Returning to health visiting and school nursing

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Once a health visitor, always a health visitor

Being a Health Visitor is an honour, working with families, being able to identify needs early and improving health and wellbeing is such a unique role. It's also about preventing ill health and preventing inequalities. Each day is exciting, varied and challenging.

Once a school nurse always a school nurse

Being a school nurse isn’t just about seeing children and young people for health concerns. For me, it is being able to support them through their journey in life to achieve good health, to provide them with information and support, enabling and empowering children and young people to take charge of their health. To see the world through their eyes, to really understand their needs yet being able to support them in a professional manner. You are not just a nurse, as a school nurse you are also an educator in many aspects. Being a school nurse is so very rewarding; to see young people make the right decision through your advice is pure happiness.

The return to practice course is open to all, regardless of how long you have been out of practice. The course will update you on any new developments in nursing and you will have support and mentoring throughout.

If your registration has lapsed, you’ll need to complete a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved return to practice course which takes between 3-6 months.

The return to practice programme generally takes 3 months to complete and is a combination of classroom and placement-based learning. The hours you spend on placement will vary, depending on how long you have been out of practice.

There are return to practice nursing courses across England but CLCH will be working with the University of Brighton as they offer both nursing and Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN). The amount of retraining you require depends on how long you are out of practice. The longer you have been out of practice, the more practice hours you will need to complete but we are here to support you through the process.

The NHS will pay your course fees. All SCPHN returnees will initially have to undertake a return to practice programme in their original field of registration.

Currently we can only support those SCPHN who initially trained as either an adult or child nurse. Following completion of this component you will then undertake your SCPHN return to practice. Both components need to be successfully passed in order for you to practice as a SCPHN.

Flexible working for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses (SCPHN) is an option but while undertaking your return to practice programme you need to commit to a minimum of 22.5 hours per week.

Many organisations now offer return to practice placements that lead to a permanent position, and that is our intention here at CLCH.

Here at CLCH we offer an employer-led return to practice programme, where you are employed as a return to practice nurse, on band 4, and are guaranteed a post once you have successfully completed the programme.

Keep an eye on NHS Jobs for return to practice nursing opportunities here at CLCH

“I joined CLCH in September 2022, to start my six month return to practice journey to regain my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration for nursing and health visiting. I had been away from practice for over eight years, so it all seemed a bit daunting and a little scary at first. I felt a little out of my comfort zone.

“I did most of my practice hours within a community setting in CLCH and this ran alongside the academic part of the course at Brighton University. My confidence quickly grew, and I was surprised how much knowledge I had retained from when I was a health visitor previously.

“Everyone at CLCH were so friendly, helpful and supportive. My practice supervisor and practice assessor from my health visiting placement have been brilliant and always made time for me however busy they were, they gave me lots of encouragement. CLCH gave me the learning and training opportunities I needed to feel ready to come back to health visiting. 

“It has been challenging, but it has been an interesting, enjoyable and extremely rewarding journey. I would recommend anyone who is considering returning to nursing and/or health visiting to take the plunge and go for it, you will not regret it.”


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