Successful return to nursing thanks to University course
Practice nurse Susann Hayes, right, with Ward Manager Cathy Webber from the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre (Picture courtesy of Care UK)

A nurse who undertook Plymouth University’s Return to Practice course has praised the programme for helping her go back to her career. 

Susann Hayes, a nurse at the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth, has recently returned to the profession after a career break to raise her family – and it has been such a success for her that she wholeheartedly recommends the course to others in a similar situation. 

Susann said: 

“When the children became older and more independent I came to realise that I missed nursing and started looking into returning to the profession.”

She took advantage of the opportunities provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s ‘Return to Practice’ initiative, designed to support those who have taken a break from their nursing career to re-enter the health workforce.

Susann said: 

“I feel that the Return to Practice courses are an excellent idea for people like me who have taken a break in our careers. The opportunity has enabled me to brush up my skills while working in a hospital placement, and the lectures at Plymouth University have helped me to catch up on all the changes that have happened in nursing since I took my break.”

Susann, 45, from Horrabridge, was born and raised in Germany where she qualified as a nurse in 1990. She came to the UK in 1999 after a variety of ward placements, further training and education and a period living in the USA.

With her husband, she moved to Devon in 2005 and worked as a staff nurse at a residential home.

When she started her family of two children she took a break from nursing to raise them and to work with her husband in their family-owned tea rooms.

And, after careful consideration about how and where she was going to return to her chosen profession, she’s delighted with her experience.

Susann said: 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and was well-supported by my colleagues at the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre during the placement and I am looking forward to continuing to work with them. I would recommend that anyone considering a return to nursing should take a look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Return to Practice website, and also look at studying at Plymouth.”

Professor Bridie Kent, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Plymouth University, said: 

“Plymouth University is working closely with all the NHS Trusts and Health Organisations in the South West to ensure as many people as possible benefit from the Return to Practice course, and have had several cohorts successfully enrol this year. When people have the skills to do a good job in such a demanding profession, we’re delighted to help them update their knowledge, adapt to any new developments and help them re-enter nursing at the highest standard.”

Sue Farrell, Head of Nursing and Clinical Services at the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, said: 

“We are delighted to have supported Susann with her return to the nursing profession and to have her join as a member of staff. There are thousands of nurses and other health care professionals out there who have taken a break from their careers and who may be thinking about coming back. My advice to them is to take a look at return to practice courses and go for it – their wealth of expertise and knowledge are vitally important to modern health care and the courses will give them all the updates they need to fit back in to the health care workforce.”

For more information about career opportunities at the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre please visit

Entry requirements

If you are considering returning to practice, you will first need to find and secure a return to practice vacancy. To find a suitable vacancy please visit the NHS Jobs website and in the keywords/job reference section search for ‘Return to practice’ roles. Only once you have secured this position will your employer be able to book you a place on the course at the University. Unfortunately, you are unable to do this directly.

This is because the model of provision for return to practice has changed to an employer-led model, with places commissioned by Health Education England (HEE). Healthcare organisations such as NHS Trusts, general practices and independent providers will be supporting returnees to return to practice with the intention of employment on successful completion of the module.

Places are commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) or for GP Practice Nurses if you are considering returning to practice, you will first need to find and secure a return to practice vacancy within our field of practice. To find a suitable vacancy please visit the NHS Jobs website 


for GP Practice Nurses via their training hubs in Cornwall, Devon or Somerset. 

Search 'return to practice roles' in the key word search box. 

Once you have secured this position your prospective employer will be able to book you a place on the course. Unfortunately you are unable to do this directly. 

Who can apply for the module?

  • Potential returners to the Nursing and Midwifery (NMC) sub part 1 or sub part 2 register can apply, such as adult nurses, mental health nurses, paediatric nurses, learning disability nurses, school nurses, midwives and health visitors.
  • Nurses who have qualified within the European Union (EU) and meet the NMC requirements for entry to the register and require evidence of a return to practice module.

If English is not your first language you must have evidence of a minimum overall IELTS 7.0 (6.5 in writing and 7.0 for speaking, listening and reading) or equivalent and level 2 numeracy. For further information about English language requirement please view our English language requirements page.

Disclosure and barring service (DBS) certificate and occupational health assessment

You are required to undergo an occupational health and DBS assessment which forms a condition of acceptance. This will be a part of the recruitment process and undertaken by your employer.

Further information

For further information regarding this module, please contact:

Professional Development Unit

Level 4, Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Prospective student enquiries:

Phone: +44 (0)1752 586951

Current student enquiries:

Phone: +44 (0)1752 586958