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“Don’t apologise for your time out” with Sarah McKelvie

Career Returners Podcast – Episode #2

17th March 2021

Sarah McKelvie enjoyed a fulfilling career as a doctor, and her work in hospital medicine and general practice took her all over the world. When her 1st child was born in 2007, she thought she’d be back at work in 6 months, but 2 more children later and her 6 month career break turned into 12 years.

During her career break, Sarah became immersed in various charity projects from fundraising to setting up football teams for children with cerebral palsy, for which she won a FA Grassroots Volunteers Award.

Contemplating returning to medicine for a number of years, Sarah set up a Facebook Group to help build a community of support for doctors in a similar position. And then, galvanised by the call for doctors to return to work during the pandemic, Sarah found her way back, and now works full-time as a clinical fellow in geriatric medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Hear how Sarah found the courage to return to medicine in one of the most challenging public health times of our generation and the journey she’s been on since, updating her skills, rebuilding her professional confidence and helping others navigate their way back too.

“I was really under confident about working and as I even thought about going back to being a doctor, I just had this knot of anxiety in my stomach, thinking, ‘Oh.. it’s too big. I can’t, I’ve forgotten everything’. I just couldn’t see myself in that role. I couldn’t see myself how I used to be. But very quickly by doing something, I felt more confident. Only by trying it did that confidence come back.”

Resources referred to in this episode

Career Refresh for Doctors (CareForMe) – a new initiative to support returning doctors  

Facebook Group for doctors on a long career break 

Facebook Group for doctors returning to medicine during COVID

Maudsley Learning Workshops for returning doctors


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Look around this website for more advice, support and inspiration and sign up to our free Women Returners Professional Network here