How motherhood didn’t stop Emma in her tracks

Article originally produced by Perth Now on 9 February 2021.

Some of the most challenging aspects women face when thinking about starting a family is whether it will affect their career and whether their workplace will understand the juggling act that often comes with raising a child and excelling in their chosen profession.

We asked Team Leader and Occupational Therapist at Therapy Focus Emma Marshman about her experience, she said being involved in a practice with flexible working conditions had allowed her to have her cake and eat it too: be a successful Therapist and mum.

A key factor to women returning to the workplace is flexible hours, without this consideration, organisations could potentially lose female leaders, and the opportunity of having a more diverse leadership team.

“Working for Therapy Focus is quite flexible, for example, if I have an ultrasound appointment in the morning, I can start one day at 10 or 11, and I can just make up that time in the rest of the week” Emma said.

Therapist Emma Marshmann faces the camera and is smiling. Off to the left the back of Therapist Fatema Wali's head is visible.

Therapist Emma Marshman

On other days, if her son Archie —who will be three in March— is unwell with a temperature and can’t go to day-care, she has the flexibility to work from home.

“So I can still work a full day,” she said.

Emma is pregnant with her second, due in August. She said she put off having kids for a while because she thought starting a family meant hitting a point of stagnancy in her career as an Occupational Therapist, her experience turned her preconceived notion upside down.

“What drew me to Therapy Focus was having career progression opportunities regardless of working part-time and having a family,” she said.

Unfortunately, there weren’t these kinds of opportunities available at her previous employer, she said to become a team leader or advanced clinician she would be expected to work full time, and that’s difficult when you throw a baby into the mix.

Until flexible working arrangements are seen as the norm, industries will continue to lose valuable women and men who are seeking a progressive workplace attitude. It’s also particularly important for the health care sector to work with their employees as the demand for services —particularly disability services— is at an unprecedented high following the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“We have a waitlist of over 100 people waiting to see therapists, so the more experienced and the more diverse range of skills that we can bring to our team the better,” Emma said.

The customers that she can take on, are what motivate her to go to work every day, seeing the difference she can make to their lives.

“I’m working with a customer who hasn’t engaged in services for a really long time, but once he got involved with the NDIS, we’ve been able to get all the equipment he needs to move independently, heal and live a fulfilling life,” Emma said.

Emma’s profession gives her insight on the day-to-day lives of a diverse range of people, helping them achieve their goals and aspirations, and overall helping them lead more independent lives. As for Emma’s goals? She wants to keep learning about how she can better support her customers and colleagues, encourage other mothers –and fathers– to consider returning to the workforce, and she hopes her practice Therapy Focus can recruit a further diversification of therapists in the near future.

“I’d like to get them on board and help them harness their unique skillset and knowledge,” she said.

Come and join our team!

We are currently seeking experienced allied health professionals, like Emma, to join our growing team and help transform the way therapy is delivered. If you’re thinking about a new career or return to work, there are many exciting opportunities in the disability sector. High demand positions that are flexible to your schedules. It might be the perfect time for you. View our current vacancies for more information or call our People, Talent and Culture team on 1300 135 373.