University of Chester

Programme Specification
Return to Practice Midwifery
2017 - 2018

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 (NMC) (2009) Standards of Proficiency for Pre-registration Midwifery Education

Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Healthcare Programmes

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

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Midwifery Module 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:

   (i) European Community Midwives Directive, 80/155/EEC.

(ii) European Community Midwives Directive, 89/594/EEC - Midwives Rules and Standards (2012) Nursing and Midwifery Council, London.

(iii) QAA Academic and Practitioner Standards for Midwifery (QAA August 2001) - Standards of Proficiency for Pre-registration Midwifery Education (2009), Nursing and Midwifery Council, London.

(iv) Standards to support learning and assessment in practice (2008) Nursing and Midwifery Council, London

(v) Quality Assurance Handbook (2014) Nursing and Midwifery Council, London

(vi) The Code Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives (2015) Nursing and Midwifery Council, London.

The aims of the programme are 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. 

Evaluate the underpinning theoretical base of midwifery using a reflective framework, including:

  • Professional, legal and ethical issues (MW6007).
  • Key concepts, principles and policies related to midwifery care (MW6007).
  • The evidence-based approach and dissemination of information (MW6007).
  • Anatomy and physiology, sociology, psychology, health promotion, ethics and research (MW6007).

The learning outcomes for the programme (made up of one module) clearly shows 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. The teaching, learning, and assessment strategies for the programme are designed to facilitate the student to gain knowledge and develop a sound understanding of all theoretical components and, importantly, apply the theory base to practice. Progression of the students' knowledge and understanding is thus demonstrated through the learning outcomes, the variety of assessment strategies, the ongoing record of achievement and the level-related assessment marking criteria.

The ability to:

  • Analyse and evaluate self-management and direction, and the ability to think logically and critically (MW6007).
  • Evaluate the delivery and management of care using reflective, problem solving and decision-making skills (MW6007).
  • Explore, analyse and process information applicable to their area of practice (MW6007).

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.

The ability to:

  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups (MW6007).
  • Identify, analyse and integrate appropriate evidence to underpin practice (MW6007).
  • Select and utilise effective midwifery skills (MW6007).
  • Demonstrate accountability and responsibility when undertaking the delivery of midwifery care (MW6007).

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,


The ability to:

  • Communicate effectively at both individual and group levels (MW6007).
  • Select and utilise appropriate technologies to process information (MW6007).
  • Work collaboratively within an inter-professional environment (MW6007).
  • Apply and evaluate literacy and numeracy skills (MW6007).
  • Identify and utilise a self-directed approach to learning in both formal and informal environments (MW6007).
  • Develop a logical approach to problem-solving in a caring environment (MW6007)


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.

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

20 credits at level 6 will enable the student to return to the Midwives part of the NMC register.

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%.

Students are only allowed two attempts at practice assessment.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) - professional accreditation leading to re-registration on the midwives part of the 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 further midwifery education. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) advanced check 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.

Additionally as part of the admissions process, the midwife needs to obtain agreement for a practice placement within a local trust with a Head of Midwifery/ Supervisor of Midwives. A final decision for successful admission onto the programme occurs following a subsequent tripartite interview between the midwife, programme leader and Head of Midwifery/Supervisor of Midwives at the agreed Trust.

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 NMC Standards 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).


Demonstrate reasoning with regard to complex issues which shows a suitability to explore and develop alternative solutions.


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 scholarship, in the subject. Demonstrate appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity 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.


Demonstrate critical analysis and be able to deal with complex issues.

Problem solving

Consider abstract data, concepts and/or raw materials and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution, or identify a range of solutions to a problem.

Evaluating evidence and argument

Demonstrate an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements

Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate current research methodology and scholarship.


Demonstrate an ability to communicate 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 between150-450 practice hours according to the midwives individual needs for returning to practice. The individual practice hours for midwives will be negotiated between the midwife and the Programme Leader.

Although section 12 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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