Policy & Strategy
27 Mar 2017
It’s hard to believe I’m entering my last two weeks of my first placement already. As Policy trainees, we have the shortest first placement of 6 months. Although short, I’d say this placement has been as valuable as any other. I will be having my performance review with my line manager next week and in preparation for that, I’ve been having a good think about the things I will take away from this placement.
For one, I’m starting to realise just how vast the NHS is. At the beginning of the placement, I was pretty optimistic about how quickly I’d understand how it all worked. Coming to the end of this placement, I realise there perhaps may never be a time where I know every intricacy of NHS England let alone the whole NHS, and that’s okay.
At the beginning of the placement, I was really keen to get involved in as much GMTS extracurricular activities as possible, be that helping at careers fairs or going to parliament for the day. I had a great time doing all of these things and it was a great way to network with people in and out of the scheme. As enjoyable and invaluable as these experiences were, looking back I’d say I could have toned it down a tad! When you have such as short placement, due to obligatory GMTS commitments, the proportion of your days in the office of your first placement is less than other streams anyway. Adding to those days out has to be carefully considered as you’ll either struggle to keep up with work in the office or miss out altogether! It’s all about balance.
Reflection! A lot of the EGA and Experiential learning residentials focus heavily on reflection. The days would go something like this: activity, reflection, lots of food, another activity, then reflection and then to sum the whole day up, reflection including reflecting on the reflecting! Or at least that’s how it seemed at the time because we just weren’t used to this style of learning. As tongue in cheek as many of us were about ‘reflecting’, I for one, think this has been one of the most valuable take away practices for my working life (I am aware that this whole blog, is in fact, reflective). Having check points where I look back at the way I work and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of me has been so important for moving forward and improving. I’m becoming more comfortable with inviting feedback and giving it. I’m slowly starting to figure out what my style as a leader might be and have pushed myself out of my comfort zone more times than I initially felt, well, comfortable!
I think the fact that I’m not ready to leave yet is a sign of a successful first placement in many ways. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. My team; great, #policy12 and all GMTS trainees; awesome, personal development; heaps, but I’m happy that I still have a long way to go! I’m ready for my next placement at the Royal Free!