Policy & Strategy

Growth and challenges

Posted by Emma Sterling, 07 Feb 2017

5 months have gone so quickly! I was talking to another policy grad about this yesterday. We reflected on how different we were when we first started. I know in my case, I was so unsure, nervous and frequently had those moments where I’d stop and think to myself, ‘I’m not quite cut out for this’; classic imposter syndrome. Those moments still occur, they’re human, but these last few months have forced me to confront those feelings and throw myself into challenges outside my comfort zone to grow.

I now feel immersed in the National Cancer Programme on the Cancer Policy team and my role is much more defined. I am supporting the Living with and Beyond Cancer workstream (as much as I’m able to with entry-level knowledge) providing policy support in the form of parliamentary briefings, putting together ‘lines-to-take’ for the programme, liaising with other programmes within NHS England and the Department of Health and putting together summary documents.

I’m so grateful to have been placed in this team for my first placement. Team away days, the Christmas party and even tight deadlines have brought us all closer together and helped to build a good rapport. My Line Manager has been so supportive and understanding of GMTS commitments outside of the office. Every week we have 1:1’s to make sure I’m okay with the workload, set new tasks, identify areas where I need help and to discuss my overall development. 

The Policy and Strategy grads in London regularly meet up for lunch and we can pop over to each other’s desk if we have a quick question (or need to find a hot desk on a hectic Monday!). Having this network has been a great sense of security for a new stream.

Since the Orientation, we’ve had a chance to get to know the rest of the 2016 intake better. All trainees have started the Elizabeth Garret Anderson Programme and must attend Experiential Learning sets. For the first residential of both, most of us stayed in the same hotel and had full days of sessions at the Leadership Academy - intense, but enjoyable!  

I’m steadily getting to grips with the balancing act that is working whilst studying (and going to extra grad scheme events: careers fairs, presentations etc.) but this has made me more organised and efficient.  My first placement has challenged me in many ways and has taught me a lot about the value of self- confidence, networking, reflection and speaking up! I have by no means mastered everything here, but I think that’s part of the beauty of the scheme. I have a better understanding of skills I need to work on, how to communicate effectively in and outside of my team and how far I can really push myself.

I don’t know what my next placement at the Royal Free holds and although I’ll miss the regular grad ‘business lunches’ and Elephant and Castle’s trendy amenities, I’m looking forward to bringing a new awareness over to my second placement .

Emma Sterling

Emma Sterling

2017 intake

Hi everyone! My name is Emma and I’m part of the NHS GMTS 2016 intake on the new Policy and Strategy stream. I graduated from the University of Leicester with a BSc in Medical Genetics in 2015 and applied for the scheme that same year. The NHS GMTS was the only management graduate scheme I applied for. I knew wanted to make a positive impact on the healthcare system in a world class organisation that shared my core values and utilise some of my biomedical knowledge so the NHS was an obvious first choice. In my ‘year out’ before the scheme I’ve held a temporary post back at my university in pedagogic research and worked with early years children. Outside of work I enjoy an active lifestyle, yoga, art and am a self confessed foodie!

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