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22 years in NHS over!

(62 Posts)
seaofyou Wed 29-Aug-12 00:46:31

Ok 17 years because of 5 years career break!

I had to take a break to do behavioural therapy on my severly autistic boy to help him talk, reduce challenging behaviours, learn to do everything basically. He has been in a small school now a year with 1:1 etc and I felt ready to return!

I wanted to return to my same hours 22.5 over 3 days, but have all school holidays off (so pay would equal out 16 hours a week).
I asked to work last 3 days so I could do MSc (self funded Mon-Tues) Behaviour Therapy at Uni to ensure I was able to do the psychologist job correctly with qualification as therapy not supplied by LEA anymore even though ds will always have Autism.

Manager said no to working school term time only (even though I would do full day 7.5hrs a day x 3 days a week same as pre career break). Manager said no to those days Wed-Fri (as wanted Mon-Tues off for uni). That I would have to work other days...he didn't even say the reasons why or what other days I would have to work?

I started at 18 years old, so never ever done anything else workwise and a Sister in Community, I loved my job! I am truely devestatedsad
I am a lone parent with no family to help and the cost of SNs childcare is more than I earn! Plus ds holidays are longer so out of school club holiday club times and I know ds would not cope at anyhow.

Any advice please?

seaofyou Fri 31-Aug-12 17:47:11

thanks ssd and Salbertina I am so so sorry you have been through this too it's so painful...thought taking the career break was so bad but this is hurting so bad!

I am devestated tbh, been in terrible state today and head shot as feel so upset that I can't return.

3littlefrogs you are right and I should know more than anyone, thank you. I am trying to fight for a job that isn't practical to my clients, team members etc

Going to sign off for a few days and go away as need space away from it to digest this awful situation and get my head round my career is over. Thank you all for your replies.

ssd Fri 31-Aug-12 18:06:08

no worries

sorry you are in the same boat, its just shit

and it cant be unusual, there must be thousands of experienced, clever and able mums out there working minimum wage/term time jobs they thought was beneath them pre kids sad

Salbertina Fri 31-Aug-12 20:52:30

Sea, pls don't chuck it all away! Your career is NOT over! Good idea to take a couple of days to think but fight for it, it's worth it! Jobs you love with this flexibility (altho not perfect) are like gold-dust!

3littlefrogs Sat 01-Sep-12 09:14:06

ssd you are absolutely right.

There are also lots of clever, talented women who are full time carers for years and years, having given up their careers because there is so little support out there.

Ditto all the clever, talented women who are forced out of their careers because they are unlucky enough to be chronically ill.

Life isn't fair.

Also - I think that the days of having one career for life are long gone. Most of us end up retraining, doing different jobs, whatever we can to earn money and cope with family/caring responsibilities.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 01-Sep-12 09:18:38

Would it be possible to pay for 121 care for your boy over the school holidays?

Yes probably very expensive for your particular circumstances as you can't have an au pair, but maybe a trainee teacher or even a teacher may want to do it for 3 days a week.

They are being inflexible now, but it may be that once you have gone back and they can see what you can do then they may be a bit more accommodating so it could only be for a short period of time.

ValiumQueen Sun 02-Sep-12 08:19:41

I keep coming back to this thread, wanting to post, but also not wanting to offend.

I also have over 20 years continuous service with the NHS, and have had to make decisions that have been good for my family, but not good for my career progression, for example I left a sisters post down south to move to Scotland where my husband was working. In order to work in my chosen speciality, I took a post at band 5, but was promoted again very quickly. Unfortunately due to service redesign, I was not allowed to reapply for the band 6 post, so am now a band 5 again. I am currently on Mat leave with DC3, and hope to return part time.

I asked my boss whether term time only work would be an option, and he said that never happens with frontline staff, due to managing a caseload etc. ( I am community based). I completely understand that. I have yet to have the discussion about hours, but I am hoping to work 5 days a week, but be able to collect my eldest from school at 3. I am currently working on a proposal to evidence that I will actually be better value than my colleagues working until 5pm.

I have a couple of questions - where do you stand contractually? Did you resign, or take a 5 year break, but with a contract to support that? Also, I am assuming you maintained your registration, but I am curious as to how you achieved that.
I am assuming you are a nurse, but hoping to retrain via the Masters to be a behavioural therapist?

My personal opinion is that you are asking a huge amount of your manager, to the extent of being positively cheeky. You want to be working the equivalent of 16 hours a week so you can retrain and leave? You are demanding working specific hours on specific days, with no thought to your team, patients or manager.

I appreciate the challenges you have being a single parent to a child with special needs, but are wanting to do an extremely hard course alongside working, which I do not personally understand, and actually think is rather selfish. There will be tax credit help for childcare, plus other benefits available surely, if you are willing to work the minimum hours required, which I believe will (hopefully) change when the Universal tax system comes into force.

I think you are extremely lucky to be able to return to your previous role and your previous grade, and working part time you will probably be earning pretty much what I do full time. You chose to have a child, but seem to feel that this should not affect your career at all. I am guessing that if you were willing to work say 25 hours a week, including holidays, you would be able to afford childcare. It is your pursuit of developing what is already a good career into something else that is affecting you now.

I also think that when we first started in the NHS, staff did matter, their own personal circumstances etc, but things have changed. It is a business, and we are a commodity. If you did your extra unpaid hours for anything other than your clients, colleagues or selfish reasons, then you were very foolish. If anything, by working extra hours you are not helping the service by making it work when it possibly does not have the resources. Expecting that to mean something is is very naive of you.

I think you are wanting to have your cake and eat it.

seaofyou Wed 05-Sep-12 22:06:11

Thanks to everyone for support, advice and opinions.
I am handing my notice in tomorrow and although devestated can understand from advice given it is the right option.
Anyone got a wine to pass my way as not a drop in the house!

ssd Fri 07-Sep-12 12:05:36


its crap isnt it

acertainage Fri 07-Sep-12 22:14:01

You can appeal under the flexible working policy and like you said HR can look at a transfer for you. I don't think you need to involve unions at the moment because it's not a grievance?I know our policy says the senior manager should look at it not your manager when HR are involved and you have appealed, maybe enquire about this or check your policy. I know our policy gives you a deadline of two weeks to appeal and you have been waiting a while for a form but to be fair to make it official all you need to do is write to your manager and they need to write back. They need to prove it is detrimental for you to work what you are requesting not just that it is significant. Your right to flexible working is provided by section 47 of the employment act 2002.

acertainage Fri 07-Sep-12 22:28:40

Oh sorry didn't check your last post!!Hope you are OK.

seaofyou Fri 12-Apr-13 09:01:34


I couldnt contact my manager as so down and after advice here and off a MN friend BluePenny I decided to see a solicitor.
As a carer to my disabled child they were breaking employment act not looking at flexible working.
Roll on to now and I am returning to my same position but specialised role due to my experience with my own DS. I am over the moon and looking forward to a fresh start.

I start on Monday!

A happy ending to this and a HUGE thank you to those who supported me on this thread and esp BluePenny thanks

JakeBullet Fri 12-Apr-13 09:15:24

That's good news. I didn't see your thread until just now but I was in the same position as you last year. I ended up leaving after nearly 30 years of employment in the NHS. To be fair they were fabulous and allowed me to try a variety of reduced hours and flexible working first but my DS's lack of sleep left me exhausted and as I was a specialist nurse for child protection I just couldn't run the risk of making a massive error of judgement. sad

I am now volunteering as a family support worker with an education charity and claiming Carers Allowance. It's not the same income wise at all needless to say and life is much harder financially but I don't regret dong it as I feel human again. Like you I am a lone parent with little family support and I was in an impossible situation. I wont go back to nursing now but will look at similar work where I am not carrying the can for big decisions.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 09:33:48

Could you do the MSc evenings and weekends by post?
Could you hire a live in au pair even i fyou end up sharing a room with your child to help with childcare and keep working full time?
I work fulltime (5 children single parent like you supporting them alone) and finding reliable childcare is the most important aspect of it all.

Also could you not contract your services back to the NHS through an agency and go self employed?

seaofyou Fri 12-Apr-13 09:37:53

Thanks Jake and {{{HUGS}}} for your situation too very similar and stressful. I had to stop as I ended up having more stress than some of the clients and I had to do Behavioural Therapy with DS 70 hours a week (every minute spare to close the gap as huge with NT dc).

It is hard I agree with disabled child and being a nurse and add to that only nurse with all that responsibility.
I am fortunate due to Gov new Policy and they need specialist role that I have been doing for 5 years at home.

If you contact NMC Jake your role may allow you to maintain your PIN? I worked voluntary with MS Society and DS Behaviour Therapy counted towards hours as I work in MH.

If you can keep your PIN you may well be able to return one day. There is also return to Nursing as another option when family life becomes easier. I am sure your current position you are still bringing expert professional advice and support that is not only fantastic for your clients and company but also gives you positive rewards. But please check with NMC re your PIN.

seaofyou Fri 12-Apr-13 09:47:19

Xenia it is more complicated with child with disabilities....when ds first dx I used to have to attend 20-30 hospital appointments a year and you cant put your child in regular child care. The council offer childcare but at £35 hour you can see why a nurse who earns half that would not be able to work. Disability childcare private is £20-25 hr also. Plus their are not many of them around.

My mum who had 4 of us said it was far easier having 4 NT children than 1 disabled child.

NHS dont tend to do self employed working esp for nurses for the nurse/client protection and NHS Trust mainly for legal reasons.

ssd Fri 12-Apr-13 10:06:57

thats great op!

Bonsoir Fri 12-Apr-13 10:19:36

Xenia - read the update! The OP found a better solution through a solicitor than your half-baked cake!

seaofyou Fri 12-Apr-13 10:20:14

thanks ssd for your support too and Salbert and others...

I am going to work 4 days a week over school hours and school term times. The role also amazing as helping in pre/post diagnosis and support of adults with similar diagnosis to DS.

I feel I am getting my life back smile

Xenia just realised you were replying to my orginal thread thanks for your suggestions smile

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 12:04:53

Ah, an old thread. Had read the update. Glad it worked out. I suppose the moral is see a solicitor and your life will always be improved.

ssd Fri 12-Apr-13 18:46:48

brilliant op!

now if you see an old life wandering about looking lost and alone, please pass it onto me, I lost mine ages ago!!

pansyflimflam Fri 12-Apr-13 18:58:58

How wonderful, great news

Norem Fri 12-Apr-13 19:05:30

I remember your thread, brilliant well done you smile)

seaofyou Sat 13-Apr-13 00:40:37

{{{hugs}}} ssd if its any consolation I am finanically worse off returning to work although mentally/social/physically better off as will have contact with human kind again as can be very isolating with disabled child.

Thank you pansy and norem

ssd Sat 13-Apr-13 15:44:10

oh op, I'm just glad you've found something so good to suit you, the benefits far outweigh the financial aspect x

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 13-Apr-13 15:52:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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