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NMC: Readmission or practicing whilst lapsed


Lapsing from the NMC register in error or because of a failed payment can be a shock.

This guidance outlines what to expect when you lapse from the register and should be read alongside the NMC information on applying for readmission.

If you’ve lapsed in error, tell your employer immediately. It may be possible to work as a health care assistant rather than face suspension. Both the RCN and NMC support this.

Start to gather your evidence such as new direct debit mandates or proof that you’ve updated your details with the NMC. This may help if your employer conducts an investigation, or decides to suspend or take disciplinary action against you. Contact us if your employer takes any of these actions.

If you’re asked for a written statement, follow our guidance and contact us to have the statement checked before submitting it.

Before starting the readmission process, read the NMC guidance in full.

We recommend that you don’t wait to hear from the NMC. Gather your paperwork and evidence early, taking copies of everything for your own records. Make sure you don’t miss emails from the NMC by checking your spam/junk email folders regularly and adding to your safe senders list.

Although it’s important to act quickly, it’s vital to take the time to ensure the information you enter on NMC online is accurate and up to date. If the NMC needs to come back to you for clarification or further information, it will cause delays meaning it could take up to six weeks to get back on the register.

Don’t assume the application will be successful. The NMC will determine whether it considers you to have sufficient good health and good character.

Writing your reflective statement

It’s important, at every stage, to show that you understand the seriousness of the matter offering insight and showing remorse where appropriate.

Explaining events to the NMC

  • Use the first person (i.e. ‘I’), avoid jargon and use full names and job titles of colleagues. Don’t include patient names.
  • Include the circumstances leading up to your registration lapsing including any mitigation such as sickness, financial difficulties or family crisis.
  • Show that you understand your professional obligation to maintain your registration. If you acted quickly and dealt with the situation promptly, say this.
  • Offer a sincere apology (if appropriate), for example if you’ve lapsed in error or are applying for readmission following a caution or conviction.
  • Provide assurance that this won’t happen again, explaining how you’ll maintain your registration in the future. It can help to consider the impact on your patients, your colleagues, your employer, the reputation of the nursing profession.
  • Include a brief explanation of what being a nurse means to you and your hopes for your future career.
  • Consider your own feelings. Try to explore what you were feeling at the time and afterward. Did these feelings change? This can include feelings such as shame, embarrassment, guilt, regret, relief (that no one was harmed).
  • Never blame anyone else for your actions or treat the events lightly.

If you’ve worked while lapsed

  • If you’ve worked without registration, you’ll need to explain why this happened as part of your reflective statement.
  • If you’ve also worked without registration previously, reference this in your statement, along with your reasons.
  • Note the date that your registration lapsed and the precise number of days that you’ve worked while lapsed. Remember, there’s a difference between dates employed while lapsed and dates you’ve worked while lapsed.

As part of the readmission process, the NMC will also ask for three references. Your referees need to be three different people.

You'll need to provide the:

  • name and NMC PIN of the NMC registrant who will provide your good health and character reference. They must be on the same part of the register as you, have known you for the last year and been in contact in the last 6 months.
  • name and email address of your current employer.
  • name and email address of someone on the NMC’s list of approved signatories, that you’ve known for the last year.

Read the NMC guidance carefully as mistakes with references can lead to delays. 

The NMC may ask for more information. Take your time with your response and provide them with everything they ask for.

Hopefully, you'll be back on the register quickly.

If you are unsuccessful and are refused readmission contact us immediately and gather your paperwork. We'll need to see copies of everything sent to the NMC.

We may be able to put you in touch with our legal team for advice on appealing the decision or reapplying to the register.

Lapsing from the register can come as a shock with serious repercussions, especially if your employer decides to take action against you.

If you need emotional support, please contact our counselling service.


Read more about the disciplinary process and when to contact us for support. 

Statements, investigations and discipline

Find out how to write a statement, prepare for an investigation and understand the disciplinary process.

RCN Counselling

Get help with the emotional impact of problems at work through our dedicated counselling service for members.

Page last updated - 12/06/2024