Surina's Top Five Tips for GPs Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
Returning to work after maternity leave was an eye-opening experience for me. After the roller-coaster ride of motherhood, here I was, the night before returning to work, stressing about leaving my baby and trying to recall how to use EMIS again!
I've put together 5 top tips shared by hardworking GP mothers to help those of you facing a similar transition of returning to work after maternity leave.
Tip 1 Neutralise Mothers' Guilt
You may feel guilty for returning to work. You may feel guilty that you don't feel guilty at all! Remember to give yourself credit for being the multitasking, crisis managing superhuman that is a working mother. Recognise it's not an easy job and kudos to you for giving it your all. A good support network and a work life balance will help. I'm not sure it ever disappears though.
Tip 2 Plan Effectively
Your return to work will involve more logistical planning than the UN in a war zone:
- Childcare - whether you opt for a nanny or nursery, arrange this early on. Consider starting nursery a month before you return to make the transition easier. There may be tears, not necessarily from the baby. I cried when dropping my daughter to nursery for the first time and had to be consoled by the nursery staff - I'm told this is normal?
- Contingency - consider what you will do if your child is sick or if you’re delayed at work. For locums it useful to have phone numbers of other locums to help cover each other at short notice.
- Plan your annual leave to allow regular breaks
- Plan your return so it's not coinciding with switching to bottle feeds or weaning. Many find it harder returning in winter.
Tip 3 Preparation Is Key
- Be realistic about how many sessions you can manage
- Consider a phased return with extra catch up slots
- Liaise with IT and ensure your passwords are working before returning.
- Get all your paperwork in order (Network Locum (now Lantum) have online CRB, BLS and child protection resources).
Tip 4. Get Organised
- Increase your efficiency by multitasking your work related tasks eg get your CPD points and clinical updates on the go through podcasts or webinars.
- As a locum you can book jobs in seconds using the Network Locum (now Lantum) App.
- Keep track of all important tasks - I like the 'reminder app' from the App Store,Save the BNF online link on your desktop to easily access drug doses and interactions.
Tip 5. Get Support
- Consider if your partner can take leave during the initial weeks to help the transition.
- Utilise GP support networks (Tiko’s GP Group or Melissa & Wills Locum group)
- Remember to look after yourself and aim for a life of happy balance rather than organised chaos!
Looking back the first few weeks at work were a steep learning curve...did I survive without any major issues?...yes...did I sometimes start a consultation unable to get the theme tune to Peppa Pig out of my mind? Absolutely.