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Return to Practice (Nursing) (Institutional Undergraduate Credit)

  • UCAS code: Direct entry
  • Next intake: February 2023
  • Duration: 20 weeks
  • Mode: Part time blended learning

Entry Year

Why study this course

Nursing is an exciting, challenging and rewarding career. Our programme provides you with the confidence, skills and knowledge to re-register as a nurse with the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and offers you the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.

With a UK NMC registration, you will be able to work in a range of healthcare and independent care settings both in the UK and internationally. 


Our Return to Practice (RTP) programme would suit previously-trained adult, child and mental health nurses who have previously worked in clinical practice and have either had a career break from nursing, let their NMC registration lapse, been unable to meet their NMC Revalidation requirements or simply wish to enhance an existing role by regaining their professional registration status again.

You will be part of a close-knit group of learners and you will also have a dedicated personal tutor who will provide pastoral support throughout the programme. You will be allocated practice supervisors and experienced practice assessors who will work alongside you during your clinical practice, and a field-specific academic assessor will oversee your progress and completion of the practice assessment document. They can also provide academic guidance throughout the programme.

Cardiff University is a Russell Group University, which supports a strong research profile, meaning that you will benefit from research-led teaching and evidence-based learning. You will be taught by staff with extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of nursing education, management and practice.

Our dedicated clinical simulation suite, which resembles a real hospital ward, our computer rooms, student study rooms and a dedicated healthcare library will all be available to you during your period of study with us. Our virtual learning environment is also accessible via desktop and mobile devices. This means you can develop your digital literacy skills and access/revise electronic resources from any location.

We have close working relationships with varied service providers in Wales and your learning could take place in hospitals, GP practices and in the community. A varied placement experience will help you gain an insight as to the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification. 

Distinctive features

As part of a large School based at the University Hospital of Wales, we’ll help you to enjoy an academically rich and fulfilling experience throughout your time at Cardiff University. Here are some of the key features of our programme:

  • Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW)  provide a full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary. Further details are available on our NHS funding pages.
  • The Return to Practice Programme would suit adult, paediatric and mental health nurses who have either let their Nursing and Midwifery (NMC) registration lapse or those who have not been able to meet their professional body Revalidation requirements to re-register.
  • Applicants study on the course on a part-time basis over a condensed period of 20 weeks (approximately four months from February to June).
  • The module learning outcomes are arranged to reflect the NMC specific outcomes for Return to Practice (NMC 2019).
  • Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated healthcare library will all be available to you during your period of study with us.
  • We offer family friendly flexibility with your study days. We try our best to work around school timings which means starting later and finishing earlier and take into account School holiday calendars.
  • Our virtual learning environment is also accessible via desktop and mobile devices. This means you can access/revise electronic resources from anywhere.
  • Students are offered a range of placements in hospital, community and/or GP Practices across Cardiff & Vale and Aneurin Bevan University Health Boards. We think this will help make you more employable to local employers (and beyond), upon successful completion of the programme.
  • You will have a dedicated personal tutor and/or field specific tutor support who will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme.
  • You will be allocated an experienced sign off mentor who will work alongside you during your clinical practice.
  • Some elements of study could be made available through the medium of Welsh.


Applying for 2023 or 2022

Subject area: Nursing (adult)

  • academic-schoolSchool of Healthcare Sciences
  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Entry requirements

Not applicable. See 'Other essential requirements'.

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Not applicable. See 'Other essential requirements'.

Not applicable. See 'Other essential requirements'.

Not applicable. See 'Other essential requirements'.

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.


At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

With your application form you will need to provide all of the following documentation:

  • Evidence of UK residency status (for funding purposes) which may include a valid passport and/or a valid biometric residency permit.
  • Professional certificates or an AEI issued transcript of previous study. The academic criteria will be met by uploading the certificate for your nursing degree or diploma.
  • Evidence of NMC PIN card and/or Statement of Entry gained from the NMC.
  • Two professional references, or, one reference from a healthcare professional and one academic reference.
  • Employment history or CV.
  • Evidence of change of name, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll, if the names on your documents do not match the name on your application.

You must have previously held registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and must be able to confirm your expired PIN details, either by confirming this in writing to Cardiff University, by producing your NMC PIN card or by providing a Statement of Entry issued to you by the NMC. If we are unable to confirm previous registration with the NMC, we will be unable to progress your application.

If you have conditions set by the regulatory body or are unable to fulfil your NMC Revalidation (2016) requirements you will need to provide a decision letter issued by the NMC. Progression of your application will then be dependent upon Fitness to Practice (FTP) PIN checking procedures, assessment, and the School of Healthcare Sciences’ FTP Panel decision outcome. This process will establish whether you have any regulatory body-issued conditions on your clinical practice and whether these can be accommodated.

If you are successful in obtaining an offer, your enrolment will subject to a satisfactory health screening, which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. You will also need to adhere to any immunisation requirements. Full guidance will be provided post-application stage.

Selection process:

If you meet the entry criteria you will be invited to an interview.

Multi Mini Interviews (MMI) are scheduled around five weeks in advance of the course start date and successfully shortlisted applicants will receive at least one weeks’ notice of their scheduled interview date.

The MMI is a series of short interview stations designed to enable you to state why you want to return to the profession, to critically appraise information, to calculate basic numeracy equations, to communicate ideas regarding your preferred placement learning environment, and to demonstrate insight into the values and issues perceived as important to the nursing profession.

If not already provided on the original application form or at the shortlisting stage, you must bring any remaining application documentation with you to the interview.

You will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required. If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Students from the UK and Ireland

A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available to applicants from the UK. Full details, including information for applicants from the EU, are available on our NHS funding pages.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Applicants are required to meet the costs of obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

Return to Practice (Nursing) is a 20-week taught part-time programme consisting of 20 theoretical study days and 300 hours spent in clinical practice. Students will be expected to engage with approximately 15 hours of clinical learning per week, or 30 hours per fortnight. The programme consists of one module with two (summative) assessed elements: a field–specific, numeracy-based SafeMedicate exam in week ten and an E-portfolio which will include a clinical proficiencies annex/skills inventory, two in-point assessments (1. medications management and 2. leading and coordinating care), and formative and summative reflective elements. Your portfolio will be submitted in week 18. The programme also includes a formative five-minute field-related, evidence-based health promotion presentation. Students must successfully complete 40 credits at level 6 to be eligible to apply for professional re-registration with the NMC to practice as a nurse.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

There is one compulsory module in year one with one clinical practice placement.

The module will be delivered over fifteen weeks.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Return to Practice (Nursing)HC335340 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

You will learn within a cohort of mixed-field Nursing students to develop your understanding of the nurse’s role as well as the other fields of Nursing represented. As ‘experts by experience,’ you will also be afforded valuable opportunities to learn inter-professionally (IPL) from other healthcare professionals and the authentic voices of service users and their carers.

Traditional face-to-face learning strategies such as lectures, workshops and seminars will be complemented by digital on line opportunities, clinical simulation and resources designed to enhance your overall learning experience. These will enable you to regain your confidence and competence, and to acquire new knowledge, skills and capabilities that will help equip you for return to the UK NMC register and help prepare you for a future role as a practice supervisor, following a period of clinical preceptorship.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a field Personal Tutor (PT) who is a member of the academic staff group and a qualified nurse. You will be encouraged to arrange meetings with your personal tutor throughout your time on the programme, during which you can access pastoral support, reflect on your overall progress and seek academic supervision. Personal Tutors will also assist in signposting you to other sources of support such as the School and Programme Student Disability Contact and University-wide services including Student Support and Wellbeing and the Academic Skills and Mentoring Team (see Student Handbook for further information). Welsh-speaking personal tutors may be available to you if your preference is to access support through the medium of Welsh.

The School works in partnership with Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to provide opportunities for Welsh speaking students to study aspects of the programme through the medium of Welsh.  Welsh speaker mentors are also available in some clinical areas within our partner Health Boards.

Within the clinical environment you will be supported by Practice Supervisors (PS) and Practice Assessors (PA) as you progress towards achieving your two RTP in-point assessments and proficiencies. In the academic setting you will also be allocated an Academic Assessor (AA) who will review your progress, oversee your clinical hours and E-portfolio entries. Welsh-speaking practice supervisors or practice assessors may be available to you if your preference is to access support through the medium of Welsh within the clinical environment.

To support learning in practice you will also undertake simulated activities, scenarios and access drop-in clinical skills in a purpose-built simulation suite. This will allow you to practice, develop and consolidate your clinical skills within a safe and supportive environment.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

Critically appraise the knowledge and evidence base underpinning the nursing proficiencies for Return to Practice.

Professional Practical Skills:

Lead, manage and coordinate care.

Safely and competently calculate and optimise medications administration when returning to adult nursing, mental health nursing or nursing children and young people.

Transferable/Key Skills:

Demonstrate confidence, competence and appropriate professional attitudes and behaviours including accountability and responsibility for own learning and that of others.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Upon completion of this accredited programme, we will link students with employment opportunities by introducing them to local recruitment managers. Guidance with their selection choice will also be provided to those who wish to further their studies. Successful registrants can use the credits gained from the Return to Practice for further future study (as part of a credit transfer scheme such as APEL).

Graduate careers

  • Nurse


Return to Practice clinical placement opportunities across the lifespan exist within a range of hospital, community, and GP Practice settings across Cardiff and Vale, Newport and Gwent. The inclusion of RTP practice-based learning will allow you to develop a robust skill set and demonstrate the standards of conduct, performance and ethics which are expected of a Registered Nurse. As a competent Return to Practice student, there is an expectation that you will lead and support others and be accountable for your own actions, attitudes and behaviours.


Following satisfactory DBS and Occupational Health clearance, and the successful completion of all elements of mandatory skill training which is assessed, 300 hours of practice-based learning will commence. This will be in a clinical environment and clinician and service user feedback will form part of the feedback progress. During your placement, you will be supported by practice supervisors, a practice assessor and an academic assessor. Opportunities to develop awareness of your own profession, the range of sectors in which you might work and that of other professionals supporting the journey of people and their families in your care will form part your inter-professional education (IPE) experience.


There will be a strong focus on medications management, safety and optimisation. Pharmacology, consent, safeguarding and developing IT skills will also feature. Practice-based learning development, proficiencies, additional learning experiences and hours implemented will all be logged via an E-portfolio. The completion of this E-portfolio will be overseen by an academic assessor and will form the basis of your continuing personal and professional development.

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Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.