Return to practice (RTP)

If you’ve ever thought about returning to  practice, you're in the right place
What is return to practice? 

Return to practice (RTP) gives people who have been registered nurses previously the opportunity to return to the profession by undertaking a return to practice programme.  RTP offers healthcare providers such as Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust the opportunity to employ nurses who bring a wealth with them.

Some of the benefits of return to practice
  • Return to practice nurses often go on to be employed by the Trust

  • More cost efficient than training a pre-registration nurse

  • Returnees are often nurses with many years of previous experience

  • Opportunity to grow the workforce more quickly and manage growing demand


How is the course funded?

From January 2015, the university fees for adult, mental health or learning disability nurses will be paid for by Health Education England - Wessex.  Students will received £500 funding to support access to the placement experience required.

The return to practice programme

The return to practice programme is a combination of classroom and placement based learning which takes between 3 and 6 months to complete.  Throughout the programme the learner will develop a portfolio, demonstrating skills, which will be sent to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to record the completion of their RTP programme and re-registration.

The course will take approximately three months to complete, although some may take longer dependent on clinical placement hours required, length of time out of practice and length of time previously in practice.  During this time the learners will be expected to complete a minimum of 150 clinical hours.  They must be allocated to a sign off mentor whilst on placement.

Through the duration of the RTP programme the nurses are employed within Southern Health on an honorary contract, we cannot guarantee a post on completion, however there are usually plenty of employment opportunities available.

Southern Health works in partnership with Bournemouth and Southampton University to support the RTP process.  RTP courses usually commence in January and September each year at Bournemouth University; for more information visit their webpage

The University of Southampton's RTP courses usually commence in March and October each year; for more information about this course visit their webpage

What are the next steps?

If you are interested in a returning to practice position, you can apply via the NHS Jobs website.  We usually advertise posts around April and October each year. 

Once you have applied for a RTP place, and if you are successfully shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview.  If you are offered a RTP we will then consider appropriate placement opportunities. 

If you would like more information please contact Carly Bott, who will be happy to help.