH Bath 

Return to Practice is something that I feel extremely passionate about.  There is a huge wealth of experience and knowledge from previous registered nurses that needs to be explored and nurtured.

I feel it a privilege to be part of their journey and enjoy watching each person grow.

With the increase in nurse vacancy and difficulties with nurse recruitment Return to Practice nurses have never been such a valuable resource.

Mentoring my students is not just about their learning but also about mine too.  The whole experience to me is a shared learning experience and the pride I see as they gain confidence and competence in returning to practice is a just reward.

I have had a fantastic experience of return to practice nurses and built strong professional relationship with these individuals and now class these nurses as my friends.


This Page was last updated on: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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