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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Return to practice (Nursing and midwifery)

We support nurses and midwives to return to practice.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Return to practice is the process for readmission to the nursing and midwifery register.

The NMC has a number of requirements for this. 

You can find detailed information on this process on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

Please note:

Return to Practice is designed for candidates that have previously held an NMC registration in the United Kingdom.

If you have studied nursing and midwifery outwith the UK and have never held an NMC registration you must follow the process outlined by the NMC here - Trained outside the UK

Scottish Government funding model

The Scottish Government supports those wishing to return to the NMC register.

They have introduced a new funding model where candidates apply to an NHS Board or independent employer (for example, care home) for a returner vacancy.

The Scottish Government will fund programme fees for candidates employed under certain conditions. 

NES has been commissioned to manage the funding for the programme at the two Universities in Scotland:

Test of Competence

An alternative to a Return to Practice Course it to undertake the NMC approved Test of Competence consisting of a computer-based test (CBT) and an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE). You will find information about the test at the below link

NMC Test of Competence

There are currently no NMC test centres in Scotland so travel would be necessary. Unfortunately, at present, there are no funding initiatives for the test of competence but this is currently being looked at.

Applying for a Place

It may have been some time since you have considered applying for a post. Below you will find some helpful resources that may help refresh your knowledge and consider some key points of an effective application.

You may want to start with the ‘How to Apply’ section in the NHS Careers website. While this has been designed with NHS Scotland staff in mind there are elements and  information relevant to all applications.

You may also find the My World of Work site useful as it covers a range of information and guides on looking for a new post, including interview skills.

NMC Webinar

There is an NMC Webinar being held on 13th December for those on the temporary NMC register and considering moving to full registration or thinking about returning to nursing or midwifery practice and for anyone considering returning to nursing or midwifery practice.  Please see the Flyer for further information and Registration

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I apply directly to the university for a place on the course?

A. You can but you will not be eligible for a fully funded place and will need to cover the costs. In order to access a fully funded place you must apply for a return to practice vacancy within a Health Board or Care Home. You will find information on where to find the vacancies and key contacts below.

Q. I have had previous NMC restrictions on my practice, can I still apply?

A. You can still apply. We would advise an honest and transparent discussion as early as possible with the local RtP lead and the programme lead at your university of choice.

Q. What references will I require for my application?

A. You should attempt to use a reference from your previous nursing/midwifery role. If you cannot reach your previous manager, your former human resource (HR) department may be able to help.


Local contacts and vacancies 

Irene Kennedy at Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Kate Goodhand at Robert Gordon University  

Debra Heron at NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Practice Education Team at NHS Borders

Christina Hoare at NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Doreen Smith at NHS Fife (Website)

Ann Johnstone at NHS Forth Valley  

Lorraine Allan  at Golden Jubilee National Hospital

Laura Reid or Lindsey Gillespie  at NHS Grampian  

David Lamont at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde  

John Sinclair at NHS Highlands and Islands

Marion Malone at NHS Lanarkshire

Return to Practice Team at NHS Lothian (Website)

Graeme Bartlett at NHS Orkney

Lisa Clare at NHS Tayside

Anna Nicolson at NHS Western Isles (Website)

Jane Douglas at Scottish Care (Website)



Last updated: 27/09/2020

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