Mother’s Day 2023: the mother-child duos of MKUH
Here at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH), we are very proud to be able to say that we have multiple generations of family members working across the Trust, in both clinical and non-clinical roles. This Mother’s Day we’re shining a spotlight on just some of the mother-child duos of MKUH.
Suzanne and Jasmine
Suzanne Wright has been working as a Maternity Care Assistant (MCA) here at MKUH for 18 months and her daughter Jasmine is a third year midwifery student who has done all her placements within the Trust’s maternity services and hopes to find a permanent role here when she graduates in December.
It’s a case of mother following daughter into the Trust – Suzanne previously worked at Stoke Mandeville before spending several years as a special needs teacher.
‘I’d always wanted to get back into the NHS and when Jasmine started her placements I was inspired to apply. It’s really lovely that we both work in maternity teams as we understand a lot of the pressures we face. Working in maternity is a wonderful experience because you are with women and birthing people at such an exciting time in their lives. It’s lovely to have a kindred spirit as a daughter who understand the pressures, the highs and the lows of maternity services,’ says Suzanne, who also has an older son Conor and a 10-year-old daughter Keira.
Now she is hoping to follow in her talented daughter Jasmine’s footsteps by completing her own midwifery apprenticeship here at MKUH.
‘Both of us really enjoy working here and it’s great to be able to talk about our working day with someone who understands exactly what it can be like,’ she adds.
Caroline and Megan
Caroline Catharell and her daughter Megan are both maths graduates and, perhaps not surprisingly, both work in the finance department at our Witan Gate offices. Caroline joined the Trust over 20 years ago and is currently Head of Costing, ensuring that that cost of every patient’s treatment journey is thoroughly calculated from a financial perspective. A few desks away is Megan (25) who is Associate Finance Business Partner for our Medicine division. Although they are in different teams, working for the same organisation means they have real insight into each other’s working week.
‘I love working here and being part of the NHS makes you feel that you are really doing something worthwhile that also makes a difference to patients,’ says Caroline, who also has two other children, Elliot and Emma. ‘Like everyone in Finance, we do hybrid working and on non-office days Megan often comes round to my house and we work from opposite ends of my dining room table!’
Megan joined the Trust in 2021 after working for a procurement consultancy. ‘When a job opportunity came up, Mum really encouraged me to go for it as there is so much scope for progression and development,’ says Megan, who has already been promoted since she started working at MKUH. ‘I really enjoy the variety of the work and the support from my team, and having Mum in the same organisation is a bonus.’
And when they are not working, Caroline and Megan are still likely to be together – they both share a love of dogs and spent most weekends driving around the country to dog shows with their Rhodesian Ridgeback Maalo.
‘In fact that’s probably how we’ll be spending Mother’s Day, driving to a dog show in Newark, hoping that he achieves his Junior Warrant title,’ adds Caroline.
Susan and Vicky
Susan Malek joined the Trust in 2014 and is one of our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) officers. Her daughter, Vicky Balaktsoglou, started at MKUH in 2021, working first in our Organisational Development team before landing her dream job in the Communications team as a Communications and Engagement Officer – a role her mum spotted advertised on our website!
‘Having previously worked in marketing, I was looking to put my skills and experience to use in an environment where I could really make a difference and had been keeping an eye out for vacancies in the Communications team at MKUH for a while,’ says Vicky. ‘But it was Mum who sent me the link – and I’m very glad she did! Even though we work in completely different roles at opposite sides of the hospital, it’s lovely to be able to chat about our days on our drive in to work and pop in to see her when I’m nearby.’
Susan really enjoys her role, helping patients and families with any concerns they have – whether it be following up with issues around a patient’s appointments, meeting with them to discuss their concerns, or signposting them to the appropriate service for support.
‘The days are very busy as we deal with hundreds of enquiries every month, but it is a really rewarding role, and being able to support patients, relatives, and staff makes it all worthwhile,’ says Susan. ‘It’s a pleasure working with my daughter here at the Trust and it gives me immense pride and joy to watch her develop in her role.’
Fiona and Chris
Senior Emergency Theatres Sister Fiona Burge joined MKUH in 1996. Apart from one year on a ward, she has always worked in theatres, preferring to care for one patient at a time in what can be a very stressful time in their lives. She currently focuses on emergency surgery and emergency/ elective obstetric cases and leads a team of 17. Son Chris (22) started working here last October after completing a course in health and social care.
‘I have always enjoyed working here and I do believe the NHS is a good organisation that offers a lot of scope for development for people at every stage of their career,’ says Fiona. ‘Chris finished his course and did some part time retail work but was keen to find a role that was both people-facing and would offer him an insight into the possibilities that might be available within the organisation.’
Chris is really enjoying his dedicated role serving meals and refreshments to patients on ward 8. He helps them choose their meal selections and ensures they have everything they need during his shifts.
‘Often patients can be in for quite a few days, so you get to know their preferences quite well. It might only be a small thing, but they really appreciate it and it’s nice to know that you are making a difference to their hospital stay,’ says Chris. He is enjoying being part of the wider ward team and has a much greater understanding of how the hospital works. ‘I knew quite a lot from my mum but she works in a very different area.’
This Mother’s Day he and his sister Orla will be making a fuss of Fiona – but not too much!
‘Everyone’s busy but it’s always nice to be appreciated on this special day,’ adds Fiona.
From new mothers and mothers-to-be to step-mothers and adoptive mothers, from those struggling or unable to become a mother to those who have lost their children or those who have lost their mother, Happy Mother’s Day to everyone observing this day.