"Before starting the Return to Practice course, I was working with Gwent Frailty Torfaen, co-ordinating and triaging the referrals," said Sian, from Rogerstone, Newport.
"I left nursing for a couple of reasons. I nursed my husband through terminal cancer and even though I continued working as a Community Nurse following his death, I struggled emotionally with aspects of the work and felt that stepping back from nursing for a while would benefit me.
"I had an interest in Art Therapy and I decided to go back into full time education to study a BA (Hons) in Art Practice at the then University of Glamorgan. Following completion of that I then went on to study an MA in Ceramics at the Metropolitan University of Cardiff. Prior to taking up my post with Gwent Frailty, I worked for two and a half years as an Adult Education Tutor which I enjoyed very much.
"I had always intended to keep my nursing registration active by working bank shifts but found juggling full time education and being a single parent to two children more than enough work for me to do and my registration lapsed.
"It was actually whilst working within the Gwent Frailty Team that I came to realise how much I missed nursing and how much more I still had to give to the profession. I also realised that I wasn’t utilising all of my skills and knowledge in the job that I was doing.
"I have enjoyed the Return to Practice course very much. I found the lectures relevant, informative and well presented. I felt very well supported and informed throughout the whole process.
"I wasn’t particularly daunted by the thought of having to complete the academic aspects of the course because of my recent experience of completing a BA and MA. I was however daunted by the prospect of returning back into the clinical setting after being away from nursing for nine years. Those worries were unfounded because during my placement, the staff were very supportive and fundamentally, nursing care has not changed over the years. What has changed and moved on are the LHB policies, technical equipment and research based best practice and these were all addressed on the course and throughout the clinical placement.
"I continued to work throughout the RTP course and did find it challenging and tiring at times fitting the lectures and clinical placement hours in around my job commitments but I was very fortunate that my employers were very supportive.
I really enjoyed my placement and this confirmed to me that I had made the right decision in returning to nursing. However, I did find that achieving the competencies and learning outcomes within the 200hrs of placement quite a challenge but achievable.
"I am now about to start work as a Discharge Liaison Nurse based at the Royal Gwent Hospital, which I am looking forward to very much and the new challenges that that will bring. I will also be returning to the University of South Wales to study the BSc (Hons) Professional Practice Healthcare Studies."