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A quarter of mums find maternity leave harder then they expect



stressed mother holding baby

Over a quarter of mums do not enjoy their maternity leave as much as they thought they would.

ComRes, commissioned for The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, questioned women who’d been on maternity leave in the past ten years, and found that nearly half felt lonely while on maternity leave and at least one in five mums wished they’d gone back to work earlier.

A quarter found it more difficult to bond with their baby than they initially thought, and nearly half felt obliged to be positive about spending time with their baby.


The poll also paints a picture of younger mums finding maternity leave harder than older mums with nearly three in five of mums aged 18-24 saying that maternity leave left them feeling ‘lonely’.

Nearly half of mums aged 18-24, and a third of the mums aged 34 and under, didn’t enjoy their maternity leave as much as they thought they would.

The poll also found that over half of new mothers found breastfeeding more difficult than they thought they would be.

‘It’s exhausting’.

Emma Barnett, 5 Live presenter, who is herself returning to radio presenting this week after eight months maternity leave, said: “I have had some of the loveliest and more memorable times of my life during my maternity leave.   But it’s still been bloody hard, and, at times, lonely.

“As the one at the home, you struggle to have a sense of self;  to remember who you were;  and what you thought about before your child came along.

“There should be no guilt in saying you find maternity leave hard;  that you don’t enjoy every single second with your child; and that it’s exhausting.

“It’s OK to to say you love your new baby, but that you don’t love your new existence yet”.

Abi Wood, the speaking on behalf of the National Childbirth Trust, added: ‎“It can be really difficult to adjust to all the huge life changes a baby brings.  Maternity leave can be ‎an incredibly lonely time, particularly if you don’t have friends and family around to offer support. 

“It’s worth finding ‎out about baby groups in your area and apps and social media can help you to meet other mums ‎locally. Even getting out for a walk or to a café can help a little. It’s also worth checking out what your ‎local NCT branch is up to.  Our network of local branches organises activities for new mums, so they can build support networks in their area.” ‎


Clinical Care

Hourly rounding ‘may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care’, finds study

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.



Nurse with patient in bed

Hourly rounding made a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

A new report by researchers at King’s College London has found that the widespread practice of hourly or intentional rounding, may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care to patients.

The report also found that rounding makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.


Hourly or intentional rounding involves standardised regular checks with individual patients at set intervals and was introduced in hospitals in England in 2013, with 97% of NHS acute Trusts in England implementing it in some way.

The majority of NHS trusts adopted the ‘4Ps’ (Position, Pain, Personal needs, Placement of items) model of rounding.

The research was commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and was led by Professor Ruth Harris in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care.

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

The NIHR report – Intentional rounding in hospital wards to improve regular interaction and engagement between nurses and patients: a realist evaluation – is the first study of its kind in the world.

The study found that rounding placed an emphasis on transactional ‘tick box’ care delivery, rather than individualised care. However, patients were found to value their interactions with nursing staff, which the study argues could be delivered during other care activities and rather than through intentional rounding.

The report also found that rounding was implemented without consultation, careful planning and piloting in the interests of political expediency following the Francis Inquiry Report into care failures in the NHS.

Ruth Harris, Professor of Health Care for Older Adults at King’s College London, said; “Checking patients regularly to make sure that they are OK is really important but intentional rounding tends to prompt nurses to focus on completion of the rounding documentation rather than on the relational aspects of care delivery.

“Few frontline nursing staff or senior nursing staff felt intentional rounding improved either the quality or the frequency of their interactions with patients and their family.”

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Clinical Updates

Nurses’ ‘worry’ better than most early warning scores, finds study

Nurses were asked to grade patients between ‘no concern’ and ‘extreme concern’. 




A sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration.

Nurses’ worry has a “higher accuracy” than most published early warning scores (EWS) at predicting if a patient is becoming more unwell, according to a recent study.

The study looked at 31,159 patient-shifts for 3185 patients during 3551 hospitalisations across two surgical and two medical wards. Researchers compared if the nurses were worried about a patients potential for deterioration using ‘the Worry Factor’ with early warning score indicators.


Nurses were asked to grade each patient between “no concern” and “extreme concern”.

The Worry Score

Out of 492 potential deterioration events identified, researchers found that when nurses had an increasing worry factor the patient was more likely to require emergency medical treatment – 7 cardiac arrest calls, 86 medical emergency calls and 76 transfers to the intensive care unit.

The study also revealed that accuracy rates were significantly higher in nurses with over a year of experience.

The researchers concluded that “nurses’ pattern recognition and sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration” and was often more reliable than traditional early warning systems.

They also noted that the worry score could be used alone or easily incorporated into existing EWS to potentially improve their performance.

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