Mum's the Word: A Parent's Perspective on Nursing

Blog Header Katie Shine 

Juggling a full-time veterinary nursing career with a growing family can be a daunting prospect. Busy shifts, weekend and out-of-hours work, and generally unpredictable shift patterns can make being there for your family as much as you’d like to be a challenge. So how do new mums in the veterinary industry cope? We spoke to Medivet’s very own Head Nurse Katie Shine to find out.

How long have you worked for Medivet?

“I have been nursing with the Medivet Group now for 12 years. I qualified as a registered veterinary nurse here in the UK back in 2008. I had my son in March 2010 and returned to a head nurse position at Medivet Greenwich in August 2010. I enjoy clinical coaching and helping out with practice management. When I'm away from work I love spending time outdoors with my family.”

What would you say was the most challenging thing about juggling family with full-time nursing?

“Veterinary nursing can be stressful and intense at times. Working hours can be long with finishing times not always guaranteed. You can't predict what emergencies will come through those clinic doors, and therefore you can’t always guarantee what time you will get home to your family. This can make it difficult to implement a solid household routine, and you definitely have to learn to adjust and be more flexible with regards to time management.”

What measures, if any, did your employer put in place to assist you throughout your pregnancy and in your return to work?

“Medivet were great. From my pregnancy through to my return to work, I received fantastic support from both my team and the company. They took the health and safety aspect of my pregnancy very seriously – Medivet has very high standards of health and safety. The regularity of checks made on me by the support centre and my team was greatly appreciated. At times they were looking after me better than I was. Any heavy-lifting duties were taken away from me and they made sure I was not exposed to any dangerous drugs or substances that can sometimes be associated with stillbirths. I was also provided with suitable resting areas and increased frequency of breaks, especially as my pregnancy got further along.

“While I was on maternity leave from my original branch, a position at another branch much closer to home came up and I was the first person Medivet thought to contact to see if I was interested. I was so grateful that they took this approach. It has made a huge difference to my daily commute and gives me much-needed extra time with my son.”

What advice would you give to anyone in full-time work thinking of starting a family?

“Choosing to start a family and then returning to work can sometimes be daunting, especially when you know you are sacrificing being with your new-born to do so. It can be an emotional and unsettling time. Having someone to talk to within your practice or your company can be invaluable. I was lucky in that Medivet have their own counselling department for staff. It truly was of benefit to me in times of need. I would encourage anyone thinking of starting a family and then returning to work to find out what provisions their company has in place to support new mums back to the workplace. If your company doesn’t offer a counselling service, at least try and find a manager or colleague that you feel comfortable speaking to should you ever need a bit of extra support.

“From planning a pregnancy, being pregnant and following through to returning to work, it's really important to have support from your team and employers at every stage. I feel really lucky that Medivet offered this to me in such a comprehensive way.”

If you would like more information on beginning a career in veterinary nursing, visit our vet nurse training website page.

Posted December 18, 2015 by Sarah Allen in Vet Professionals

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