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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:

NMC Return to Practice Webinar

Presentations and discussions from the NMC Webinar held on 13 December 2022 are detailed below:

Returning to the permanent register

Linda Everet from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) discusses the options available to those thinking about moving from the Temporary Register to the permanent NMC Register or returning to practice after a lapse in registration.

The Return to Practice Programme

In Scotland two universities deliver the return to practice programme. Irene Kennedy, Glasgow Caledonian University and Dr Kate Goodhand, Robert Gordon University discuss what is involved in undertaking the programme, the support while studying and on placement as well as the application process.

What is returning to practice like?

Shona Gray, a graduate returner from Robert Gordon University discusses her experiences of studying and re-joining the register.

Paul Edwards, a graduate returner from Glasgow Caledonian University

shares his thoughts on what undertaking the return to practice programme was like and how he feels about returning to nursing.

We will be hosting a virtual drop-in session on Tuesday 17th January 23, 2pm to 3pm.

Please click the joining link below if you would like to chat with the team about any aspect of return to practice

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting

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.

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

Alison McIntosh or Debbie Banks at Robert Gordon University  

Debra Heron at NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Practice Education Team at NHS Borders

Christina Hoare at NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Nicola Robertson at NHS Fife (Website)

Ann Johnstone at NHS Forth Valley  

Emma-Louise Kerr  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

Becky Moran or Heather Lyle at NHS Lanarkshire

Return to Practice Team at NHS Lothian (Website)

Sam Thomas at NHS Orkney

Suzanne Ross at NHS Tayside

Anna Morrison at NHS Western Isles (Website)



Last updated: 27/09/2020

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