Return to Practice

Apply for our Return to Practice Support Project

If you’ve previously been a Registered Nurse and wish to return to your profession, you may need to undertake a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Test of Competence.

Kindly funded by Skills for Care and facilitated by St Giles Hospice, we’re offering the opportunity to support people to return to clinical practice.

Transfer your skills into social care

Many nurses have allowed their nursing registration to lapse, often for very good reasons such as bringing up a family or following a different career path. During this time, they are likely to have acquired many skills which are useful for working in social care. Social care can be a really good place to regain skills and learn new skills, as well as working within a team. This project aims to support you to successfully complete your Test of Competence and gain employment within the social care sector.

Helping you to pass the NMC Test of Competence

Nurses seeking readmission to the register, who have practised for fewer than 750 hours in the previous five years, or 450 hours in the three years before their application for readmission to the register, must successfully pass an NMC Test of Competence to demonstrate that they meet the relevant proficiencies to apply for readmission to the NMC register.

We recognise that choosing to return to the nursing register can often be a big decision depending on your other commitments. We are here to support you on your journey.

Getting back to the job that you love may be easier than you think, the support you receive means you can return to nursing with confidence.

There are funds available to cover some of the costs associated with completing the Test of Competence.

To qualify for Return to Practice you will need to:

  • have been a nurse registered with the NMC or for overseas nurses, a registered nurse in your country of training/practice
  • be willing to bring your knowledge up-to-date
  • have some basic IT skills
  • an interest in working in social care

Why St Giles Hospice? We will:

  • support your return to the nursing register
  • value your prior nursing experience
  • support you to meet the requirements to pass the NMC Test of Competence
  • pay for the Test of Competence CBT and OSCE
  • arrange practice placement hours, if required
  • create a supportive environment in which you can bring your knowledge and skills up to date

How we will support you:

  • simulated practice in clinical skills environment to the equivalent of two days
  • opportunities for reflection
  • experiential learning opportunities, if required
  • self-directed study

Eligibility criteria and what you must evidence to undertake the Test of Competence:

  • a recognised qualification
  • knowledge and use of the English language requirement – English language requirements (
  • a supporting declaration and reference requests
  • a professional indemnity arrangement
  • CPD hours
  • a health and character declaration. This is requested by the NMC to gain re-entry to the professional register

Frequently Asked Questions

The Return to Practice Support Project offers nurses with a lapsed registration an opportunity to become active again on the NMC register, with a view that this will lead to employment as a Registered Nurse in social care.

No, mental health and learning disabilities nurses can also be supported.

No, you can join the support project providing you have previously been registered with the NMC as a Registered Nurse or registered in your country of practice for overseas nurses.

Yes. Whether your background is in health or social care, the Return to Practice Support Project will help you to return to nursing in a social care setting.

The project prepares you for re-entry onto the professional register and is an essential requirement for returning to nursing and regaining registration. The theoretical element of the Return to Nursing Support Project will take place with support from the Education and Training Team at St Giles Hospice and will consist of taught sessions, simulated practice, OSCE and computer based test preparation along with mock scenarios and the opportunity to arrange clinical work experience if required.

The project is funded by Skills for Care who will cover the costs associated with undertaking the NMC Test of Competence. Resources to enable supported teaching will be provided by St Giles Hospice. Please note however that the project does not pay for any travel costs incurred.

The Test of Competence is made up of two parts:

  • Part 1: a multiple-choice computer based theoretical test known as the CBT
  • Part 2: a practical test known as the OSCE

The Test of Competence is designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding across all areas of nursing or midwifery care.

More information is available on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

The length of support and the amount of practice learning depends on the needs of the individual and their commitment to the required self-directed study. Support is tailored to your needs depending on how long you have been out of practice, your previous knowledge and experience and relevant experience undertaken while you have been out of practice.

The project ends in March 2022.

The project ends in March 2022.

Upon successful completion of both parts of the Test of Competence, you can apply to be re-admitted to the NMC Register and receive your pin. You can then work as a Registered Nurse and we will support you through seeking employment into social care.

There are currently a number of vacancies for Registered Nurses in the social care sector across the Midlands. We cannot guarantee you will be employed, but we will use our network of connections in the local area to assist you in gaining employment.

Simply fill out the application form request below.

You can contact the Education and Training team by email at

Request an application form today

    Have you previously been a nurse registered by the NMC? (required)