HEE campaign to ‘inspire’ former nurses to return to practice

The move forms part of latest phase of the We are the NHS recruitment campaign, which was started last year by NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and HEE.

“I always say once you’re a nurse, you’re always a nurse”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

In the next stage of the campaign, HEE has announced plans to showcase opportunities and support available to former nurses in hope of inspiring individuals to rejoin the workforce.

For example, the public body noted that it wanted to make former nurses aware of access to assessors and supervisors, and financial support of £500 to help with travel, childcare and book costs.

To help fulfil this aim, HEE has announced a partnership with Mumsnet to try and find nurses who are not currently practising. It said a Mumsnet microsite would promote the campaign and showcase inspirational video stories from nurses who have returned to the profession.

“Those who have done it before, know nursing is a tough job but that it is rewarding like no other” 

Donna Kinnair

Plans for the return to practice campaign were first mentioned in the long-awaited Interim NHS People Plan (see attached PDF below), which was published on Monday, and itself is the separate workforce element of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Chief nurse at Health Education England, Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, said: “There has never been a better time for registered nurses to get back to doing what they love.

“There are around 40 fully-funded return to practice courses available across England offering flexible and varied learning experiences,” she said.

“I always say once you’re a nurse, you’re always a nurse and I’d encourage anyone currently on a break from their nursing career to explore the wide range of information and support available to help them return to a great career,” she added.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s chief executive and registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I welcome this campaign as the future of health and care depends on all of us doing everything we can to recruit, nurture and retain fantastic nurses who make such a difference in our communities and in our lives.”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

Ms Sutcliffe said that the NMC was “playing its part” by recently introducing flexible ways for professionals to re-join the register following a career break.

“This includes people from 2020 being able to choose a test of competence to demonstrate their much valued skills and knowledge, rather than undertake a course,” she noted.

“I hope this campaign helps encourage even more nurses to return to what is a wonderful and rewarding career,” she said.

The length of return to practice courses depends on how long applicants have been out of practice, but should take no longer than 12 months.

Royal College of Nursing Chief executive and general secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “Our profession is advancing like never before and the career possibilities open to nurses is growing by the day.

“Those who have done it before, know nursing is a tough job but that it is rewarding like no other,” she added.

News stories on the interim NHS People Plan