Policy & Strategy
12 Oct 2016
My 20 days orientation went by so quickly. I can’ believe it’s over and October is here already! It wasn’t exactly as I expected but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Before I got my orientation plan, I thought that the orientation would be day after day of travelling all over London doing everything and anything to do with health andthe NHS. Instead, the orientation was nicely tailored to the Policy and Strategy stream and from what I’ve heard, quite different to the orientations undertaken by other streams. What also made it different is that all the London based policy grad schemers had a pretty similar orientation and a lot of the days were spent as a group.
Many of the days were meeting senior management in NHS England or in NHS Trusts to get an understanding of their specific roles, challenges they’re facing and a chance to ask any questions we’d like. We went to Manchester to go to the NHS Health Expo where we heard from a range of speakers from Jeremy Hunt to Ruby Wax. I spent a few days in the office on my orientation. I found it hard to get to grips with all the acronyms and lingo, to gauge what counts as ‘work clothes’ and only on the third week did I realise that no-you don’t need to ask to go to lunch, you just go (novice move but a learning curve not less). I was able to attend meetings and got to know my team- the Cancer Policy Team. The team is very new, and during the course of my orientation the team (in the London office) almost doubled with new starters filling new roles. This gave me an extra sense of comfort knowing that I wasn’t the only one who’d be forgetting names and getting lost on the way to the teapoint.
What I love about being on the Policy Stream is that all 10 of us on the stream in London are in the same building for our first placement and some of us are even on the same floor. It definitely makes it easier knowing that there are other people in the exact same boat that you can always talk to and we all get on really well. In fact we’ve arranged a “business lunch” (Nandos catch-up) for next week which will be fun.
My two favourite days had to be when I got to see Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery up close! I stood right next to the surgeon for the whole procedure and as graphic as it was, it was an experience I’ll never forget. Another great day was when I went to West Middlesex Hospital and spent the afternoon in the Dementia Friendly ward. Some volunteers from the charity Alzheimer’s UK who come once a week to sing with the patients were there and they let me join in. Everyone had such a great time and I was so glad to see such a positive side to staying in a ward.
The orientation is put to new grad schemers as the ‘fun part’ and it is, but I don’t think that means what’s coming next is the dull part, just different. I’m looking forward to being give a task I can take responsibility for and gaining more confidence in my role.