Nearing the end
18 Jul 2017
So, the time is fast approaching where all General Management, Human Resources and Health Informatics trainees from the 2015 cohort will soon be leaving the scheme. Some have moved on to their next role over the last few months, others are holding out to the end. Our Finance colleagues have an additional 6 months before finishing at which point we will all reunite for graduation.
The scheme has gone in a whirlwind, it’ll be approximately two years since I gave notice of my resignation to my previous employer and got on the Grad Scheme Train. It’s been fun, challenging, exhausting, awakening, stressful, tearful, joyful and so much more. To think back over my two years is crazy and whilst there is part of me that would love to do it all over again, another part knows it would be crazy to attempt a full time job and education at the same time again. When they say things are once in a lifetime experiences, the Grad Scheme is 100% one of those experiences. I’ve enjoyed so much, learned, developed and gained experience in so many things since September 2015 I could write a book with a million chapters (well maybe not quite a million…).
As a HR trainee, the second year is spent studying for your PGDip in HR Management and you no longer have the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson course running alongside. We sat our final exams in May and had the anxious wait until last week for our results. Finally, almost two years down the line, I can go about my life without the little devil of incomplete assignments sat on my shoulder reminding me what I should be doing.
Looking back to September 2015, I knew nothing of the complicated system that is the NHS, although I had done my reading, nothing prepared me for the enormity of the system I was entering. The Grad Scheme has given me the best exposure to so much and I have had experiences which will stay with me for eternity. I’ll never forget standing in theatres during orientation, witnessing life changing procedures and the work of “well oiled” teams, I’ll never forget the way people talk with care and compassion, the nurses who go above and beyond every day or the healthcare assistants who can never do enough to help. I’ll forever remember the little acts of kindness displayed by my colleagues caring for the elderly and the vulnerable. Of course I have been exposed to some of this as a result of my day to day work but I’ve also been exposed as part of the additional work, projects and assignments I have had to do as part of the GMTS.
The GMTS and all the programmes it offers alongside placements has really enhanced my experience and expedited my development; there have been times where I have written assignments and wondered how or why you would study without a job to complement your work and times assignments would have been impossible without my placement. Nothing quite beats putting theory into practice.
Yes it has been hard work and no, I wouldn’t repeat it but I would absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in shaping the future of our healthcare system. To have been part of a scheme which is so fantastic and offers such a broad range in experiences has been nothing short of life-changing.
Top tips for the 2017 cohort and beyond:
- Get stuck in – it doesn’t matter what it is, academic, work or social; if you have capacity, say yes.
- Remember yourself – take time out to look after yourself and spend time with your loved ones.
- You might not be able to do it all but that’s ok – believe in yourself, don’t beat yourself up when you have had to make a choice, sometimes you might choose to do a project and realise later that a different one would be more suited to you – it might be possible to swap or it might be that the experience you have opted for will teach you something completely different to what you thought – it’s all a testament to your strength and tenacity.
- Be prepared for the ambiguous dress codes – I promise, you will never have discussed outfit choices as much since that non-uniform day back in year 9 at school as you will during the scheme – to this day I still never really know what to wear!!
- Be open – be open to new experiences and opportunities and be open about yourself. Don’t hide it if you’re struggling, speak to your manager or colleagues and get the help you need – that’s not to say you shouldn’t push yourself but just don’t get to breaking point.
- Get yourself a reputation – but make it the right reputation – be the person who delivers, the person who steps in to support others when they’re struggling, be the person who comes back to someone when they say they will. Deliver on your promises and you’ll be alright!
- Take your time – obviously time is limited on the GMTS but you don’t have to know it all on day one. Orientation is an amazing chance to learn about anything and everything, it’s the time where you’ll learn things you never thought you needed to know and the time where you’ll make your first GMTS memories to last a lifetime.
- Enjoy every minute – I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that challenging situation you couldn’t see through at the time happens to make you stronger and better. Whilst it may not be nice at the time, take the time to look back and remember how far you’ve come – that said, my GMTS experience has been far more sunshine and flowers than doom and gloom so don’t fear!
- Create and maintain your networks – you’ll get “assigned” to a number of networks – your region, your specialism, your EGA group, your Action Learning Set and you’ll create networks with colleagues and peers. Look after them and use them wisely. Everyone loves the person who brings doughnuts in occasionally but no one wants you to buy their help, be yourself, be friendly and amicable and you’ll be fine (but don’t forget the cakes or doughnuts on your birthday!!). Look after other people and in turn, they will look after you.
- Thank you – thank you goes a long way. I guess you probably can overuse it but it’s probably not easy – thank the person who holds the door, offers direction, sells you the all-essential coffee; thank the person who supports your work or the person who gives you an opportunity. You have the best opportunity going here so make the most of it!