Thoughts from first year on Graduate Management Training Scheme

Thu, 09 Oct 2014

I've been on the scheme for about a month now (it's gone really, really fast!) and so I've pretty much come to the end of my 20 day orientation period. I've had my first two online Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA) lectures, and am currently preparing a presentation for my Placement and Programme Managers on my experiences so far.  I joined the scheme straight from university and had no NHS/Finance/Healthcare experience of any kind before this, so orientation has been very interesting and given me a lot to think about. I've seen/smelled lots of things I never thought I would, and met some amazingly kind and dedicated people. The main things I  take away from my time on the scheme so far are:

  • So much happens that as a member of the public you rarely hear about or get to see. When I thought about the NHS before this I was mostly picturing GP practices, ambulances and hospitals, but there is so much more to it than that and lots of the parts are more separate than you would imagine; for example I had no idea that cancer care is commissioned by NHS England Area Teams rather than local CCGs (who do commission most other healthcare). Without really thinking about it you also tend to view NHS services as fairly static and reliably stable, but already I've observed meetings about fundamental changes to the way patients access emergency care and talked to people who have plans to radically alter how patients with addiction problems are treated when in a hospital environment.
  • Anyone who works on reception is incredibly patient. They deal with people at their most frustrated (especially those in A&E), get blamed for anything that goes wrong or is delayed, and any gaps between expectations and reality. The clearest instance of this that I have seen was that most patients who arrived at A&E in an ambulance also assumed they would be able to get home in this way too, so reception had to cope with this gap in expectation and the frustration caused when patients were told this would not happen. They also had to give a lot of directions, as it seemed most people who arrived at the hospital wandered into A&E rather than the Main Reception.
  • People perform a wider range of tasks than you would think from their job title. When I spent a day with the paramedics I noticed they spent a lot of time checking the patients social care needs were being met and arranging for this to happen if it was not, as well as treating the  problem they had been called out for (although in many cases this does overlap). This happens in many other areas too, such as the hospital Pharmacy which provides a service to anyone who calls with a query about medicines, such as what side effects are normal and which medicines can safely be taken together.
  • Nurses walk much faster than anyone else, which is fun when you are shadowing one.

And finally, I can't wait to have more experience, so that the next time someone asks 'so what are you actually qualified to do?' I can reply with more than 'uhh, nothing really yet…I'm just here to observe.'