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Support for nurses to return to work in primary care

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Primary care nursing will soon benefit from a focus by Health Education England (HEE) on encouraging primary care nurses to return to practice, it has said.

HEE is leading work to encourage experienced nurses back to practice. It recently completed the first phase of its research in promoting the return to work scheme, which included carrying out literature reviews and work with stakeholders. HEE said the review found variation in the way that nurses were able to return to practice.

A survey by NHS Employers of qualified nurse supply and demand in Trusts, and principles for increasing nursing numbers through return to practice, were published at HEE's first annual conference and exhibition on 15 May.

The findings of the survey showed that nurses returning via this route often stayed continually employed until retirement, those that returned to practice were often highly-experienced mature nurses and return to practice courses were more cost-effective than three-year pre-registration nursing training.

Janice Stevens, the managing director of Health Education West Midlands, who is leading the work at HEE, said: 'Now we know what the issues are, I'm going to work with all the leads across each LETB to ask them what they are doing in their patch and how they will facilitate and support work in [their] area and region to ensure that [they] meet all of the criteria. My goal is to do some sort of launch to encourage people back into practice by the end of September. That will definitely include something to highlight the community and primary care options for new nurses and nurses looking to move into that area of nursing.'

Further work led by HEE will review the content of education programmes to ensure they meet the needs of modern practice and the significant skills nurses need in practice today, as well ensuring appropriate and effective placement and supervision.

'One of the pieces of work is understanding what the placement opportunity is around practice nursing and how we might positively encourage people into community and primary care, because there is clearly a shortage of nurses in those areas,' said Ms Stevens.

For more information visit the HEE website

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