Perimenopause: advice for nurses going through it, and bosses too

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Perimenopause symptoms can catch you unawares and may even make you feel forced to give up work. Find out how to get the help you need at this challenging time of your life

Woman touching her forehead looking worried fraught, which are symptoms common in perimeopause

Irritability teetering on sudden rage, the feeling of being physically and mentally exhausted and down – and like the only option is to flee work. Is this the consequence of workplace pressures, or could it (also) be the perimenopause?

Perimenopause – the phase when women are experiencing menopausal symptoms but are still having periods – is the subject of the latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast.

Our guest is Katharine Gale, consultant nurse in women’s health and menopause and director of Fluxstate, which provides care for women going through the menopause, and training for workplaces.

Nine out of 10 nurses are women and more than a third are aged 41 to 55, which means a significant proportion of the workforce is likely to be going through the perimenopause right now.

Lack of workplace support for nurses going through perimenopause

Ms Gale talks about the impact perimenopause can have on nurses and their mental health, the lack of support many experience at work, and how this is causing nurses to leave their jobs. ‘I hear from nurses who are quitting because they feel they have made a mistake or are not good at their job,’ she says.

She tells journalist and podcast host Erin Dean where nurses can find support and offers advice to nurses’ managers on how to support their staff through this phase.

‘They do not need to be an expert,’ says Ms Gale. ‘Come from a place of empathy and compassion. Come from a place of trying to understand someone’s experience.’

More on this topic

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