Healthy start for popular return to nursing course
Nurses are being delivered back into hospitals as part of an innovative new course at Glyndŵr University.
The Welsh University’s flexible learning programme was launched in June and has been a big hit with former nurses seeking a return to the health sector after leaving the profession.
Under the guidance of senior lecturer Alison Lester-Owen, the first cohort is partaking in study days, interactive and blended learning and practice hour placements at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, and Wrexham Maelor Hospital, near Glyndŵr’s existing campuses.
Aimed at those who are currently not active on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register, the qualification is funded by the Welsh Government and supported by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).
The Return to Practice in Nursing (Levels 5 and 6) students say the programme has “restored confidence” and proven their decision to go back to their former careers was the right one.
A second programme begins in October, and Alison is confident the success of the pilot has laid the foundations for a raft of cutting-edge new health courses at the Wrexham institution.
Among the satisfied students is Sally Evans, who spent 12 years raising her five children before deciding to take-on the course after visiting a summer open day.
“My youngest child goes to school full-time from September, so I finally have the opportunity to go back to work,” said Sally, from Ruthin.
“I wasn’t going to go back to nursing but recently got a job as a health care worker; being back on the wards gave me the confidence to join this course and do what I was trained to do all those years ago.
“I’m taking it one step at a time but the course is very flexible and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.”
Lynn Livingston, from Pwllheli, was also attracted to the Return to Nursing programme after attending the open day.
“I could not find a course anywhere else like this, so I searched online, found this qualification and came to Glyndŵr University,” said Lynn.
“I was an oncology nurse in Bangor and Bodelwyddan but want to work in the community in palliative care, that’s my ambition.
“It was daunting at first as I’ve been out of nursing for eight years, but care does not change and thanks to this course I’m confident for the future.”
Jan Combeer, from Glyn Ceiriog, echoed her words, and said:“I’d been working in general practice as a nurse practitioner for 25 years.
“I haven’t worked in a hospital since 1990 and didn’t think I could just apply directly for a job.This course is a stepping stone, it’s given me a great opportunity at an important time in my life.”
Alison wants to spread the message that there is a demand for nurses in the UK.
“The NHS – particularly the local health board - wants to attract experience back into the profession and is fully supportive of the course,” she said.
“There are a lot of qualified nurses out there whose registration has lapsed because they have gone on to have a family, change careers or simply decided at the time that the job wasn’t for them.
“Some might not have the confidence to return to nursing or think that it will be too much hard work or impossible given their personal circumstances.Some people might have qualified but never practiced – the course is open to all of them.
Alison, who was this week celebrating the completion of training with BSc Nursing students from adult and mental health fields (pictured), many of whom have already gained employment with BCUHB, added:“We aim to be as flexible as possible and want them to get in touch so we can discuss their options and make it work.”
The programme can last from three to six months on average, depending on the needs of the student.It prepares you for re-entry onto the professional register and is an absolute requirement for returning to practice.