Analysis & Informatics
How to get onto the NHS Graduate Management Scheme
20 Oct 2017
I’ll be honest; the title to this post is click-bait. This is much more the story of how I came to get a place on the scheme, but if you stick with it there’s a lesson at the end I promise.
My journey to the becoming a graduate management trainee probably started after my GCSEs when my mum enforced that I apply for a job in my local hospital to earn some cash over summer. I was hired on a bank contract and worked evenings and weekends in medical records; picking patient notes from the basement and taking them to wards and outpatient clinics. The next summer I figured out I could free up my weekends by switching departments and working as an outpatient receptionist. The medical records and reception teams were fun to work with but what I really valued about the work was the money in my pocket.
Jump forward to my final year at University where I aimlessly sent masses of applications for graduate schemes. Studying Sport and Exercise Sciences meant there were many schemes which weren’t interested in giving me an interview, let alone hiring me. My lone interview was for the NHS General Management Graduate Training Scheme (I hadn’t even thought to apply until my mum suggested it). I left my interview thinking, ‘Well, that went badly’. I was right; but got some really helpful feedback as a consolation.
I had continued working on reception during my university holidays and I was able to return after graduating. Before long my manager recommended I apply for a secondment; I successfully applied and became supervisor of the appointment services contact centre. This was my first taste of proper responsibility and the work was much more challenging. I was working with a great team and found some really rewarding moments; but after a year or so I was ready to look for opportunities to develop. I was enjoying the challenges of management and work in the NHS so I sent off another application to the General Management Graduate Training Scheme. I bombed at interview again…
Fortunately I landed a project support officer role with the Leeds Care Record (another fantastic team!), an electronic patient record which shares health and social care information from providers across the city. It became really obvious through this work how information drives decisions at every level of the NHS, from designing pathways to individual patient care. Seeing staff react so positively to the new patient record and begin to list the ways it would help them provide better care for patients was really rewarding. Another year passed and I was once again looking for an opportunity to move on and develop; so once again I applied to the Graduate Management Training Scheme, this time for the informatics stream.
I told my interviewer all the usual stuff about how organised I am, how great I am at building professional relationships and how I’m able to work as part of a team; but this time I was able to show genuine enthusiasm for using information to improve patient care in the NHS. I made it through my interview and the assessment centre and was offered a place on the scheme.
So the moral of my story is that enthusiasm for improving patient care using information is what got me through the interview and eventually onto the scheme. And as a bonus lesson; if you’ve unsuccessfully applied for the scheme before don’t let it put you off applying a second or third time!