Retired nurses urged to return to practice

A FORMER nurse is calling on Northern Devon Healthcare Trust to make it easier for nurses to return to the profession.

Angela Bone, 69, spoke to the Gazette following our front page story about local nurse shortages on July 10.

She said flexible courses for local nurses whose registration has lapsed could help boost local nursing numbers and limit the need to recruit nurses from counties such as Spain and Portugal.

Mrs Bone, who lives in High Bickington, returned to nursing in 1996 after being tempted to return to practice during a free two-week intensive 'back-to-nursing' course ran at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon.

She had previously been a state registered nurse from 1966 to 1982, when she began working in local government.

She told the Gazette: "They should make easy for people to get back into nursing.

"At the time, I didn't particularly want to go back to nursing but saw the two-week course advertised and jumped at it. I think there were eight of us who signed up and got our registrations back.

"After that, I became a registered general nurse and nursed part-time until moving to Devon in 2002.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a large pool of nurses living in North Devon whose registration has lapsed."

Nurses have to renew their registration every three years and must be able to demonstrate they have completed 450 hours of registered practice and 35 hours of study in the previous three years.

Darryn Allcorn, assistant director of workforce and development at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, said the trust promoted 'return to nursing' courses at local and national recruitment events.

He said: "We are keen to support return to practice and have had some really good success stories.

"Typically we see six to 12 individuals each year who come back into nursing."

The trust said it was currently supporting four candidates in degree-level return to nursing courses - three linked to Oxford Brookes and one to Plymouth universities.

The six-month courses are aimed at registered nurses and midwives who have been out of practice for five or more years, and their registration has lapsed.

They cover all the main elements of registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, leading to reinstatement to the register upon successful completion of the academic and practice requirements.

Candidates complete a work placement with the trust, consisting of a minimum of 100 hours generally over a three-month period.

The trust said returning nurses have options to work in an acute hospital, in a community hospital or supporting patients in their own homes.

Nurses interested in returning to practice are encouraged to call 01237 420214 for an informal chat with the trust's workforce development team.

What do you think? Are you an unregistered nurse living in North Devon? Would you consider taking a back-to-nursing course? Contact the newsdesk on 01271 345056 or email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk