Studying and Keeping in Touch

First and foremost enjoy your baby this is such a short time and they grow up so quickly. There is NO EXPECTATION on you to do work activities or study.

If you wish to keep your hand in at work here are some suggestions:

Educational Supervisor and ISCP 

  • You should be allocated an educational supervisor during your leave ideally someone you know well and feel will be supportive.
  • You can remain on ISCP for a reduced fee. This can then be used for reflective writing, recording courses and assessments on KIT days.
  • You can discuss realistic goals for maternity leave or return to work.

KIT/ SuppoRTT days

There should be no expectation on you to do any form of work activity during maternity/adoption leave. However, you are entitled to a maximum of 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT days) during your leave or a maximum of 20 Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLiT) days [NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook | NHS Employers].

These are paid when you return to work at your basic hourly rate minus any maternity pay/allowance received  [NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook | NHS Employers].

  • If you wish to undertake KIT or SPLiT days or other work activities these should be supported. A proactive conversation around the use of KIT or SPLiT days provides a positive and encouraging workplace, acknowledges your place within the team and aids readiness for return to work.
  • If possible, the KIT or SPLiT days should be allowed to take place in the department you will be returning too. This may require the provision of honorary contracts if they are changing area.
  • They should not be used for service provision and ideally you should be supernumerary on those days.
  • KIT or SPLiT days can be used for a number of purposes including attending courses or conferences then the trainee may apply for study funding for this purpose in line with local protocol.

To arrange a working day:

  • Ideally the arrangements (but not necessarily specific dates) should be made prior to Maternity/Adoption leave with an identified supervising consultant, host trust medical staffing and TPD. Although this may not always be possible or opportunities arise after leave starts.
  • Decide on your desired activity and gain support of supervising consultant.
  • Seek approval from TPD.
  • Contact payroll to arrange payment – they will require confirmation from your line manager.
  • To be paid they need to be done during actual maternity leave - not accrued annual leave, during this time you should get TOIL.

Attending Courses/ Conferences

Entitlement to study leave and expenses should continue while on maternity leave – this should be discussed with your TPD as usual. This can be very useful to keep your hand in and retain connection with the team.

  • Can be used for courses as well.
  • Concentrate on areas you lack confidence in.
  • Can be done in your returning trust rather than your leaving trust.
    • Contact the line manager and clinical leads for your returning trust to discuss arranging an honorary contract to cover indemnity etc.
    • Pay will still be provided by your leaving trust.
  • You can use KIT days for courses.
  • Consider taking your baby to conferences.
    • No need to work about colleagues/ rotas.
    • More conferences are becoming baby/ child friendly.
    • Babies can surprisingly good networking tools. 

Studying with kids

Finding time to work, study and raise a family will require creativity and maximising time efficiency. These are some tips from others who have been through it. More can tips can be found here.

  • Tell yourself you are only going to read 1 page or do 10 questions – getting to your desk is the biggest hurdle – once you have done 10 questions you will likely continue.
  • Go in to work 30 minutes early and study then rather than late in the evening.
  • Go to bed with the kids and wake in the night or early morning to study.
  • Use time in between cases to review flash cards or short videos online.

Reading / Studying

  • If you can manage a bit of reading your confidence will likely be higher on return to work.
  • Do not underestimate how sleep deprivation affects your memory and concentration and don’t beat yourself up.
  • If you are struggling to study but still want to keep your hand in, read journals, listen to podcasts, YouTube videos of webinars for bite size information but don’t try and remember just read what interests you.
  • Consider attending your local teaching programme – either virtually or you might be able to take the baby with you, seeing other adults can be very welcome.
  • There are a range of resources available, one such is Orthobullets on your phone, you can do 1 or 2 exam questions while the baby is sleeping on you or feeding.
  • Some babies will sleep and let you get a little time others only cat nap and of course you may have other children to look after so if your circumstances do not allow it don’t worry!

Study techniques

  • Try making flash cards – 3 per study session/ day:
    • Anatomy of 1 structure.
    • 1 aspect of a pathology.
    • 1 basic sciences concept.
    • Review the flash cards made from the previous day and that day the previous week.
  • Make a mind map of a subject before and after reading about it to see what you knew initially and how much you learned:
    • Next time you go back to study the subject add to the map with a different colour.