A University of Bristol graduate talks about her experience of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme:
Image: Alex Proimos [flickr.com/photos/proimos/]
When I started as a Geography student at the University of Bristol in 2009 I had little idea of what career I wanted. I knew I wanted to be in a job where I really felt like I was making a difference to people’s lives and I had always had an affinity for the NHS but not being a clinician, I struggled to see where I might fit in.
After attending various careers events, courses and undertaking work experience, I learnt more about management in the NHS and was completely sold on this being the career I wanted. Somewhat putting all of my eggs in one basket, the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme was the only job I applied for and, fortunately, I was accepted on to the General Management stream of the scheme, which I started in September 2012. Eighteen months on, I can wholeheartedly say this was the best decision I could have made and I am enjoying a challenging but hugely rewarding start to my career.
The scheme is comprised of 3 placements over two years: one in a hospital (a more ‘operational’ role concerned with the running of services); a more strategic role involving project management; and a shorter two-month placement where there is more choice of where to go, inside or outside of the NHS, in order to develop knowledge or skills that will be useful to the NHS. At the start of the scheme there is also a month-long ‘orientation’, where I spent time in a variety of departments and organisations to get a better understanding of the different components that are part of the health and social care system: spending a day on an ambulance was definitely a personal highlight!
One of the elements of the scheme I have been most impressed with is the amount of responsibility I have been given from the very start. Despite having no previous experience in the NHS, I have now managed a department in a hospital, line-managed staff and led service-improvement projects, and worked collaboratively with patients and staff from a wide variety of disciplines. Being afforded this amount of responsibility, whilst at the same time being well supported, has allowed me to develop a huge amount of new skills and knowledge in a really short space of time and I have relished being able to make an impact from day one.
In addition to the work placements, I am currently studying for a Masters in Leadership and Service Improvement as part of the scheme. I have enjoyed being able to put some of the theory I have learnt from this, as well as skills learnt during leadership development courses provided by the scheme, into practice during my placements.
The fast-track nature of the Scheme has given me a mass of opportunities I would never have otherwise had and I would highly recommend it to anyone passionate about improving patient care and ready to offer the commitment and dedication needed to become a leader in the NHS.
Siobhan Heeley, University of Bristol Graduate
The Careers Service says:
You can read more about what options there are with a Geography degree on the Careers Service website. We also provide a helpful overview of careers in healthcare, which links to the really useful ‘What can I do with my degree’ website from NHS Careers.