General Management

Navigating the 3-letter acronyms of the scheme’s educational side

Posted by Fiona Woodhall, 21 Sep 2017

It’s been a year since I started on the scheme and I’ve come a long way since those first days. For those just starting on the scheme these first few months are a steep learning curve – not only about the NHS and your placement but also what all the different parts of the scheme are about.

I thought I’d try to bring you all up to speed on the endless 3-letter acronyms that describe the scheme’s educational side – and offer a few tips to make the most of it.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme

Otherwise known as EGA in short. EGA is a postgraduate course everyone on the scheme undertakes in Year 1 to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership. General Management Trainees continue in Year 2 to complete the Postgraduate Diploma. If you want to complete the full Masters course after the scheme you have 5 years to make that choice and sort funding.


EGA is predominately online learning via the Virtual Campus – there is one residential each year for it as well. The modules are arranged so that you look as you as a leader, then move on to how you develop teams before looking at the impact of leadership on an organisational level. Year 2 is in reverse.


For each module you’ll complete a critical essay and some work based assignments (WBA). These are designed to ensure you understand the theory as well as making sure you’ve put some of it into practise in your placement. The assignments are graded by your tutor and contribute to your module grade.


Tutor? Yes, you will also be part of an Inquiry and Application Group (IAG) – essentially a tutor group, who will meet twice a module - once in person and once virtually. Your tutor will be there to answer questions and help you plan your WBAs.


Top Tip:
Plan WBA ahead of time as you normally need to involve others in the activities so it might be difficult to get the right people together last minute.


Experiential Learning

From time to time you’ll get together with others on the scheme for some Experiential Learning. This is organised by the Leadership Academy and is designed to build your capability as a leader.


They are usually a mix of listening to speakers, trying out new techniques and a few games. The academy bring in various people to assist from patients, actors, or senior NHS managers – you never really know what’s going to happen till it’s already started.


As it’s one of the few times there are a large number of trainees together, it’s a great opportunity to catch up with each other and continue developing those connections.


Top Tip:
Use these residentials as an opportunity to concentrate on developing your skills. Pause thinking about work and concentrate on the activities.


Action Learning Sets

Once you’ve got your head round EGA and experiential you’ll find you are now part of an ALS group. These are small groups of trainees who will meet every other month with an ALS facilitator. The aim of these groups is to offer an environment for you to discuss challenges or problems at work, or beyond. The idea isn’t for everyone to judge you or solve your problems for you, but to help you explore the issue and decide on a course of action yourself.


These are a great opportunity to discuss those issues worrying at you in a safe space with individuals whose only intention is to help you.


Top Tip:
For most, ALS is something completely new so it takes a few meetings to get the hang of it – stick with it as the more you invest, the more everyone gets out of it. 


It takes a while to get used to all the different parts of the scheme but you’ll soon get your head round the different acronyms and groups. For those that aren’t on the General Management specialism you’ll also have a second postgraduate course in your specialism to complete.


You also have plenty of other opportunities for development whilst on the scheme from attending a conference to helping with interview days for applicants.


Top Tip:
Say yes to as many opportunities as you can as you have a two-year pass to get involved in a variety of experiences. Though always make sure to check it’s ok with your manager first!

Fiona Woodhall

Fiona Woodhall

2016 intake

In 2016, I graduated from the University of St Andrews with a Masters in Chemistry. I applied to the scheme as I wanted a challenging and changing environment to develop my skills further whilst also helping others, whether patients, co-workers or anyone in between. During my degree I was involved in technical theatre and managing various events including charitable fundraisers. When I’m not event managing I love to travel or watch films with friends.

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