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Retraining to be a nurse/health visitor after having children

(15 Posts)
Bucksmum23 Wed 04-Jan-17 10:57:40

I'm looking into possibility of retraining to become a nurse/health visitor after 18 years in commercial sector and 2 years as a SAHM. Any advice from anyone who has done this / thinking of doing this and advice on how to manage it with 2 children (3 & 5 years old) & childcare etc? Hoping to start 3 year nursing degree in Sept 17, 50% uni (Sept - Jan) / 50% placements (Feb - June). I would have Xmas/Easter/Summer Hols off. Husband works long hours so can't really help with childcare very much. Thanks in advance!

Babyroobs Sun 08-Jan-17 23:39:56

I would make sure you have flexible childcare options in place as placements could involve travel miles away or having to work some weekends/ nights. I think you possibly might have to work the same shifts as your mentor on placements which could involve 12 hour shifts. This is what happens in my place of work anyway.

Bucksmum23 Sun 08-Jan-17 23:56:40

Thank you babyroobs. Yes I'm thinking a nanny or similar might be the only option for childcare. Are you already a trained nurse or in training out of interest?

anyname123 Tue 10-Jan-17 16:15:11

A few years ago this was the case:
In year one you aren't obligated to do nights, and in years 2 and 3 only a few weeks of nights per placement.
Most mentors are flexible if you have the right attitude, they won't make you do weekend's if you work your ass off whilst you are on placement, the first sign of you being not 100% commuted and they'll have you mirror their off duty, no matter how hellish.
Chances are you'll get at least one community placement, which is mainly 9-5. Depending on where you live placements could be 30+ miles away.
Good luck OP, nursing is a really rewarding career

Babyroobs Tue 10-Jan-17 16:46:05

I have been qualified many years and we do have student nurses in the unit where I work. They generally work similar shifts to their mentor, but as pp says they are generally flexible. We are currently switching from a 7.5 hour shift system to 12 hour days and nights so I'm assuming students will do 12 hours the same as their mentors. I think most hospital placements do a 12 hour day/ night shift pattern.

Babyroobs Tue 10-Jan-17 16:47:52

Also we tend to have 2nd and 3rd year students but I'm not sure of whether first year students do nights. I imagine 12 hour nightshift with small children could be hellish, so hopefully you will have very few of them.

Solymar Tue 10-Jan-17 17:01:08


I'm currently a student nurse but off on maternity leave. In our university we don't get all of school holidays off so I wound double check this as most students I've come across from other universities don't either? We are only required to do one week of nights for the full three years although many placements will put you on more so you would have to ask to change. Lots of my fellow students are mothers so it definitely is possible you just need good support. I worked in healthcare before starting my training and have always found it really rewarding and I'm thoroughly enjoying my training. Good luck xx

Sipperskipper Tue 10-Jan-17 17:04:22

Hi, qualified nurse here. I second checking holidays. Certainly when I studied (10 yrs ago now) but is the case for current students at our 2 linked unis, they are expected to work shifts (weekends / nights / days) on placements throughout the year, and don't have all school / Christmas holidays off.

Definately double check!

Bucksmum23 Tue 10-Jan-17 23:20:08

Thanks so much for the tips/advice Babyroobs, anyname123, solymar, sipperskipper, definitely lots to think about! I'm applying through UCAS this week to potentially start in September 2017 so I'm really hoping that I now get an interview now fingers crossed. I have seen a initial calendar for the Uni for 2017 onwards and it appears that we do get Easter/ Summer/ Christmas holidays off but not half terms. I've also spoken to them today and they've suggested I should allow for 5 days/full time childcare for the whole year so I really need to start thinking about that next... Thanks again smile

Sipperskipper Wed 11-Jan-17 06:30:18

Wishing you lots of luck with your interview and application.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 11-Jan-17 06:41:45

Please check the holidays - I don't know any student nurses who have had anything like that much time off. Everyone has described it as a full time job plus a full time degree. The university holidays for the non-vocational degrees may not reflect those of you doing nursing. Ring the department for a chat.

Whilst absolutely wishing you very well, that is worth checking ASAP. Also, your husband may need to be very flexible for these years! Good luck!

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 11-Jan-17 06:51:11

I'm a student nurse and I get xmas, easter and summer off. You may not get the whole summer off if you need to redo assignments or catch up on placement hours, but most do.

We also got the half term while we were on the theory block, although obviously won't get those while on placement.

As for childcare, it's doable. The worst part is the lack of advance notice of shifts, so whatever childcare you have needs to be flexible.

lilydaisyrose Wed 11-Jan-17 06:54:31

I wish you loads of luck. I'd love to train as a nurse then HV - however just had DC3 and have no way of affording the training/time out of work - it's still a dream though so maybe one day!

Bucksmum23 Wed 11-Jan-17 14:00:46

Thanks again everyone. One other question, I would like to potentially train as a health visitor after nursing training, is adult or child nursing the best degree to do? I was thinking of studying child nursing but a few things I've read online say that it is best to study adult nursing instead and that child nursing jobs are harder to get after qualifying vs adult nursing jobs, is that true broadly speaking?

justkeeponsmiling Wed 11-Jan-17 14:14:50

I'm a qualified adult nurse but am now working in neonatal care. In theory it doesn't matter what you trained as in order to become a HV, any yes, I would definetly recommend adult nursing as you will be able to work in most specialities, including paeds. But as a paeds nurse you will not be able to work outside your speciality.
The only thing to bear in mind is that, at least where I live, places for HV training are hard to get and in order to get in it will be helpful or maybe even essential, to have some sort of experience of working with children. So my recommendation would be to do adult training and then try and get a job working with children. Another thing to bear in mind also is that you might well change your mind - I trained with the firm intention of wanting to be a midwife but soon realised that I actually loved nursing and now have a fantastic job. Training as an adult nurse opens so many doors, it's a great oportunity!
I started training when my first DD was 3yo and had my second DD during training. It was hard but definitely do-able. Good support from a DH and/or family is essential, and if you can afford a nanny you will be fine. Good luck smile

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