Andrea, Dietitian, NHS Fife

Andrea is a dietitian who gave up her registration in 2008. When she started thinking about early retirement, she decided she wanted to keep working but change what she was doing.

My name is Andrea and I'm a dietitian and it took me approximately 13 months from the start of the process to me getting my letter of registration.

I'd been thinking about returning to practice for a little while. I'd given up my registration in 2008 and had thought a couple of times since then about about that return to practice process, but what prompted me in the end was the fact that I was thinking about early retirement and I wanted to keep my options open, because I didn't want to stop working, but I wanted to change what I did.

At the start of the process, I was feeling very apprehensive. It had been some time since I had practiced and I was unsure whether I would be able to actually complete the process. So, yes, feeling very apprehensive.

The most important part of the process for me was deciding how I would structure that updating period. And I was conscious that because I had been out of practice for more than 5 years, I had to undertake 60 days of updating in that year period. And because I worked full-time, I had to find something that I could fit around my full-time work.

You're allowed to do 50 percent of your updating period as private study, so that was the first point. So, I knew that I could do that outwith working hours and then afterwards that meant I had another 30 days of updating to consider. I felt it was important to do most of that as a supervised practice because that would give me the confidence at the end of the period to feel that I was fit to practice, but in order to be able to balance that I was able to undertake some formal study that was linked to the areas of practice I was updating at throughout that period.

So, I did my supervised practice in NHS Fife. I was working at that time full-time in a general management role within NHS Fife, so I made contact with the dietetic department there to ask if it was possible for me to undertake some supervised practice with them. So, my supervised practice experience was a good one. I was very apprehensive as I said at the beginning of the process, but when I contacted the department the team were very supportive, put me in contact with the practice education lead, and she was able to talk me through the process.

I found it very easy to organise my periods of supervised practice, but that was down to me. So, I had to take the lead, but people were very approachable and were very understanding and also helped me to fit that in around my full-time job.

When I gained my registration with the HCPC, I made my decision to take early retirement and so I was in my current rule for the first 6 months of that registration period and then I retired and considered what I would do with my registration.

So, my tips and advice for people considering return to practice are to think about what it is that you can do in terms of the time that you have, so what are your limitations, but what are the possibilities that you can do. The other thing to think about is to be as flexible as possible.

The department that I worked with were very flexible for me, but only because I was prepared to be flexible in return. I had the opportunity to work in the evening, because some of the clinics run in the evenings and there were other opportunities to do different things in the evenings and other courses that helped me considerably. So, I would say flexibility is one of the most important things.


How long did your return to practice journey take?

It took me approximately 13 months from the start of the process to me getting my letter of registration.

Why did you decide to return to practice?

I'd been thinking about returning to practice for a little while. I'd given up my registration in 2008 and had thought a couple of times since then about about that return to practice process, but what prompted me in the end was the fact that I was thinking about early retirement and I wanted to keep my options open. I didn't want to stop working, but I wanted to change what I did.

How did you find returning to practice?

At the start of the process, I was feeling very apprehensive. It had been some time since I had practised and I was unsure whether I would be able to actually complete the process. So, yes, feeling very apprehensive.

The most important part of the process for me was deciding how I would structure that updating period. I was conscious that because I had been out of practice for more than 5 years, so I had to do 60 days of updating in that year period. And because I worked full-time, I had to find something that I could fit around my work.

You're allowed to do 50 percent of your updating period as private study, so that was the first point. I knew that I could do that outwith working hours which meant I had another 30 days of updating to consider. I felt it was important to do most of that as a supervised practice because that would give me the confidence to feel that I was fit to practice. In order to to balance that I also did some formal study that was linked to the areas of practice I was updating.

What was your supervised practice like?

I did my supervised practice in NHS Fife. I was working full-time in a general management role within NHS Fife, so I made contact with the dietetic department there to ask if it was possible for me to undertake some supervised practice with them.

My supervised practice experience was a good one. I was very apprehensive at the beginning of the process, but when I contacted the department, the team were very supportive and put me in contact with the practice education lead, and she was able to talk me through the process.

I found it very easy to organise my periods of supervised practice, but that was down to me. I had to take the lead, but people were very approachable and were very understanding and also helped me to fit that in around my full-time job.

What did you do after you completed your return to practice?

When I gained my registration with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council), I made my decision to take early retirement, so I was in my current rule for the first 6 months of that registration period. Then I retired and considered what I would do with my registration.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of returning to practice as an AHP?

My tips and advice for people considering return to practice are to think about what it is that you can do in terms of the time that you have. Wo what are your limitations, but what are the possibilities that you can do. The other thing to think about is to be as flexible as possible.

The department that I worked with were very flexible for me, but only because I was prepared to be flexible in return. I had the opportunity to work in the evening, because some of the clinics run in the evenings, and there were other opportunities to do different things in the evenings and other courses that helped me considerably. So, I would say flexibility is one of the most important things.

AHP Return to Practice

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