Frequently Asked Questions about Returning to Practice

The following is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the Return to Practice (R2P) modules, along with appropriate answers. Hopefully any questions you may wish answered are included. We are of course happy to answer individual queries, please see contact details at the end of the list.

N.B. all fees quoted below were correct at time of publication 22/07/2014 but are subject to change. Please ask for confirmation of any fees quoted prior to committing yourself to the module.


Who can undertake the modules?

The R2P modules at Swansea University are designed to enable nurses and health visitors who have previously held registration to return to practice and to register or re-register their qualification with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). The modules meet all the requirements for R2P laid down by the NMC.


Is it only for UK qualifications? 

No. There are currently three specific groups of nurses who would require modules of this nature to enable them to register with the NMC and thus practice as a registered practitioner in the UK.


  • Qualified nurses (please note the term ‘nurse’ henceforth refers to nurses and health visitors) unable to renew their registration as they have not met the Post  Registration Education & Practice (Prep) standards (NMC, 2011a)


  • Qualified nurses whose UK registration is subject to sanctions imposed by the NMC and are required by the NMC to undertake the return to practice programme in order to seek restoration to the register (NMC, 2001)


  • Qualified nurses who are nationals of a relevant European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) member state and whose initial registration was held in an EU or EEA member state and who wish to practice as a registered nurse in the UK (NMC, 2011b)


What about nurses who trained outside the EU & EEA?

They may be able to undertake these modules but as above should first contact the NMC to register their qualifications and obtain a decision letter. The NMC may stipulate undertaking either the R2P module or alternatively the “Overseas Nurses Programme” which is not provided currently by the University. Please see

(Please contact the admissions team on 01792 518531 for more details).


Is it just for Adult Branch nurses?

No. The academic components of the modules offer a “common foundation” on which registrants can develop knowledge and skills so are suitable for all returnees whilst the practice learning experiences (placements) you undertake would be in the clinical areas which are specific to your field i.e. Adult nursing, Children’s nursing, Mental Health nursing, Learning Disabilities nursing, or Health Visiting.


What if I am registered but can’t get a job with the National Health Service (NHS) as I have been in other sectors for a few years?

These modules are also designed to act as a ‘gateway’ to NHS nursing. Nurses in independent or other sectors often struggle to find work in the NHS as they may be viewed as “lacking recent relevant clinical experience”. Completing these modules gives you that experience as well as an opportunity to update skills and knowledge.


How do I apply for the Return to Practice modules?

 Contact the admissions team on 01792 518531 who will forward an application pack to you.


Do all applicants get accepted? 

No. As we have more applicants than places available on the modules all prospective students are subject to a selection process. This includes attendance at an interview where you will be questioned by representatives from both the University and the Health Board within which you are hoping to undertake your practice learning experiences.

You would also have to be able to demonstrate you are of good health and good character i.e. provide two independent references, undergo an occupational health check and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a criminal records bureau or CRB check). These checks will be arranged for candidates successful at interview. Any fees for these checks must be met by candidates.


Would I have to pay course fees?

The Welsh Government (WG) funds a limited number of places across Wales each year. These places are for students resident in the EU or EEA irrespective of where they first trained. Swansea University is usually offered between fifteen to twenty such places; the actual number varies from year to year and is based on vacancy rates in the Health Boards.

 Students eligible for funded places on the modules have their course fees paid and also receive a non-means tested bursary (currently £1,000). They may also receive additional financial assistance to meet costs of caring for children or other dependents.  


What are the costs involved in self-funding?

Supplementary places may be available for some self-funding students each year. These students would not receive the bursary and would also be expected to pay their course fees (currently £960) and may also be required to provide a fee to the Health Board for their uniform and any training needs including supervision whilst in practice.

None of the partner Health Boards currently charge R2P students but they retain the right to do so. The NMC suggest a figure of £60 per practice week is reasonable for students paying for practice learning experiences.  Self funded places are limited and subject to the availability of practice learning experiences.


What if I am receiving payments from the Department of Work and Pensions?

You should seek advice from the DWP before committing yourself to studies as attendance may effect the level of some benefits. For many benefits there is a reduction of payments if you work in excess of 16 hours per week. However as these modules require a commitment to twenty weeks of study, spent either in academic or practice settings, during which period you will undertake  90 hours in class and a further 200 hours in practice the average attendance is  14 ½ hours per week. This hopefully should not effect most payments although all students are strongly advised to seek advice from DWP or other agencies prior to enrolment.


How long are the modules?

The modules require a commitment to twenty weeks of study spent either in academic or practice settings. You will not be expected to work during public holidays e.g. Christmas or Easter. In total there are approximately 90 hours in class and a further 200 hours in practice. To confirm the actual dates please consult a member of the academic team prior to applying.


Is it full-time?

No. When in University you will be expected to attend for 20 hours each week (usually for 4 days between 9:30-3:15). Whilst undertaking the practice learning experiences your hours will be agreed between you and the clinical area but should be an average of 22½ hours each week. (e.g. 3 early or late shifts). You will also be required to undertake induction to the Health Board in line with their policies. The nature of this induction is determined by the HB and is outside the control of the university.


Where will I study? 

Swansea University has campuses in several locations in south, mid and west Wales. Currently the R2P course is based on the St David’s Park Campus, Carmarthen as this is the most central location. If you require directions to this campus please contact a member of academic staff.


Where will my practice learning experiences take place?  

Your allocated placement will be chosen by the nurse education department of one of the partner Health Boards. You will be able to nominate your preferred practice setting and your choice will be respected if possible. Every effort will be made to allocate you to your first choice, although occasionally this is not possible. If we are unable to meet your 1st choice we will provide an alternative placement which matches your needs. As a guide hospitals we have linked with previously include: - Singleton, Morriston, Neath Port Talbot, West Wales General, Prince Philip, Bronglais, Cefn Coed, Caswell Clinic, Tonna, Cimla, etc.


Will I be expected to work in more than one area?

Not normally. We would expect you to undertake all of your practice learning experiences in the same ward, department or team. You may choose to spend part of your time in other areas on “short placements” to gain a wider understanding of service developments but should only undertake these in consultation with your sign-off mentor and the module leader.

The only exception to this is if the NMC have advised you in their decision letter that you need to gain specific experiences in order to register e.g. if the NMC has stated “You must undertake part of your placement in a community nursing setting”.


Would I have to work in a hospital?

 No. It is possible to undertake your practice learning experiences in any clinical area, e.g. ward; theatre; clinic; day hospital; community practice; prison; etc. provided the clinical area accepts students and has suitably experienced and prepared staff available to support you.


Who will support me on my practice learning experiences?

You will be supervised and assessed by a sign-off mentor when in practice. This will involve working closely with an experienced nurse able to help you achieve your clinical competencies. You will also receive support from other clinical staff and academic staff as required.


What are my “clinical competencies”?

These are a range of measures intended to help you demonstrate personal and professional development. They are intended to satisfy the NMC that you are capable of “safe and effective practice without supervision”. A sign-off mentor in practice must confirm that you meet this requirement.


Is this the only assessment I would undertake?

No. Successful completion of the module includes undertaking all the theory and practice hours, achieving your Clinical Competencies and submitting a 4,000 word Reflective Assignment.


Do the modules carry any credits toward other qualifications?

Yes. Currently the reflective assignment may be marked at either certificate or diploma level, known as levels one and two respectively. Undertaking the diploma (level 5 studies) would give you 40 credits toward a Diploma in Nursing, Health Care Practice Award or Diploma in Contraception and Sexual Health Practice. These awards require 120 credits at level 5 in health/nursing related subjects. From the time of your first registration for studies at level 5, you have four years to gain the required 120 credits. If you achieve 120 credits at level 5, you may, should you so choose, progress to level 6 (degree) studies either immediately or at a later date.

Please ask a member of the academic team to discuss this with you to ensure your individual learning needs are met.


How do I find out more about the modules?

Please visit the modules home page: for advice about the NMC requirements please visit:

If you have any further questions about the modules or your eligibility to apply please contact the module leaders:

Elaine Jones +44 (0)1792 513806

Or Keith Bradley-Adams on +44 (0)1792 513822 

For an application form please contact: Lisa Coode +44 (0)1792 518537


All details above correct at time of publication (22/07/2014)