University of Chester

Programme Specification
Return to Practice Midwifery
2014 - 2015

No Formal Award

Return to Practice Midwifery

Return to Practice Midwifery

University of Chester

University of Chester

As determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care

Professional/ Specialist/ Community/ Advanced Practice (Nursing & Midwifery)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

1 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Quality Assurance Agency

Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) - professional accreditation leading to re-registration on the midwives part of the register

Midwifery Subject Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st May 2012

The programme aims to enable a midwife to renew registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and re-enter registered practice with up to date competencies, current skills and confidence, in order to maintain safe and effective standards of woman-centred care.

The programme takes account of all the relevant professional and academic benchmarks in order to achieve this. The aim of the programme is to:

  • Offer a dynamic and quality learning experience that enables students to meet the challenges to become a proficient, confident, safe and accountable midwife whose practice is underpinned by a rigorous evidence base and robust professional values.
  • Prepare students to return to competent professional practice.
  • Facilitate students to achieve fitness for re-registration through clear and individual competencey outcomes.
  • Develop students to be fit for purpose, through reflection and personal development, in all key aspects of a constantly changing maternity service.
  • Develop and promote skills of analytical and reflective thinking in students.
  • Promote the ethos of lifelong learning and commitment to ongoing education and development.
  • Facilitate students to develop decision making skills and use initiative in complex and unpredictable contexts.
  • Equip students to successfully engage in the world of work by acquiring the relevant knowledge and skills that is required by prospective employers. 

Knowledge and Understanding: The learning outcomes for the module clearly show the requirements for all students undertaking the course with regard to the range of programme content and the expected level of achievement commensurate with standard benchmarks. These will include anatomy and physiology, sociology, psychology, health promotion, ethics and research.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills: The programme is designed to foster the development of the students' intellectual/cognitive skills. The close alignment of the teaching, learning and assessment methods requires students to engage with others in both practice and classroom settings, to share ideas, and to gradually develop critical, analytical and reflective skills in, for example, assessment, planning, implementing and evaluation of care, problem solving, reflecting in and on practice, and application of theory to practice.
Practical Skills: The underpinning theoretical and attitudinal base is placed appropriately in the module delivery so that clear links are made between theory and practice. Practical skills will include interpersonal skills, observation, resuscitation, obstetric emergencies, moving and handling and infection control.
Key skills as identified by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCA) are: communication, application of number, information technology, improving own learning and performance, working with others, and problem solving.

  • Communication: Effective communication skills will be inherent in both the modules.
  • Application of number: Students accessing the programme will be working at a level that requires them to be numerate.
  • Information technology: The students' IT skills should be such as to enable them to access the University intranet, bibliographical databases and the internet for academic and clinical studies, use the library effectively and perform literature searches and reviews. Their existing skills will be enhanced in the library induction and information skill session at the beginning of the programme, which will be specific to the University resources.
  • Improving own learning and performance: The programme is designed to facilitate the student in their development on both a personal and professional level.
  • Working with others: The students' ability to work with others will be demonstrated in both the classroom and clinical areas.
  • Problem solving: This area will be developed in both modules.
  • Transferable Professional Skills: The programme fosters many transferable skills, such as time management, negotiation skills and skills for lifelong learning.

The programme structure is designed as one 20 credit module available at level 6, which comprises 50% theory and 50% practice. Midwifery practice requirements are negotiated with the Lead for Midwifery Education to meet the individual's needs. These credits may be integrated into a diploma or degree programme, such as BSc (Hons) Professional Practice, should the practitioner so wish. Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme: Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
MW6007 6 Return to Practice (Midwifery) 20 Comp

20 credits atlevel6will enable the student to return to theMidwives part of the NMC register.

This programme is available to practitioners who have previously completed an approved midwifery education programme, and who have been registered as a midwife with the NMC, but who are unable to comply with the PREP (practice) standard. The PREP (practice) standard states that 'You must have worked in some capacity by virtue of your midwifery qualification during the previous three years for a minimum of 450 hours or have taken an approved return to practice course within the last three years' (NMC 2011).

Midwifery is both mentally and physically demanding and the good character and health of all successful applicants will be assessed to establish fitness to undertake midwifery education. A criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure is carried out on all sucessful candidates. Two references are required from appropriate sources, where possible one of these should be from an academic or employment source. The Occupational Health department examines and assesses the health of all candidates to ensure that they are physically fit to commence midwifery education. In addition, each candidate must be declared 'fit' in accordance with the Clothier report recommendations. This is normaly done via a letter from the candidate's GP.

The following benchmarks have been mapped into the programme to ensure that national and professional regulatory and quality framework standards have been met.

Standards for post-registration education and practice (PREP) (NMC 2011) ( - This PREP standard requires a midwife to meet set criteria in order to renew their registration every 3 years and where this is not possible to undertake an approved return to practice course.

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (QAA, 2008) ( - These benchmark standards represent the general expectations of standards required at a given academic level and articulate the knowledge and skills that should be demonstrated by someone who wishes to re-register on the relevant part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of the UK register.

The NMC Standards of Proficiency, Standards for pre-registration midwifery education (NMC, 2009) (

QAA Midwifery subject benchmarks (QAA, 2001) (

The above benchmark standards represent the general expectations of standards for the award of qualification at a given level, and articulate the attributes and capabilities that should be demonstrated by a registered midwife. These are the minimum standards that a return to practice midwifery practitioner would be expected to achieve.


A variety of methods of teaching and learning will be employed. Methods of learning and teaching will include, formal lectures, group and individual tutorials, discussion and debate, simulated pratice in skills laboratory, reflection, experiental learning, directed study using E learning, problem based workshops and seminars/presentations.  

The methods of learning and teaching used will have a clear focus on student centred learning. This will facilitate the student to become an increasingly autonmous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes. This will require the student to actively identify and negotiate specific individualised learning outcomes within the parameters of the module learning outcomes.

The teaching, learning and assessment strategies for the programme are designed to facilitate the student to gain knowledge of key and current evidenced based theoretical components and apply this theory base to practice. Students on the programme are encouraged to challenge current thinking and practice. Seminars and group work will provide forums for students to articulate thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and develop skills in constructing intellectual concepts for debate.

The student will also gain exposure to a range of midwifery clinical scenarios with opportunities for observation in practice, and practice under direct supervision leading to re-capulation and proficiencey of all key midwifery skills.

Students will be summatively assessed through a portfolio of evidence. The evidence will demonstrate that the student has met the programme learning outcomes in theory and practice.  Evidence includes an assignment, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) which examine competence in specific midwifery skills and Standards of Proficiency documentation. 

Formative assessment will be by a review of progress toward theoretical and practice learning outcomes at the intermediate assessment point. Tutorials both individual and group will be available during the theoretical component of the programme.

The reassessment strategy will be reassessment of the failed element. All assessments must be passed.

Practitioners will Return to Practice on the midwives part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a graduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics at level 6 (see below).


Acquisition of knowledge that is at the forefront of at least some aspects of the subject, and which is informed substantially by current research or other advanced scholarship. Apply the methods, techniques and modes of practice that they have learned and review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding.


Conceptual understanding that enables the student to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced standing in the subject. Appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiquity and limits of knowledge.

Theory/practice link:

Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques enabling them to take initiatives and accept significant responsibility within organisations.


Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions, in a variety of formats appropriate to both specialist and non specialist audiences.

The characteristics of the successful student would be that of a clinically able practitoner who demonstrates a professional attitude and who is able to assess, plan, implement and evaluate the care of a woman or group of women in their care. Students following this programme will typically gain employment as midwives within NHS trusts (hospitals or community), the independant sector, the armed forces or abroad.


The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The NMC (2011) specify that the minimum length of Return to Practice programmes will not be less than five days. This programme comprises a minimum of 100 theory hours and 100 practice hours. The practice hours for midwives will be determined by the Lead Midwife for Education.

Although section 16 reads 'as specified', the maximum amount of time a student can take to achieve the Return to Midwifery course is 12 months.

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