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Course helps nurse return to practice after 30-year gap

London hospice embraces return-to-practice scheme to solve recruitment problem.
Anne Smith

A nurse has rejoined the profession after more than 30 years thanks to a return-to-practice programme.

The course, run by Kingston University and St Georges University of London, supports nurses to return to the profession after a career break.

Royal Trinity Hospice in London joined the scheme two years ago in response to growing difficulty in recruiting staff.

The course at Royal Trinity has helped eight former nurses back into the profession, six of whom have remained working at the hospice.

They include Anne Smith who now works as a staff nurse at Royal Trinity, after returning to nursing following a 32-year gap.

Returners story

I left when I had children; nursing wasnt as flexible back then, said Ms Smith.

But when my daughter decided to train as a

A nurse has rejoined the profession after more than 30 years thanks to a return-to-practice programme.


Staff nurse Anne Smith is enjoying her return to practice

The course, run by Kingston University and St George’s University of London, supports nurses to return to the profession after a career break.

Royal Trinity Hospice in London joined the scheme two years ago in response to growing difficulty in recruiting staff.

The course at Royal Trinity has helped eight former nurses back into the profession, six of whom have remained working at the hospice.

They include Anne Smith who now works as a staff nurse at Royal Trinity, after returning to nursing following a 32-year gap.

Returner’s story

‘I left when I had children; nursing wasn’t as flexible back then,’ said Ms Smith.

‘But when my daughter decided to train as a nurse, I saw her enjoyment and realised how much I missed it.

‘At 56, I thought I might be too old, but I am quite comfortable, even though I have a lot to learn.

‘So much has changed, like the medicines and technology, but I feel happy to ask for help because everyone at Trinity is so supportive.

‘On the second day of my placement I thought, “I want to work here, I love it.” And I still do.’

Course structure

Returnees on the course must complete theory and skills-based sessions, a two-stage assessment and a minimum of 150 hours of clinical practice over three months.

Royal Trinity clinical educator Helen King said: ‘As a former return-to-practice nurse myself, it’s been rewarding to support these new recruits to grow in confidence and competency.

‘I hope more hospices consider return-to-practice nurses as part of their recruitment strategy.’ 


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