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Returning to Practice

Now is an exciting and challenging time to be part of the professions and a good time to be optimistic about your future career as a nurse or midwife.

If you have previously been a registered nurse or midwife your skills and experience are invaluable and therefore you will be supported to return to practice.

Returning to nursing or midwifery is a life changing decision. You may come across a few changes since you left and you may need to undertake a Return to Practice programme.

Find out more about returning to practice below:

Hear stories from nurses and midwives who have returned to practice


Currently registered but not working as a nurse or midwife?

It is now more important than ever that you stay connected to your nursing or midwifery profession, even if you are not currently working. To be able to renew your registration each year, you must declare that you have:

  • maintained your recency of practice;
  • met your continuing professional development obligations.

Making a false declaration is against the law.

Think very carefully before letting your registration lapse.

Once your registration has lapsed, you are not automatically entitled to get it back. It may be complicated to become re-registered, even if you have only been off the register a very short time. Midwives considering a return to practice may also find it helpful to contact the Local Supervising Authority Midwifery Officer (LSAMO) for Northern Ireland at

For more information visit:


Rejoining the NMC Register

The Nursing and Midwifery Council have set Post Registration Education and Practice (Prep) Standards (NMC, 2008) which all nurses must meet in order to maintain their registration. Those nurses whose registration has lapsed have to successfully complete an approved Return to Practice programme to allow them to renew their registration.

This programme is designed to update and develop professional competence and work in partnership with clients, patients and other members of the health and social care team to enable individuals to be eligible for readmission to the NMC when registration has lapsed after a break in practice of three years or more.

If you have previously been on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register and you now wish to readmit after a break, you will need to meet some requirements.

Information on rejoining the NMC Register can be found at


Find out more about Return to Practice Programmes

A range of Return to Practice programmes have been approved and monitored by the NMC to make sure that the education and training on offer meets their standards.

The return to practice programme is a combination of theory and practice based learning, with study periods and clinical practice taking place, usually over approximately three-months or a semester.

Part of the programme you choose will be based at a university, with the tutors working with you to support your learning experience. The remainder of the programme will be spent on a clinical placement, where a mentor will work with you to record your competence in clinical skills.

Throughout the programme you will develop a portfolio, demonstrating your skills, which will be sent to the Nursing and Midwifery Council to record the completion of your return to practice programme and your re-registration.

An NMC approved ‘Return to Practice’ (RTP) programme is available locally at the Ulster University for nurses with a lapsed NMC registration who wish to re-enter the register. The Department of Health annually commissions places on the RTP programme and fully funds the University fees. Practice placements are facilitated by the five HSC Trusts, which may also include other elements of support.

To find out more about the Nursing and Midwifery Return to Practice (RTP) programmes available in Northern Ireland contact: