Experiences of occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave

Lisa Parcsi, Michael Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background/aim: Returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenging, anxious and fraught experience for women, and has been portrayed in the literature as a generally negative experience. Interestingly, although occupational therapists were predominantly women, no research was found focussing on their experiences of returning to work after maternity leave. The aim of this research was to gain an insight into occupational therapists' experiences of returning to work following maternity leave. Methods: Principles of interpretive phenomenological analysis were used to explore the individual experiences of six Australian occupational therapists returning to work after a period of maternity leave. Individual semi-structured interviews lasting up to 90 minutes were conducted. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and then analysed. Results: Two major themes emerged from the analysis of interviews: compromise and feeling valued. The experience of returning to work was a process of compromise in which women found strategies to cope with their changing roles and demands, to find a balance between home and work life. The women wanted to feel valued by their managers and co-workers, as this enabled them to feel comfortable and confident with some of the compromises they made. Conclusion: Occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave will make compromises so that they can balance their home and work life. Occupational therapists value managers and co-workers who understand the compromises women make when returning to work following maternity leave and who create a supportive workplace that acknowledges and values their contribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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Parental Leave
Interviews
Research
Workplace
Occupational Therapists
Emotions

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abstract = "Background/aim: Returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenging, anxious and fraught experience for women, and has been portrayed in the literature as a generally negative experience. Interestingly, although occupational therapists were predominantly women, no research was found focussing on their experiences of returning to work after maternity leave. The aim of this research was to gain an insight into occupational therapists' experiences of returning to work following maternity leave. Methods: Principles of interpretive phenomenological analysis were used to explore the individual experiences of six Australian occupational therapists returning to work after a period of maternity leave. Individual semi-structured interviews lasting up to 90 minutes were conducted. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and then analysed. Results: Two major themes emerged from the analysis of interviews: compromise and feeling valued. The experience of returning to work was a process of compromise in which women found strategies to cope with their changing roles and demands, to find a balance between home and work life. The women wanted to feel valued by their managers and co-workers, as this enabled them to feel comfortable and confident with some of the compromises they made. Conclusion: Occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave will make compromises so that they can balance their home and work life. Occupational therapists value managers and co-workers who understand the compromises women make when returning to work following maternity leave and who create a supportive workplace that acknowledges and values their contribution.",
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Experiences of occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave. / Parcsi, Lisa; Curtin, Michael.

In: Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, Vol. 60, No. 4, 08.2013, p. 252-259.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Background/aim: Returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenging, anxious and fraught experience for women, and has been portrayed in the literature as a generally negative experience. Interestingly, although occupational therapists were predominantly women, no research was found focussing on their experiences of returning to work after maternity leave. The aim of this research was to gain an insight into occupational therapists' experiences of returning to work following maternity leave. Methods: Principles of interpretive phenomenological analysis were used to explore the individual experiences of six Australian occupational therapists returning to work after a period of maternity leave. Individual semi-structured interviews lasting up to 90 minutes were conducted. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and then analysed. Results: Two major themes emerged from the analysis of interviews: compromise and feeling valued. The experience of returning to work was a process of compromise in which women found strategies to cope with their changing roles and demands, to find a balance between home and work life. The women wanted to feel valued by their managers and co-workers, as this enabled them to feel comfortable and confident with some of the compromises they made. Conclusion: Occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave will make compromises so that they can balance their home and work life. Occupational therapists value managers and co-workers who understand the compromises women make when returning to work following maternity leave and who create a supportive workplace that acknowledges and values their contribution.

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