Day in the Life of an NHS Graduate Management Trainee


Day in the life of an NHS Management Trainee

Name: Melissa Surgey
Title: NHS Graduate Management Trainee
University: University of Manchester
Course: Anatomical Sciences
Year of Graduation: 2012

About Me

I joined the General Management specialism of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) in September 2012 shortly after graduating with a BSc (Hons) Anatomical Sciences from the University of Manchester. Prior to joining the scheme I had no previous experience of working in the NHS. I have recently finished my first placement as an Assistant Directorate Manager in the Women' s and Children's Directorate at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation trust (UHSM).

My Day

08:00: I try to get to my office at Wythenshawe Hospital early whilst the hospital is still fairly quiet so I can sort through my emails undisturbed. I'll have a quick look to see if there is anything urgent that needs addressing as a priority, otherwise I add any tasks arising to my to-do-list. I'll then check the hospital "smartboards" from my PC for the A&E Department and my department, Paediatrics and Neonates. These smartboards mean I can remotely monitor how many patients are in each department and their movements between them throughout the day.

08:30: I walk over to the Paediatric and Neonatal Department for my daily check-in with staff and get a feel for any issues we might come up against today. It's a huge area to cover: the Children's Ward, Day Unit, Observation and Assessment Unit, Outpatient Department and the Neonatal Unit so I'm always grateful to see the nurse in charge and the consultant of the week who bring me up to speed quickly. We discuss patient flow in terms of how many children we expect to be discharged, elective patients booked in for investigations or surgery, patients are waiting in A&E and number of outpatient clinics booked for the day. A certain proportion of this activity will be unpredictable so I'm glued to my work mobile for the rest of the day in case I get called to resolve any issues myself or need to escalate to senior management.

Whilst in the Department, I call in on the Medical Secretaries. As their line manager, I try and see them at least once a week to check everything is running smoothly. Today we discuss their vocational qualifications in Customer Service that they are completing through the Trust and I sign off some of their coursework.

10:00: I attend a theatre scheduling meeting with my counterparts from other departments, theatre nurses and the booking manager. We confirm the theatre sessions scheduled for the next six weeks and negotiate over the use of empty sessions. The meeting gets quite heated at times as some departments will be desperate to pick up these additional sessions to help them meet their waiting list targets, especially for cancer patients who need urgent surgery. I'm fortunate that I only oversee two theatre sessions in Paediatrics so it's usually stress-free.

11:00: Time for my weekly one-to-one with my Graduate Management Training Scheme placement manager, who is also my line manager. This is my opportunity to raise any issues in the Paediatric and Neonatal Department that either he should be aware of or I need his help with. In return, he cascades information from senior management and delegates tasks to me. We also chat more generally about my progress on the GMTS and how I'm finding the placement. He's highly supportive and approachable so we have a constructive discussion about adapting my placement to reflect my new skills and challenge me further in the next couple of months.

12:00: By now I'm starving so I'll have a quick lunch and chat with the other colleagues in my office. I check the smartboards again and spend some time catching up on emails and resolving some urgent queries from the clerical staff about rescheduling outpatient clinics.

14:00: I accompany my placement manager and the Paediatric Speciality Lead consultant to the Children and Families Strategy Group, chaired by our Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This is an opportunity to get involved in some more high-level decision-making and broaden my understanding of strategic planning. Today I'm presenting a proposal I wrote to extend our Paediatric Observation and Assessment Unit to 24 hour opening. The Unit is invaluable in helping staff manage flows between A&E and the Children's Ward and allows our patients to be treated in a child-friendly environment rather than waiting in A&E or being unnecessarily admitted to the ward. The proposal is endorsed by the group which I'm really pleased about after a stressful couple of weeks putting it together.

16:00: I stay behind after work to do some research for my Masters assignment which forms the educational component of the scheme. Although I could go home, I concentrate better in the hospital library so I try to get my head down and do some reading on service improvement methods.

By Melissa Surgey, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

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