Getting Started As A Maternity Nurse
I’ve recently been approached by a nanny with 15 years experience, who is also a proud new mother. She had a question for me that I’m often asked; ‘how do I get started as a maternity nurse?’
It was immediately obvious that the nanny in question clearly loved her role working with children. Perhaps transitioning from nanny to mother opened up a whole new idea of the type of care she could provide.
Supporting families during such an intimate and special time is hugely rewarding but also very demanding. But it doesn’t suit everyone. So, the key question you should ask yourself before exploring the possibility of becoming a maternity nurse is, ‘would this be the right career for me?’
From my experience, having helped many maternity nurses negotiate positions and terms with families and private employers, here’s a few key things you should consider in order to help you find the answer to whether becoming a maternity nurse is the right career choice for you.
– Your Employment Background
Maternity nurses come from a variety of backgrounds, including private nannying, nursery and nurse care, or even a medical background as a midwife or paediatric nurse. Having a related background in your chosen field, and being educated in either a childcare or medical field, is strongly advised and will certainly help you with your career as a maternity nurse. But it isn’t essential.
Some maternity nurses have a completely different background, and make the transition after becoming a mother themselves. That being said, if you do decide to make this change without a childcare or medical background, you’ll need to understand that you’ll have a challenge ahead.
– The Pros Of Being A Maternity Nurse
With any new career choice, there will always be positives and negatives. So it’s worth considering these before making the jump. The “pro’s” vary depending on personality.
- In our experience, maternity nurses tell us they love the precious moments they spend with a family; watching babies develop and being able to offer invaluable advice to parents and relatives to help them make the most of their baby experience.
- You’ll become an expert as your career develops; with each new experience, you learn something new. You’ll follow new research and guidelines, attend seminars, read books or blogs – whatever you feel benefits your knowledge and understanding. The more experienced and knowledgeable you become, the higher a rate you may charge. A postnatal carer can earn anything from £13ph to £20ph up north and more down south.
- You’ll also have more control over your time and your career. If you want to take a 3-month holiday, you can. If you only want to work in a certain city, that’s fine. If you prefer to only work certain hours, why not. You’ll of course restrict yourself and potentially restrict your earnings but if you can make it work it’s great! You will oversee writing up a contract and asking parents to sign it before you’re booked, which means you can include your own terms.
– The Cons Of Being A Maternity Nurse
This brings us neatly to our “cons”:
- You’re in charge of your own career, right? So, this means you’re self-employed. You’ll need to look after your own tax and national insurance with HMRC. You won’t be paid holiday or sick leave, and you’ll need to manage your bookings and income fluidly throughout the year.
- You may have a few months without work so you’ll need to save a rainy day fund, or have a second flexible job that you can pick up if needed.
- You may also come across sticky situations where you’re not happy in a certain role. At other times, you might find yourself in a position that’s not progressing as planned.
I’m sure if you spend an hour over a coffee with an experienced maternity nurse they’ll be able to offer you much more of an insight on the real pro’s and con’s!