Fowler J, Abinett K Planning the duty rota. Four. Juggling the rota. Nurs Times. 1984; 80:(29)40-41

From staff nurse to nurse consultant: Survival Guide part 9: Combining parenthood and work

27 February 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 4


John Fowler, Educational Consultant, explores how to survive your nursing career

If you have ever tried to plan the ‘off-duty’ rota you will appreciate the difficulties involved in trying to accommodate all the requests and restrictions made by your staff because of their social and personal commitments. Some staff care for elderly relatives, many have young children, and everyone has a social life with regular commitments. Some years ago I co-wrote an article called ‘juggling the rota’ (Fowler and Abinett, 1984) and I feel that, today, for many staff with significant personal and particularly childcare responsibilities, it is about juggling your life.

As I reflect on my own experiences of parenting four children and caring for an elderly mother, and the many differing caring experiences of students and qualified staff that I've worked with over the years, I realise the immense amount of planning, commitment and energy required to combine work and parenting or caring.

I know of one person who employed a live-in nanny; she sorted out the children in the morning, took them to school, did the washing and ironing and prepared a meal for when people came home. Sounds ideal doesn't it, but how many of us could afford this option? And even if you could, wouldn't you feel that you were missing out on actually being a parent? Most of us have to plan and juggle childcare and work between ourselves and our partners.

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