SCHF helps paediatric trainees return to work after leave.

23 October 2023 | Expected time to read: 3-4 minutes

In the next year alone, more than 170,000 sick kids will walk through the doors of our state’s children’s hospitals and rely on the various paediatric services for much needed help. It will take a team like no other to ensure these sick kids continue to receive the world-class care they need and deserve.

That’s why, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) is proud to support the re-training of paediatric nurses and doctors who are returning to work after parental or extended leave. 

In exciting news, funds from our Gold Dinner 2022 have supported the pilot of a new program at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) called Paediatric Trainees Returning After Maternity (or Extended Leave) (PRAM).

(Image: Gold Dinner 2022 table setting).

The first of its kind, PRAM provides hands on education and mentorship for paediatric nurses and doctors returning to the workforce after parental leave. It is facilitated bi-annually by the Critical Care Simulation Team at SCH which is proudly funded by SCHF.

For many professionals like Dr Ritu Chaurasia, a Paediatric Registrar at SCH, returning to the workforce after parental leave can be challenging. It can take time to harness the buried knowledge that once was and to navigate through the emotions that come with parenthood.  

When Dr Chaurasia recently returned to work after a year of maternity leave, she was thrilled to hear about the course from colleagues. She says, “As if adjusting to parenthood was not enough of a challenge, before I knew it, I was already getting ready to adjust to juggling a baby at home and going back to work. Although the year went by quickly, it felt like an eternity since I had been working. I was nervous about being thrown back into a high-pressure environment and looking after many sick children, after an entire year of focusing on just one well child.” 

Dr Sasha Symonds, a Paediatric Emergency Physician and Co-Medical Lead of the simulation team, explains Dr Chaurasia isn’t alone and this is a common experience. Recognising the need to provide specialised training, Dr Symonds co-developed the program.

“There was an overwhelming need for a course to re-educate our staff so that their knowledge is up to date, enabling them to re-enter the workforce feeling supported through their journey back to work.”

By providing staff with access to free full day workshops consisting of various sessions led by senior staff specialists, healthcare professionals like Dr Chaurasia have the opportunity to refresh their key clinical knowledge, review the latest clinical guidelines, and any recent changes in clinical practice.

These sessions have a core focus on wellbeing and also provide a safe space for discussions around the challenges and differences individuals face following parental leave. 

Following the success of the pilot course held earlier this year and with the ongoing and generous support of donors, there are plans to extend offers to staff at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and expand to state and national levels, to capture as many clinicians transitioning back into the workforce from parental leave as possible.  

(Image: Dr Chaurasia in training). 

“PRAM made returning to work much less daunting. After the course I was excited to get back into paediatrics and use the medical side of my brain again. It helped me realise that even though I had been away from work for a long time, the muscle memory and knowledge of years of work experience before I had taken a break was still there,” Dr Chaurasia said.

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As one of the largest and most trusted kids’ health charities in the country, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation directs funds to where it’s needed most on the frontline of children’s healthcare.

Whether it’s used for new equipment, groundbreaking research, building state-of-the-art facilities and training and education programs like PRAM, the money we raise helps ensure sick kids continue to have access to the best possible care.

SCHF is currently seeking funding for several training and education programs like PRAM, that will support the bright minds of Sydney’s two world-leading paediatric hospitals and it’s services.

To help us change the landscape of children’s healthcare and go all in for kids’ health, donate today.

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