Nearly 200 former nurses and midwives are expected to return to practice this year, as part of a Scottish Government scheme to encourage staff to reenter the profession.
This figure is double the stated aim of the programme when it began in April 2015. The Scottish Government set a target of at least 75 funded places on the courses for 2015/16. However, it is now anticipated that almost 200 former nurses and midwives will retrain. More than 40 participants have already completed the return to practice courses, allowing them to reenter the nursing and midwifery workforce.
‘We were aware of nurses who wanted to return to the profession but the location of courses and the financial challenges involved were a barrier,’ said June Brown, director of nursing at NHS Grampian. ‘By developing a local course with an employment model we are overcoming that barrier.’
The courses, run from universities such as Robert Gordon in Aberdeen, are free and fully funded by the Scottish Government. Former nurses and midwives are eligible to apply to have their £1500 university fees paid by the scheme when they retrain. Students are also paid a salary during their clinical placement hours and guaranteed a job on completion of the course.
‘The current return to practice nursing cohort has found the course challenging but also very rewarding both personally and professionally,’ said Professor Ian Murray, head of Robert Gordon University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. ‘The course is bringing highly skilled and experienced nurses back into the workforce which can only be good for the quality of patient care.’