Return to Practice scheme offers the chance to return to nursing

Nurses with lapsed registration are being offered an opportunity to work at the Belford Hospital in Fort William while they complete a return to practice course.

Under the Scottish Government’s Return to Practice Funding Scheme, returnees will be able to apply to have their university programme fees (£1500) at the four Scottish providers fully paid.

In return, course participants must take up employment as a first level Registered Nurse in Scotland within three months of completing the course, or provide evidence that demonstrates they are actively seeking employment.

Lesley Pow, Senior Charge Nurse in the Combined Assessment Unit at Belford Hospital, explained that it has become increasingly challenging to recruit nurses to the smaller, more rural hospitals and they have been looking at ways in which to overcome this.

She said: “We know there are nurses out there who have left nursing perhaps to bring up a young family or for other reasons and they have let their registration lapse. The return to practice is an opportunity to come back into nursing and we will also offer employment to those who are looking to re-register.

“The course contains both theory and practice. We will help with transport and accommodation costs to attend the taught elements of the programme and, in recognition of the fact that some people may have to give up current employment in order to complete this, we will also be paying a wage (Band 2) to those participating. Once the course is complete and they are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) they will be given a contract for a Band 5 position.

“We hope this is an attractive option to nurses who, for whatever reason, may have previously thought that a return to the profession was not an option available to them. The Combined Assessment Unit in Fort William is a multi-speciality unit dealing with both medical and surgical patients. It is an excellent learning environment and this would be a fantastic opportunity for those looking to come back into the profession.”

For those interested in returning to practice the courses are run by Robert Gordon’s University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Stirling and the University of Dundee.

For those looking to see what job opportunities there are for nursing in Belford Hospital vacancies for registered and non-registered staff are available on the website.

Pictured are SCN Lesley Pow (centre) and some of the team from the Combined Assessment Unit

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Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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