Local nurses top up valuable skills

Thursday, 05 February 2009


Return to Practice course enables nurses to resume careers.

More than 20 ex-nurses are planning to return to the health service after topping up their valuable skills in an intensive three-month course run by Oxford Brookes University.

They have successfully completed the ‘return to practice’ programme – a requirement if nurses have been away from the profession for three or more years.

It enables previously qualified adult and children’s nurses, health visitors, learning disability nurses, mental health nurses and midwives to refresh their clinical training.

32-year-old Josie Knapp (pictured right) from Abingdon has secured a job as a staff nurse in the recovery department at John Radcliffe’s West Wing having gained the certificate.

She said: “I’d qualified as a nurse but never practised having been abroad for 3 years. The support from the university is good and my placement was at The Churchill on Urology for two months.

“It’s very difficult to walk back onto a ward when you’ve been out for any length of time. Nursing is not easy, it’s challenging but also very rewarding. It’s nice to be in a position to be able to help people, both physical comfort but also through talking to people and being kind.”

44-year-old Carole Harrison (pictured left) trained to be a nurse at 18 and worked for 10 years in general practice and then as a midwife.

She said: “I left nursing to have a family and now my children are teenagers and far more independent, I wanted to get my career back. Nursing is something I wanted to do from a little girl and it gives me real job satisfaction. I think it’s a combination of interaction with the patients and staff plus feeling that you’re doing something really useful.”

Having completed the return to practice scheme, Carole is hoping to work at The Horton in Banbury as a staff nurse.

98 per cent of nurses who re-train at Oxford Brookes go on to find employment locally:

Oxford Brookes course leader, Mary Hopper, commented: “I am delighted that our students are now able to take their places as qualified nurses and midwives. Many have already secured jobs in the NHS and will begin work immediately.

“Nurses returning to practice make a really important contribution to the health care workforce as they bring with them the variety and maturity of previous life and clinical experience.

“This is often an invaluable support to newly qualified health care professionals who are just staring out in their careers.”

The next available intake for Oxford Brookes Return to Practice course is in September 2009. For some students financial support is available from the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust.

Find out more about the Return to Practice course.