Returning to Work after Maternity Leave – A Doctor’s Perspective

So I’m back! Again…



My last posts were of our family holiday to France in our Campervan. This was the final adventure of my year of maternity leave before returning to work in NHS General Practice. I thought the return to work would be difficult, but underestimated just how difficult that would actually turn out to be.

In the first few weeks and months I was trying to re-ignite those neurons, searching relentlessly for the medical information that I had stored away somewhere. And it was hard! There were plenty of adjustments to be made too: we had a new IT system to adapt to; my son had started nursery 3 days a week and hubby and I were figuring out the new drop-off/pick-up routines; there was my passion project M’s The Word podcast; friends, family etc… A lot of juggling going on


So I took time away from my non-essential commitments and this blog was one of them… Sorry!

I do feel however, that things are a bit more stable now. I feel like I am less in the return to work haze (akin to the 4th trimester haze I would say) and now feel to look back at the last four months with a bit of clarity.

I even have a few tips for any other medics due to return to work after a prolonged spell away form work…

Image from


It was about 6 months into my year-long maternity leave that I felt interested in the world of medicine again. Before this my desire to learn/refresh just wasn’t there. I suppose this gave me a good 6 months to start to ease myself into ways of gaining and updating my clinical knowledge ready for my return to work


Now I don’t mean read an entire journal… Very unlikely to happen, even if you did have all the time in the world.

Previously the journals that were posted through my door would remain unopened and unread. A terrible waste of paper and resource – I know. I decided to develop a technique which would mean I could ‘read’ the journals that I was receiving.

The 5 articles I selected from October’s BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health Journal

Simply put – be selective. Go to the contents page and circle the 5 (maximum) articles that are of most interest to you. Then ensure that you read these five and be satisfied with that. During nap times I would simply choose one to read and then log this as CPD in my learning portfolio (see CPD App tip below). Journal reading done.


A simple but effective one. There are companies out there that do GP Update courses with an overview of the latest research in various clinical areas. These courses are then backed up by an incredibly handy workbook that is also downloadable. Pop this onto your work desktop and then you have a great reference tool with the latest evidence for when you want to look something up.


Game changer.

I have previously left uploading my CPD to the last minute, preferring instead to make hand-written notes during educational sessions. I then found a CPD App that links with my e-portfolio and some of the e-learning resources that I use regularly. All I would do is read/do a bit of e-learning and then reflect using the phone app. It could be done anywhere! In a cafe, on a walk with baby, whilst breastfeeding on the sofa… No need for paper, pens and scanning. Hello 21st century!!


I have a podcast page on my blog and here I refer to the RCGP podcast. This is a great ‘formal’ learning tool to use whilst on maternity leave (don’t forget to log this as learning on your e-portfolio). However, there are also a range of other health-focused podcasts that I have found and enjoy listening to. Whilst these may not all be appropriate for CPD potential, they do engage the cerebrum and have helped me get back into logical and critical analysis.

Once again a free and very mobile way of studying.

So there you have it!


I’m back to the blog (probably not weekly if i’m being honest)

I’m back to work (on a part-time basis and love the flexibility this allows)

I’m back to the podcast too (please check out series 2 of M’s The word)

Still mumming, still wifey, still me…


Big Hugs


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