Working mothers make brilliant jugglers

Juggling work, family, study and financial survival is no small ask, says RN Jade Starkey, who has just started maternity leave to look after baby Ruby.

‘We were under financial pressure even before I had the baby. I was going to work up until 37 weeks but I got sick and I had to take time off 10 weeks early. We had to rely on savings and use up my holidays and sick leave to survive,’ she said.

‘The new paid maternity leave of 14 weeks made a big difference – it gave us huge security as I was the principal breadwinner. But if we hadn’t had money saved we couldn’t have had the baby.’

Jade says it is not only work and family commitments that make family life hard for nurses but also the need to study and do shift work.
‘When I was four weeks pregnant I got my CNS status, which meant I had to attend conferences, do research and fulfil other criteria. So I’m not only juggling work and family but also study.

‘I love what I do but everything in nursing changes so quickly. You need to keep up. It puts huge pressure on nurses who want to have a family.

‘I’ve already started looking at childcare because there is a one-year waiting list. But it’s not easy to find something because I’m on a rotating roster and childcare centres don’t cater for that.

Have your say 
The State government has launched an online work and family survey to gather an overview of the work and life issues of both employers and employees in NSW. Nurses are encouraged to complete the survey – found on the NSW Office of Industrial Relations’ website