Wrapping Up and Moving On

Posted by: Alexandra Starks - Posted on:

I’m in the last stretch of my first placement. Being in the final month of this year long journey has been making me reflect on how far I’ve come since that September orientation.

Today, exactly four weeks from when I will leave my trust and my team, I led a department-wide meeting for the first time. I was nervous, panicky even, going into the room. I had thorough notes to work from, but still felt out of place at the head of the massive table, in front of twenty people much older and more experienced than myself, sitting where I had usually seen directors and executives sat.

I presented a report that I’ve been working on, then threw out some issues to the room for discussion, terrified of the awkward silence that I was sure would ensue. But I was wrong. People immediately started jumping in, asking questions, making suggestions, and debating the topic. They were actually interested in the work that I had led!

They were so engaged, in fact, that what was meant to be a 30 minute meeting turned into a full hour of involved discussion that led to the request for more follow up meetings to create action points based on my report. As I sat there listening to the discussion, I realised how far I’d come from day one. The first time I’d sat in that meeting room was on my second day at the trust, with about ten very senior leaders discussing the financial recovery group. After leaving that meeting, the head of information asked me what percentage of the conversation I had understood; I meekly said about 30%. What a difference a year makes!

I’m excited to be going on to my flexi and my second placement, but at the same time, I’m genuinely sad to be leaving my trust. My team here is amazing, and I want to stay and help them and the trust continue to work towards the goal of quality patient care. But, I’m also starting to get comfortable, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about being on the scheme, it’s that if you’re comfortable, you’re doing it wrong. So, it’s on to new teams and new experiences, but I will never forget or take for granted the amazing lessons that I’ve learned and opportunities that I’ve been given here.

Next time, I’ll be writing to you from my flexi placement at the Department of Health!

Good luck to all of the new trainees who will be starting soon, and as always, feel free to tweet me @alexandrastrks if you have any questions or want to have a chat about life on the scheme or in the NHS!

Alexandra Starks

Hi, I'm Alexandra. I joined the Scheme in 2017, specialising in Health Informatics in London. Prior to joining the NHS, I did an BA in International Studies in the US—I'm Texan by birth!—spent time working in refugee resettlement, and then relocated to the UK to do an MSc in Global Health & Public Policy at Edinburgh University. As a non-Brit, I can thoroughly appreciate the value of the NHS, and hope to be able to contribute to it's future success!

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Applications for the September 2021 intake will open in October 2020