What nurses have to say about balancing work and caring for their families
- ‘It’s a big learning curve going back to work
Tora Vogels has just returned to part-time work at Nepean Hospital in oncology outpatients after being on maternity leave.
‘If the choice for me was between working full-time and not working at all, I wouldn’t have gone back. It’s valuable to spend time with young kids. I’m lucky to have my mum take Kristian for two days a week so I can go back part-time.
‘You work so hard at your career before you have a child. But it’s a big learning curve going back, you forget a lot. If there wasn’t some security about being able to return to your job, you would be apprehensive.’
- ‘Childcare is expensive’
Allison Erwin, an RN at Nepean Private Hospital, is pregnant with her first child and preparing to go on maternity leave.
‘I’m taking six months off. I’m taking all my annual leave plus paid maternity leave. Without that I’d have to come back within a few months for financial reasons.
‘I’m lucky I have a supportive family. My mother will help me out. If I didn’t have the help of my mother I’d have to take longer off. I’d have to think about childcare and I’d prefer my child was looked after by someone I know. Childcare is also very expensive – $60 a day. It would be more worthwhile for me to stay at home with the baby.
‘I’m looking forward to coming back on a part-time basis. It would be too hard to manage to come back full-time.’
- ‘The hardest thing is trying to find the time’
Kristie Allen is on maternity leave from her job in intensive care at Lismore Base Hospital. She has three young kids – Ruby 5, Nellie 2 and Henry, 4 weeks old. Her husband Glen is also a nurse.
‘I find it pretty hard to balance work and family responsibilities. I try to cope day-to-day. The hardest thing is trying to find the time.
‘Paid maternity leave is a great help. The extra five paid weeks we have just won is excellent. It gives us some financial support.
‘I’m looking at taking 12 months’ unpaid parental leave before I go back to work. But if I could I wouldn’t go back for five years so I could spend more time with my kids.
‘When I go back I only want to go back part-time. I couldn’t work full-time, especially with my husband doing shift work.’