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You are here: Home \ Trust \ News \ Jul - Dec 2015 \ RD&E ICU nurse wins Returnee to practice of the year award


RD&E ICU nurse wins Returnee to practice of the year award


Melissa Phillips, a nurse on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, has won the award for Returnee to Practice of the Year in Devon and Cornwall at the Health Education South West Awards (HESW).  

The inaugural awards, hosted by HESW at a ceremony in Taunton, celebrated the huge contribution made by nurses, midwives and health visitors who have completed their journey back to practice after time away from the NHS. 

Melissa recently returned to nursing after spending seven years away from the profession.

Melissa said: “I had been working at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the ICU for about eight years but due to my son’s Type 1 diabetes, family commitments had to take priority, so I reduced my hours and moved to a role in Recovery.”

Shortly after, the family relocated to Devon, and Melissa made the decision to leave nursing and took a job as a Teaching Assistant so she could have more time to look after her son.

“As he’s got older I’ve revaluated things and realised how much I missed nursing. So I contacted Plymouth University who offered me a place on their return to practice course starting in June 2014.” added Melissa.
Part of the course required her to undertake a number of clinical hours on placement, which she completed in the ICU at the RD&E.

Melissa said: “It was my absolute dream to get back to ICU. That’s where my heart is. It was very challenging but a great experience, and the ICU team were very supportive too. I was given a mentor, Charge Nurse Matt, who was absolutely brilliant and helped me through all of my competencies.  I found everyone professional, supportive and approachable.”

After receiving her nursing PIN to enable her to practice again in January this year, Melissa was offered a job at the RD&E.

“I did what I did for my family and I don’t regret it at all. They had to come first. But the fact that I’ve been able to get back to nursing in ICU has been incredible and receiving this award had just been the icing on the cake!”

The HESW awards marked a year since the Return to Practice model was launched in the region. The initiative works by allowing former nurses, midwives and health visitors to re-register by undertaking a flexible refresher course. Since its launch 160 nurses and seven midwives are on or have completed their journey back to practice in the South West bringing with them a wealth of experience.


To find out more about the awards and the Return to Practice initiative visit


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