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) module, 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 (06/08, 2018) but are subject to change. Please ask for confirmation of any fees quoted prior to committing yourself to the module.

When does the module run?

The R2P module runs twice each year, commencing in March and November.

Who can undertake the module?

The R2P module at Swansea University is 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 module meets all the requirements for R2P laid down by the NMC.

Is it only for Registered Nurses?

No. All nurses on sub-parts 1 & 2 of the NMC register (Registered and Enrolled nurses) may undertake the module. Successful completion returns all nurses to part 1 of the register, although if an enrolled nurse (EN) you do not automatically become a registered nurse (RN) but would return to the part of the register you were on previously.

Do I need to have a degree in nursing to undertake the module?

No. The registration you once held, although now lapsed, is the only entry qualification we require. Successful completion of the module would provide 40 academic credits at level 6 (degree level) which could, if you wish, be carried forward towards a degree. See point 23 below for more information.

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 NMC revalidation requirements http://revalidation.nmc.org.uk
  • 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 whose initial registration was held in an EU or EEA member state and who wish to practice as a registered nurse in the UK and are not eligible for registration via ‘automatic recognition’ or ‘acquired rights’(NMC, 2011b). Nurses who are EU or EAA registered must contact the NMC for advice before applying for the module. Please see: - https://www.nmc.org.uk/registration/joining-the-register/trained-in-the-eu-or-eea/

NB subject to change post-Brexit.

What about nurses who trained outside the EU & EEA?

Ordinarily you would be expected to undertake the Overseas Nursing programme. Please contact the NMC for further information https://www.nmc.org.uk/registration/joining-the-register/trained-outside-the-eueea/

Is it just for Adult Branch nurses?

No. The academic components of the module 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?

The Return to Practice module is not intended to act as a ‘gateway’ to NHS nursing. Nurses in independent or other sectors who are struggling to find work in the NHS as they may be viewed as “lacking recent relevant clinical experience” should contact the human resources team in their local health board to discuss alternative arrangements.  

How do I apply for the Return to Practice module?

Contact the admissions team on 01792 518531 who will forward an application pack to you by post or e-mail the admissions team at chhsadmissions@swansea.ac.uk for an electronic application form.

Are all applicants accepted? 

No. There is currently no limit on available places on the module, however all prospective students are subject to a competitive selection process. This includes attendance at a selection event where you will be interviewed by academic staff from the University, senior clinical nurses from the Health Board, and service users.

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 submit a satisfactory 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. NB you are advised to apply for a DBS Electronic Update. This costs an additional £13 but can be used repeatedly. More information available at this site: - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-update-service-applicant-guide/dbs-update-service-applicant-guide#about-the-dbs-update-service

Would I have to pay course fees?

No. The Welsh Government (WG) funds all places on each module. These funded places are for students resident in the EU or EEA irrespective of where they first trained. Swansea University currently have no upper limit for such places, however the actual number varies from year to year and is based on available practice learning experiences (placements) in the local Health Boards.

 Students eligible for a place on the module 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 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 affect 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-one weeks of study, spent either in academic or practice settings, during which period you will undertake  130 hours in class and a further 202.5 hours in practice the average attendance is 11 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.

Students currently employed are strongly advised not to jeopardise current employment. The module is very demanding and it may prove difficult to try to fit it in around existing commitments. You should also be aware that although the majority of students secure employment on completing the module this cannot be guaranteed.

What about support for child-care or other dependents?

You may be entitled to support, depending on your personal circumstances. The university does not deal with this issue, it is dealt with independently by the NHS Wales Student Finance office who can be contacted on 02920 905380 or by e-mail at abm.sas@wales.nhs.uk

For more information please click this link http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/1178/App-Guidance%20Childcare%20Costs%202018-2019.guidance.pdf or visit the student finance web-site http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/home  

Can you provide support with accommodation?

Swansea university does not supply accommodation for students undertaking R2P, However the following links are to approved landlords in  the area who can provide affordable accommodation:- for students looking for accommodation in Swansea https://www.swanseastudentpad.co.uk/Home or for students seeking accommodation in Carmarthen https://www.tsdstudentliving.co.uk/Accommodation

How long is the module?

The module requires a commitment to twenty-one 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 130 hours in college and a further 202.5 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 usually 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).  NB The induction weeks may require slightly longer days on occasion, please check timetable (given to you on commencement of the module) for more information.

Where will I study? 

Swansea University has campuses in several locations in south, mid and west Wales. Currently the R2P module 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?  

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, Withybush, 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 main placement is referred to as a ‘Hub’ and the linked areas as ‘Spokes’.

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”.

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 direct 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 completing induction requirements, undertaking all the theory and practice hours, achieving your Clinical Competencies and submitting a 4,000 word Reflective Assignment.

Does the module carry any credits toward other qualifications?

Yes. Currently the reflective assignment is marked at degree level (level 6). Undertaking the module would give you 40 credits toward a Degree in Nursing. To be awarded a full degree, Bachelor in Science (BSc) in Nursing, you are required to complete 120 credits at level 5 (Diploma level) and 120 credits at level 6. From the time of you commence studies at level 6, you have four years to gain the required 120 credits. Students can study level 6 modules on a standalone basis irrespective of how many level 5 credits they may (or may not) have. You can apply for this module without undertaking previous studies at level 5 therefore.

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 module?

Please visit the module home page: - http://www.swansea.ac.uk/rtp/ for advice about the NMC requirements please visit: - http://www.nmc-uk.org/Registration/Returning-to-the-register/

If you have any further questions about the module or your eligibility to apply please contact the module leaders: - Elaine Jones +44 (0)1792 513806 a.e.jones@swansea.ac.uk. Or Keith Bradley-Adams on +44 (0)1792 513822 k.m.bradley-adams@swansea.ac.uk  for an application form please contact: Lisa Coode +44 (0)1792 518537 admissions@swansea.ac.uk

All details above correct at time of publication (13/08/2018)