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Return to practice: nursing

Nurses who want to return to the profession have much to offer patients, employers and society. Returning to nursing 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, there are three ways you can return:



You might be able to re-register with the NMC without doing a course or a test. You'll need:

  • 450 registered practice hours over the last three years or 750 hours over the last five, including any practice hours gained on the COVID-19 temporary register 
  • 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) in the last three years
  • to provide three character references

You can apply directly through the NMC website or if you want to use hours worked through the COVID-19 temporary register, you'll need to email the NMC to request a paper copy of the readmission pack.

Further information on requirements and process is also available on the NMC website.


Return to practice course 

Depending on how long you have been out of practice, the course can take between three and 12 months to complete.

By the end, you'll have the skills and knowledge to be able to return with confidence.

Find out more on the Health Careers website  


NMC Test of Competence

The Test of Competence provides a quicker way to return to practice compared to the established routes. It is made up of two parts:  

Individuals can arrange themselves to sit the Test of Competence for which they will be required to pay a fee, this fee can then be claimed back from Health Education England once the individual has returned to the register and is in NHS employment. Individuals can apply to sit the Test of Competence through the NMC website, where they will also find lots of preparation materials and essential reading to help with revision for the test.  

Those who would like to know more, or have further questions they can drop us an email .

Some organisations are recruiting those who wish to return to the nursing register into support roles, they are then put through the Test of Competence and then deployed into a nursing role withing the organisations. Damian Burke, an Endoscopy Nurse at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, took this route, listen to him talk about his journey.   



If you would like to find out more about returning to nursing please visit the Health Careers website


Myth Buster 

In order to assist those considering returning to practice to understand clearly everything that it entails a comprehensive Myth Buster document has been produced. A copy of the document is also available in the Related Documents section of this page.


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