Barnsley’s allied health professionals have been supporting a former dietitian to return to her profession through a ‘return to practice’ scheme.
All dietitians must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The return to practice scheme is for professionals who are not currently registered and who need to apply for readmission to the register, or who are registered but have been out of practice for more than two years.
Laura Brown is currently working two days a week with Barnsley allied health professionals in order to refresh her skills and gain updated experience. She explained:
“I qualified as a dietitian in 2003 and started my career in clinical and community posts in South Yorkshire. I moved on to work in a Public Health team from 2010 – 2016, but unfortunately I was then made redundant.
“After I was made redundant I took on a variety of roles, but as they weren’t directly related to dietetics, my professional registration with the HCPC lapsed. I thought the return to practice scheme would be a good idea as dietetics is what I qualified in, it’s my profession, and I wanted to come back to working in the field.
“From the moment I contacted the allied health professionals in Barnsley they were so helpful and supportive. I’m currently working with the team two days a week under supervision, which I combine with my other part-time role in research.
“It’s been really good to come back to the role and get my head back into being a dietitian. I’ve realised things have changed so much since I last practiced! Previously I would do everything using paper records so working with the team has enabled me to understand new IT systems.
“Having this experience made me remember just how many skills you need to have and the knowledge you need to hold, as you do so many different things. For example, one day I may be in a nursing home helping people who are undernourished to eat the right foods, and the next day I might be at a weight management group advising people on how to lose weight.
“I’ll hopefully be re-registered with the HCPC by the end of March. I’ve already started looking for some full time roles and have had an interview. Without my return to practice experience I’m not sure I would have got the interview or had the confidence to apply.
“Taking part in the return to practice scheme has given me confidence as a practitioner and helped me to update my knowledge base. It’s been so nice to be back as part of a team of dietitians and feel part of the profession I qualified in again.”
Specialist dietitian, professional lead and service lead Sarah Armer said: “It’s really important for us to support Laura, both as a colleague and in order to help the wider allied health professional workforce to grow as a critical part of the NHS.”