Diane Stark qualified as a nurse in 1997 after completing Project 2000. She moved to London, where she worked for 12 years, returning to Wales after having her three children to become a stay-at-home mum.
"I never intended my break from nursing to be so long, but time got away with me and before I knew it, I found myself with a lapsed PIN number.
When the time was right, I made enquiries about re-registering and found that the Return to Practice course at the University of South Wales was funded for nurses like me.
Having qualified before the use of computers I was unfamiliar with the logistics of doing assignments. I was also a bit apprehensive about whether I could complete my academic work with the children at home, as there is no peace and quiet once they come home from school!
But there was help available at every step. Alex Holmes, the RTP course leader, was supportive and very helpful throughout; the other students were great and when it came to the assignment, I took advantage of the Study Skills service at the University. I was absolutely dreading the online Maths test but we were shown how to practice it at home which was very beneficial.
I was pleased to be placed on a trauma orthopaedic ward as this is where the majority of expertise lies. There was a lot more paperwork than I’d been used to, writing about the care we are not giving and why, as well as the care we are, to cover ourselves at every turn. Doing the competencies was fine as I’d been a mentor during my career and was familiar with the booklet.
Since completing the Return to Practice course, I have been fortunate to return to work full time as a senior nurse in trauma orthopaedics, which I really enjoy. I’ve also joined nursing agencies to expand my work experience in different trusts and hospitals.
Nursing has always been a demanding job. It hasn’t got any easier since I’ve been away, much harder in fact, but I am happy to be back nursing and glad I took the plunge when I did.
If anyone is apprehensive about returning to nursing, I would advise them to give the Return to Practice course a try."