An Interview Guide for Maternity Nurses

Your role as Maternity Nurse

Working in postnatal and newborn care can be one of the most rewarding but challenging career choices. As a maternity nurse, you will be sharing a very special time with the families you work for. The arrival of a new baby is fills parents with a range of emotions from extreme happiness to concerns over how they will care for their newborn baby. The decision to hire a maternity nurse, for many families, means that they have the peace of mind in knowing that they have professional support on hand to help guide them through the early weeks following the birth.

Your role is to care primarily for the mother and newborn baby but you do so with a family-centred approach. While for many families, the arrival of a new baby presents a mixture of happiness and sleepless nights, there are also at times, situations where perhaps the mother is suffering from postnatal depression or in some cases, a baby has been born premature or with additional needs. These are all factors that you face in your career as a professional providing a tailored package of support for families in their own homes.

Finding work as a Maternity Nurse

Whether you are just starting out or you have been working in your role as a maternity nurse for many years, marketing your services and finding work is a crucial to your long term success. While some maternity nurses work through agencies who place them in positions, it is becoming increasingly popular to advertise your services directly to parents through search platforms such as that offered by Childcare.co.uk.

By creating your maternity nurse profile on Childcare.co.uk you will be able to advertise your services directly to the families who are looking to hire. You are able to provide a detailed work history, personal and contact information as well as being able to add photographs to provide a virtual ‘hello’ to the families who are searching for your services.

There are a number of training providers offering accredited qualifications in postnatal care or maternity practice. On your Childcare.co.uk profile, you can list your qualifications, details of your CV and more importantly, you can also ask families to review your services making it more likely that you will be chosen based on the feedback left by previous families you have worked for. 

What makes a good Maternity Nurse?

Families are looking for a maternity nurse who will fit in with their lifestyle and personalities. It is vital that the family feels that you will enhance their experience as parents of a newborn, supporting them appropriately but also being able to step back and allow the family time to bond with their baby and enjoy some privacy at times too.

Being flexible and adaptable is also a very important factor when it comes to securing a booking. Families will look to you for advice and guidance on routines and popular parenting methods however, some families may prefer to use an approach that is not your first choice, being flexible and able to meet the family’s preferences will go a long way towards placing you on a short-list.

You may wish to consider some of the points below when advertising your services or attending an interview:

• Have you provided a detailed CV with any gaps clearly explained?

• Have you provided a complete list of references for the family to take up?

• Do you hold a current paediatric first aid certificate and is your CRB/DSB check less than three years old?

• Are your qualifications and certificates available for families to view and verify if necessary?

• Can you provide adequate breastfeeding support and dietary advice for a breastfeeding mother?

• Do you have experience in spotting common issues such as tongue tie, reflux or colic?

• Are you familiar with the signs and symptoms of serious illnesses and conditions that can affect newborns such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, poor attachment, normal ranges for temperatures and feeding problems for example?

• Are you confident in taking over the night feeds should Mum wish to bottle feed rather than breastfeed so that she can get some much needed rest?

• Decide on and be clear about your views on routines and methods

• Be clear about your expectations and discuss time off or time for the family to enjoy their new baby without you present

• If you have any dietary requirements or particular requests such as eating alone or with the family, you should discuss this at the interview

Before the interview

In addition to providing your detailed CV, copies of your qualifications and written references, you may also wish to write a letter or send an email to the prospective family to introduce yourself. You could discuss why you have chosen to work as a maternity nurse, why you feel that you would be a good fit for the family, how you would approach your job and what you believe is important when caring for a mother and her new baby. You may also wish to discuss some thoughts on including Dad if he wishes to be involved in the care of Mum and baby. If there are older siblings, you may wish to discuss how you see your role in dealing with the siblings during your stay. Ultimately, the more you offer to do, within reason, the more likely you are to be looked upon favourably by the family at the job offer stage.

The interview process

Arrive on time and ensure that you are prepared as far as possible. Research the local area so that you have some topics for light conversation to ensure that you get off to a good start. You may also wish to take along a printed list of ‘must-have’s’ or ‘recommended’ items that the parents may wish to purchase before the baby is born, this will show that you are keen to help and support them through a very daunting process.

You may also want to have copies of your CV, qualifications, a photograph and CRB/DBS check for the family to keep in case they have not got a printed copy to hand. Being organised will help to show the family that you are capable and that you plan ahead.

Provide a comprehensive list of contacts for your prospective family to get in touch with for references. If you are attending multiple interviews, you may wish to ask families to contact a selection of past and recent families so that your most recent families are not bombarded with reference requests. 

Above all, be yourself at the interview. You will be living with the family for an extended period of time so it is important that you feel confident in your ability to fit into the family lifestyle. If you have strong views on their personalities or cultural beliefs, it is important to consider whether or not you could live happily with the family on that basis. Always remember that a sense of humour and a can-do attitude will speak volumes about your ability to provide a good maternity nursing service.

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