Return to Practice Requirements

Introduction to Return to Practice

During the course of their career, many professionals may not practise their profession for a period of time. This may occur for many reasons, which could include parental leave, extended travel, caring responsibilities or illness. We know that these professionals may wish to come back to their profession and resume their practice. However when returning to the profession after a prolonged period (greater than two years) a process of updating or re-familiarisation may be required to ensure safety of both the registrant and the patients or service users in his/her care.  This is why CORU has established this process and set out Return to Practice requirements.

Return to practice requirements applies to anyone who has not practised their profession for more than two years. They apply equally to those who are applying to the register for the first time or for those who are seeking restoration to the register.

Please note that if you have never been registered and have not practised your profession for a period of two years prior to applying for registration, you will need to fill in both an online application form in addition to the Return to Practice form.  

If you take a break in your practice of less than two years, you can begin practising again without having to meet any additional requirements set by CORU. We believe that this is flexible enough to accommodate registrants who take a short break from practice (and particularly for registrants who take leave for family reasons) without compromising public protection and our role in upholding standards.

You should complete the Return to Practice form if:
  • You are a Health and Social Care Professional in one of the professions regulated by CORU

AND

  • You wish to register for the first time in the Republic of Ireland where you are resuming practice in your profession after an absence of two years or more

OR

  • You wish to to return to your register in the Republic of Ireland but have not practised your profession anywhere in the last two years

Application Exceptions

There are certain circumstances where an applicant should not complete the form unless he/she is requested to do so by CORU. If you need clarification whether you need to complete the Return to Practice Form, please contact CORU. 

Applications for restoration to the register

If you are returning to the register after requesting that your record be removed, you will need to complete a restoration to the register form.

If you are returning to the register after having been removed for non-payment of fees, please contact CORU.

If you have been practising outside of the Republic of Ireland in the last two years, you will be required to provide the Board with documentary evidence of this along with your application. 

Overseas Applicants

If you are applying to register for the first time in the Republic of Ireland with an international qualification, you will be required to have your qualification assessed to determine that it meets the standards of proficiency for registration. Further information can be found on the recognition process here.

The Requirements for Return to Practice

0 - 2 years out of practiceno updating required
2 - 5 years out of practiceminimum of 210 hours of updating
5 years or more out of practiceminimum of 420 hours of updating


The Elements of Return to Practice

The period of updating must consist of contact hours spent engaging in one or more of the following:

  1. Supervised practice (please see below for more details),
  2. Formal study (please see below for more details), and/ or
  3. Private study (please see below for more details)

All applicants are required to prepare a learning plan for discussion and agreement with their supervisor prior to commencing their period of supervised practice.

The areas of your profession that you need to update will depend on:

  • the area in which you are going to work when you begin practising again;
  • your previous experience;
  • any relevant skills you gained while you were out of practice; and
  • any relevant developments in your profession while you were out of practice.

Your responsibility

You are responsible for your own period of updating with any assistance that you may get from your supervisor, and for making sure that you meet standards set by your Board before you return to practice. CORU seeks this information so that it can verify that your updating period took place. You are responsible for your own learning, and for deciding whether this updating will allow you to practise in a lawful, safe and effective manner.

Structuring your period of updating

You can do your period of updating either on a full or part-time basis. You do not have to complete your entire period of updating in one go. The only condition is that all of your updating should be completed no more than two years before you apply for registration or restoration to the register.

If you continued to maintain your continuous professional development (CPD) while out of practice, activities in this area may be submitted for consideration if carried out no more than two years before you apply for registration.

The persons involved in your return to practice plan

Supervisor

The supervisor(s) which you select must make reasonable efforts to monitor and supervise your practice of the profession during the supervised practice period and to provide input, assistance and guidance to you as they deem fit. CORU does not set detailed requirements about the level of supervision needed, or the tasks that you need to do. We believe that you should discuss this with your supervisor.

Although in some situations it may be unavoidable, you should ensure that there is no conflict of interest between you and your supervisor. He or she should not be a family member or relative. Please declare in your application form if this is the case. 

Your supervisor must be a registered professional in the same profession. The person must have been in practice in the same profession for a minimum of three years and not been subject to any disciplinary sanction under the Act. You can look for registered professionals by checking the Register.

In choosing your supervisor, you should be aware that he/she can only supervise those activities which are within his/her own scope of practice and that the areas in which you would like to be supervised are within his/her scope of practice. This is so that your supervisor can provide relevant input and guidance, and also to make sure that both you and your supervisor are practising in a lawful, safe and effective manner.

Your supervisor can be but does not have to be the same person as your attesting signatory.

Attesting signatory

You need to ask a professional from your profession’s Register to sign your ‘Updating period cover sheet’, to confirm that you have completed your period of updating (an attesting signatory).

The attesting signatory must be a registered professional in the same profession. The person must have been in practice in the same profession for a minimum of three years and not been subject to any disciplinary sanction under the Act. You can look for registered professionals by checking the Register

The attesting signatory does not need to physically supervise your updating activity, and they do not need to confirm that you are fit to practise. They just need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that you have completed the number of updating hours which are specified for your profession. For example, they might ask to see your certificate from any formal study, or they might ask to see any notes from your private study.

Supervised Practice

Supervised practice consists of the applicant practising the profession under the guidance of a supervisor and in a structured manner in accordance with the learning plan which has been agreed in advance of the practice period between the applicant and his or her supervisor.

Each applicant should familiarise themselves with the domains within the standards of proficiency for their profession prior to preparing his/her learning plan. The learning plan must be structured in a manner consistent with of the standards of proficiency for the profession and it must provide for the applicant to develop, demonstrate and apply his or her knowledge and skills.

Your Learning Plan

Your learning plan must take into account the following:

  1. your experience in the profession
  2. your intended area of practise upon resumption of practice (if known)
  3. the length of time you have not practised the profession
  4. any relevant developments in the profession during the period you have not practised the profession: and
  5. any relevant knowledge and/ or skills acquired or developed by the applicant during the period the applicant has not practised the profession
  6. engagement in Continuing Professional Development (where appropriate)
Formal Study

Formal study consists of the applicant undertaking and participating in educational courses, training or programmes of education and/or training (including structured educational courses or training delivered electronically and/or through distance learning/webinar) relevant to the practice of the profession.

Formal study may include group learning whether undertaken by means of a lecture, workshop, seminar, tutorial, video-conferenced lecture or tutorial or other manner as may be acceptable to the Board.

You are required to provide a summary of your formal study period and how it addressed your learning needs. The purpose of this information is to help the Board evaluate the evidence that the updating that you have carried out will help you to return to the practice of your profession in a safe and effective manner

Private Study

Private study consists of the applicant engaging in one or more of the following:

  1. reading professional journals or publications relevant to his or her area of practice;
  2. engaging in research relevant to the profession generally and/ or his or her area of practice;
  3. engaging in online study or e-learning consisting of education and/or training that is generated, communicated, processed, sent, received, recorded, stored and/or displayed by electronic means or in electronic form including that provided through the internet or other computer network connections, sound and/or visual formats provided through an electronic file, and/or provided through digital or other electronic means;
  4. publishing materials in relation to the profession and/or his or her area of practice; and
  5. other activities as may be acceptable to the Board