Returning to practice

We understand that you may need to take some time away from registered practice during the course of your career

When you're ready to return to practice, you can apply for readmission to rejoin our register.

Our readmission requirements set out the minimum number of practice hours that you must undertake.

If you've not been on our register for some time, it's unlikely you'll meet this requirement.

Updating your skills and knowledge

Our return to practice standards set out the options available if you're unable to meet the practice hours requirements.

You can either complete a:

You can choose the most convenient and appropriate way for you to update your skills and knowledge. 

Things to consider

1. Would a long career break prevent me from rejoining the register as a nurse, nursing associate or midwife?

No, there are options available to you if you’re looking to return to practice after time away. If you’re not able to meet the minimum practice hours for the part of the register you want to re-join, you can either complete an NMC-approved return to practice programme or, from January 2020, take a test of competence.

An individual’s prior learning and experience should be considered by the approved education provider in relation to the relevant standards of proficiency, programme outcomes and the individuals intended area of practice upon rejoining our register. Each person should be supported in returning to their intended area of practice.

2. I am a practising midwife, but my nursing registration lapsed 7 years ago. What do I need to do to return to practise as a nurse?

If you want to work as a registered nurse and rejoin this part of the register you will need to either complete an NMC-approved return to practice programme or, from January 2020, take a test of competence to demonstrate your nursing knowledge and competence.

3. How can I return to practice if I was previously struck off by a fitness to practise panel?

If you’ve been struck off the register and want to return to practice, you’ll first need to successfully apply for restoration and then update your knowledge and skills by either completing a return to practice programme or, from January 2020, a test of competence.

Your approved education institution will manage your application for a return to practice programmes, learning support and competency assessments for the intended area of practice in the same way as anyone who has not practised for a period of time.

4. My registration has not lapsed and I have NMC conditions on my practice. Should I apply for a return to practice programme or sit a test of competence?

If you’re subject to a conditions of practice order, your registration wont lapse whilst the fitness to practise proceedings are ongoing.

As your registration has not lapsed, you do not need to undertake either a return to practice programme or test of competence.

However, you may choose to complete a return to practice programme provided any practical element of the course meets the specified conditions of the Order and you meet the admissions criteria of the approved education institution. The completion of such a course would not mean in itself that the conditions of practice order ceases to have affect, as this would be for a fitness to practise panel to determine.