A route back to work for health professionals

Posted: October 15, 2015

Return to Practice course opens the door

Health workers missing the buzz of a vibrant hospital setting after taking a career break are encouraged to take part in Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's acclaimed Return to Practice course.

The free programme, which was highly commended at Health Education South West's recent Return to Practice Awards, offers the support, guidance and training needed to get out-of-work nurses, midwives and health visitors back onto a ward or community setting.

Run in partnership with the University of the West of England, the course happens three times a year with places for the next cohort in January already available.

Denise White, a newly recruited staff nurse at Warminster Hospital, took part in Return to Practice in May after an eight year break from nursing while caring for her young family.

She said: "After taking such a long break, I was keen to rejoin the NHS and this Return to Practice course really appealed to me.

"It's given me a burst of confidence"

"I was able to get a placement at my local hospital and was given so much support from my friendly ward manager."

"All the staff were incredibly helpful and made my transition back into nursing as smooth and stress-free as possible.

"I'm so pleased I took part, it's given me a burst of confidence and I'm now working towards gaining a full degree from UWE."

The Return to Practice course is made up of six study days, including a session in a simulated clinical area and a two day Trust induction.  

Those who are accepted on to the programme will be eligible for a bursary of up to £1,000, with those completing the course encouraged to take up a permanent position with the Trust.

Shelly Knight, Return to Practice Lead, said: "Coming back to any job after a long break can be a daunting experience and healthcare is no exception.

"Return to Practice allows us to offer support, guidance and training so that everyone taking part feels comfortable in returning to life in a busy NHS organisation.

"Everyone on the course is paired with an experienced mentor who can help develop a person's confidence while also teaching them about our Trust's specific values and behaviours."

£1 million recruitment drive

The Return to Practice programme is just one of the many initiatives currently employed by the Trust to bring in more permanent members of staff.

Since 2013, more than £1 million has been invested in recruitment and, as of September 2015, there are around 170 more nurses and midwives caring for patient than there were two years ago.

People interested in Return to Practice are encouraged to find out more at an informal coffee and cake event taking place on Monday 2 November.

Contact Shelly Knight on 01793 604437 for more information.

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