Parent Key Worker Interviews

With roughly 1.5 million people working for the NHS across the country and 750,000 signing up to the recent COVID-19 call for volunteers, we wanted to talk to some of the many nursery parents we have at Kids Planet who are employed by the NHS about their experiences of the pandemic and working on the NHS  whilst looking after their little ones.

 

On the 5th July, the NHS celebrates it’s 72nd birthday with a one-off clap for key workers taking place. For our final key worker interview, we spoke Victoria a parent at our Lymm nursery and NHS Doctor looking after cancer patients.

What’s your role in the NHS?
I work as an NHS doctor caring for patients with cancer.

Your children are still attending nursery during the pandemic, how has this been?
I am incredibly grateful to the key workers at Kids Planet continuing to provide outstanding care and nurture for my boys, particularly at a time when the home situation is so different. In response to the pandemic I have changed my role in the NHS, increasing my hours and on call commitments and my young children are aware that I may not be at home as frequently. Knowing that they are being cared for in a familiar, loving environment is a weight of my shoulders. The knowledge that the boys are safe and happy means I can focus on my job at this challenging time for the NHS. The staff at KP are amazing and it is a testament to them that even in these uncertain times, when children have been socially distanced from friends and family, my boys continue to laugh, play and thrive.

How did that make you feel?
I am aware that by continuing to care for my children that staff at kids planet are putting themselves at increased risk and all I can say is thank you!!

Have you noticed any changes during his time in nursery?
There are reduced numbers at nursery. Lots of familiar faces in terms of staff ( from recent and over the years!). For the boys its business as usual and that’s exactly how I want it for them.

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Five months on from the first case of Coronavirus in the UK, we continue to celebrate and thank the amazing work being carried out by key workers in the NHS. Here, we talk to Amanda a parent at our Greenbank nursery in Liverpool about her experiences as an Operations Manager in the NHS.

What’s your job title?
Operations Manager – Pharmacy Aseptics

What does your role in the NHS involve?
I am based in the Aseptic Unit (an area within Pharmacy).
I oversee the day to day running of the Aseptic Unit. It’s a clean room environment. Where we prepare chemotherapy, antibiotics, Intravenous nutrition bags and various drugs in prefilled syringes for use on hospital wards.

How are you feeling about working for the NHS during this time?
I always wanted to work in the NHS so I could help people, that’s what I love about my job. Coming into work during the pandemic is no different, I’m involved in helping people recover and that’s what keeps me going.

Where is your child at nursery?
Kids Planet Greenbank Park

How many hours do they do there each week?
My daughter does 3 full days a week there.

Have your childcare arrangements had to change due to the pandemic?
Yes, grandparents normally look after my daughter during the week too, they are in the vulnerable category therefore are shielding. My partner (who also works in the NHS) has swapped his working days to working at the weekend to allow him time off in the week. I also don’t work on one of the days my daughter is in nursery. So I’ve not been sending her in on that day, and keeping her at home with me. So as to not take advantage or abuse the service the nursery are providing.

How have you felt about any changes to your work/childcare routine?
We’ve been very fortunate that the nursery has remained open, enabling us both to go to work. We’ve just had to do what needed to be done, to be able to carry out our jobs and to provide care for our daughter.

How have your family been coping since the pandemic started?
We’ve been coping and have adapted well. Our daughter had so many questions, why her friends weren’t in nursery, why she still had to go, why she couldn’t visit family and friends. We try to shield her as much as possible but have to provide answers to a curious 4 year old. We were as honest as we could be, and she’s taken it in her stride. In fact as time has gone on it’s become the norm for us all. We are missing our family and friends so much and can’t wait to meet up and give them a big hug, when restrictions are lifted.

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In the second of our mini interviews with Kids Planet parents who work for the NHS, we spoke to Laura whose daughter had just moved into the preschool room at our nursery in Dukinfield when schools and nurseries closed to all non-keyworker children. Here’s what she had to say:

What is your job title?
I’m a Maternity Support Worker

What does your role in the NHS involve?
I aid the midwives on the labour and postnatal wards, helping look after the patients and their new-borns. Taking observations, helping them learn how to take care of their babies and any other needs they have while an inpatient.

How are you feeling about working for the NHS during this time?
In a strange way it feels more rewarding and humbling. Everyone is taking extra time and effort to look out for each other and check on people’s wellbeing. I am lucky that my area of the hospital is away from all the Covid wards, but it can be daunting to hear stories from other colleagues in other areas.

Where is your child at nursery?
She started at preschool the week the schools and nurseries all closed to non-keyworker children at Kids Planet in Dukinfield.

How many hours do they do there each week?
She does 2 full days.

Has your childcare arrangements had to change due to the pandemic?
Before the pandemic happened my mum helped out with childcare, having Daisy at least once a week, now we have to try and juggle my shifts and my partner trying to do his job too, meaning he is often working later in to the evenings so he can look after Daisy while I’m working. I’m currently working different days and hours to help when needed as you can imagine at lot of staff are currently off sick so there is added pressure to those able to work. Kids planet have been amazing at allowing us to be flexible with Daisy’s days in nursery for us both to be able to do our jobs as best we can.

How have you felt about any changes to your work/childcare routine?
It’s not been the easiest as we obviously have no one else to help out so we’re both continuing to work and look after a 3 year old at the same time but we’ve just had to adapt as best we can and try and keep routine as normal as possible for Daisy.

How have your family been coping since the pandemic started?
As already mentioned it isn’t always easy without the support of family and friends, its hard to explain things to Daisy especially as to why she can’t see her grandparents at the moments, but it is nice that she has the routine of nursery and still gets to see her nursery friends who she talks about all the time.

Any other thoughts about balancing family and your work at this time?
Other than what we are doing there isn’t really much more we can do, we are actually in a fortunate position that we are both still able to work and just try and make it work as best we can in these uncertain times.

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Our first parent is Jennie from Kids Planet Widnes, an NHS employee who has increased her son’s nursery hours since the lockdown:

What’s your role in the NHS?
I’m responsible for organising the wages for 70,000 NHS staff in Cheshire. Whilst I’m not clinical frontline, my role is business critical in supporting staff on the front line.

Your son is still attending nursery during the pandemic, how has this been?
The biggest issue for me when the lockdown was first introduced was the huge amount of parental guilt I felt – when others are having to take their children out of nursery, I’m having to take the decision to increase his hours to make up for the day he is normally with his grandparents.

How did that make you feel?
It was a really difficult decision for us – my partner is also employed by the NHS, so we had no option – but our son loves nursery and we felt that it was important he had a sense of continuity during this time. It’s vital for us that we know he is in safe, familiar hands in an environment he feels comfortable in. Ultimately, we want to protect him, but we believe in the NHS and what we do, and we know he is in safe hands.

Have you noticed any changes during his time in nursery?
Well, he’s been covered in paint, comes out full of beans and always smiling so we’re happy he’s having a great time when he’s there and we know he’s being well looked after! We’ve loved seeing him joining in with the Joe Wicks exercises and he seems to play with some of the older children which he’s absolutely loved. There have been some new staff, but everyone is so friendly and kind and keeps us up to date with how he’s getting one each day. In this daunting time, it was important to us that his routine is kept the same as possible and that’s our way of keeping him safe.