• 08 June 2021
  • 10 min read

A Nurses Guide To Taking A Career Break

  • Nicola Wiafe
    NICU Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 491
Play video: "One of the things that you might need to think about is your Nursing registration"

NICU Nurse, Nicola, explains the ins and outs of taking a career break, outlining the official processes and how you can broach the subject with your manager.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Keeping Your Nursing Pin

Look At Your Trust Policy

Talk To Your Manager

Travelling During Your Career Break?

Consider Where You Are In Your Nursing Journey

Career Break Versus Resignation

Length Of Your Career Break

Introduction

Hi guys, my name is Nicola and I'm a Neonatal Nurse.

Today, I'm going to be talking to you all about career breaks.

Keeping Your Nursing Pin

So when considering going on a career break, one of the things that you might need to think about is your Nursing registration.

It can be really tempting if you've taken a career break that is going on more than six months and it's going on into a year, maybe even two years, and particularly also if you go abroad, it can be quite tempting not to renew your Nursing registration within the UK.

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However, I would really strongly advocate that regardless of how long your career break is and whatever you decide to do on your career break, I'd really encourage you to keep your Nursing pin and registration up to date.

The reason being that you don't know how life is gonna go, your career break might get cut short.

You might not actually enjoy what you've decided to do.

And therefore, if you leave your pin to expire and you let your registration lapse, it can actually be quite a timely process to get your pin and your registration back in place.

Look At Your Trust Policy

If a career break is something that you are interested in, one of the things that I would advise you to do is to look at your trust policy and see if they have a career break, sometimes referred to as a secondment policy and see what the policy entails.

What are the rules, the regulations, what is the criteria?

Do you have to have been working in the trust for a particular amount of time?

Are there certain things you can and cannot do whilst you're on your career break with that particular trust?

And if you can't find anything within your trust guidelines and policies, it's still worth speaking with HR or your management, because sometimes these things aren't always readily advertised, but it doesn't mean that those options aren't available to you.

I also find as well that sometimes it can be ward specific.

So if you happen to be lucky enough to work on a ward that has great staffing and great funding, the options might be available to you in comparison to other units.

So I would definitely say, start off with looking at your trust policies and guidelines.

And if you're struggling, then direct your attention to speaking with HR and management.

Talk To Your Manager

One of the things that I would advise you to do is to consider speaking with your manager, particularly if you have a really good working relationship with your manager, I'd really encourage you to approach them, find out about the options that are available to you.

If you feel like you really like working in your unit and you feel like whatever you're gonna do on your career break will not only benefit you as a person, but will also benefit you as a professional and therefore will benefit the unit when you come back, it's really worth putting that thought to management.

Sometimes if a ward really values you as well, there might be room for some flexibility.

And I think it's good to just have a discussion with management.

I find that news sometimes is much more better received when people are approached and not given a sort of surprise warning.

However, if you don't feel comfortable speaking to management about your plans, that's also okay as well.

Travelling During Your Career Break?

One of the things that I would advise people to consider exploring during a career break or a secondment is traveling.

Traveling is an amazing opportunity if you get to do it, it helps you to grow personally and professionally.

So I would definitely say, think about what countries you can go to as a Nurse.

And also consider both Nursing and non-Nursing things that you can do on your career break.

I think it's really important to remember that your career break does not have to be surrounded or based on Nursing.

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Do you have any questions about taking a Career break?

Ask Nicola your questions below

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You might want to volunteer, you might want to study, you might just simply want to travel.

You might want to explore other specialisms.

So I would say for me personally, one of the things that I advocate for and encourage people to do is traveling.

I did that on my career break.

I traveled to Australia and that was an amazing opportunity because I got the best of both worlds.

I was able to travel and grow as a person but I was also able to work within Australia, therefore still growing professionally.

And I still had a job waiting for me back in the UK.

So that was an amazing, amazing opportunity that I was able to have.

Consider Where You Are In Your Nursing Journey

Another thing that I would also advise you to do is to consider where you are in your professional journey.

Are you a Newly Qualified Nurse, have you just completed a course?

Have you just signed up to study a masters?

The reason why I say it's important to consider where you are in your professional journey, is because this will influence, you know, your career break because if you have just been accepted onto a course or you've recently completed a course and you're now deciding to go on a career break, what repercussions are gonna be in place for doing so?

If you are a Newly Qualified Nurse, you need to ask yourself whether a career break when you've only been qualified for six months, if you're planning on Nursing, is necessarily the best idea.

So I would definitely say, consider where you are in your professional journey and analyse and make your decision from there.

Career Break Versus Resignation

Another point to consider is career break versus resignation.

Both options have pros and cons.

The reason why I would initially say to explore a career break or a secondment, as it's sometimes referred to if possible, is because you really do get the best of both worlds with a career break.

Because you have your job or something similar, a similar position waiting for you, whilst being able to go and explore other options, explore other countries, specialisms, volunteer, whatever it is that you decide to do.

And I think that it's nice to have that security blanket if that option is there because should things not go your way, should things not pan out the way that you expect them to, at least you have a job to go back to.

And as I said before, if you really like working in your unit and you really enjoy it and it's somewhere that you see yourself staying, then sometimes opting for that career break rather than leaving is a better option.

However, resignation is also something to consider.

And if a career break is not something that is readily available to you within your trust, then you might have to explore the idea of resigning.

The negatives that come with resigning is obviously you haven't got that security blanket of a job to come back to.

But in saying that, one of the pros to resigning is that you have more freedom.

Length Of Your Career Break

When you do go on your career break or if you are able to go on a career break, what you need to find out as well is how long can you be on a career break for, is there room to extend or are you only allowed to go for a certain amount of time?

Are there any rules about, you definitely have to come back and if you don't come back, what are the rules and the regulations surrounding that?

And so these are some things to consider and to explore.

So I hope you found that useful and that's given you some more insight into career breaks, thank you so much for watching.

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Ask Nicola your questions below

Do you have any questions about taking a Career break?

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About the author

  • Nicola Wiafe
    NICU Nurse

My name is Nicola Wiafe and I am a NICU Nurse with six years worth of Nursing experience. I have previously worked in the NHS, Australia and now I am on a career break Nursing in the Middle East. I also run a Nurse-led aesthetics business alongside my NICU Nursing and I am currently completing my level 7 qualification in aesthetics medicine. I am really passionate about encouraging Nurses to strike a work life balance that works for them.

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  • Nicola Wiafe
    NICU Nurse

About the author

  • Nicola Wiafe
    NICU Nurse

My name is Nicola Wiafe and I am a NICU Nurse with six years worth of Nursing experience. I have previously worked in the NHS, Australia and now I am on a career break Nursing in the Middle East. I also run a Nurse-led aesthetics business alongside my NICU Nursing and I am currently completing my level 7 qualification in aesthetics medicine. I am really passionate about encouraging Nurses to strike a work life balance that works for them.

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