Can you balance studying and work?

Posted by: Madeleine Iredale - Posted on:

Along with the rest of the 2017 cohort of trainees I have recently submitted my assignments for Module 1 of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) Program. If you don’t know, this is a healthcare leadership program that is undertaken by all trainees in their first year and continued by those on the General Management stream in their second year. This video is really informative and will do a much better job of describing EGA than me!

For Module 1, we each completed a critical essay on an observation of patient care that we had taken part in and a reflective piece based on a work-based assignment. Juggling studying and essay writing with the challenges of a new job can be tricky. Each trainee’s placement is different but we are most often allowed to manage our own time within work and this has to be capitalized on in order to get everything done.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful in this balancing act:

  1. Planning:
    I try to set aside some time for studying in advance and make sure to put it in my work calendar (making it more official means I’m more likely to do it). This isn’t always successful, sometimes meetings or projects get in the way, but it means that EGA remains on my radar, even when I’m really busy. 
  2. Being honest:
    The recent Module 1 deadline came around much quicker than I expected and it happened to coincide with some important deadlines within my work. I made an effort to be upfront with my placement manager about this which meant that they were aware of the pressure and could support me to prioritize studying when necessary.
  3. Reaching out:
    In my opinion, one of the best things about the GMTS is the other trainees. Who could better understand the challenges of the grad-scheme than someone in the exact same position? Therefore, sharing ideas and asking questions about the academic aspect of the scheme to your friends or your buddy (within reason of course) can be invaluable. 
  4. Relaxing:
    It’s good to remind yourself that achieving perfection is never going to be realistic and that studying alongside work is an amazing opportunity that you will get more out of if you relax and make the most out of it rather than stressing about deadlines. Having faith in yourself will go a long way!

I hope those were helpful, we’ll see if they worked when I get my marks back later this month!

As always, happy to answer questions on interviews/assessment centres/any other grad scheme stuff on twitter @iredalemaddie.

For those of you taking part in interviews at the moment, good luck and well done for getting this far!

Bye for now,

Maddie

Madeleine Iredale

Hi, I’m a 2017 intake General Management Trainee. I applied to GMTS during my 3rd year of a BSc in Anatomy and Human Biology. Although I enjoyed my degree I knew that a career spent in the lab wasn’t my calling. To me, the NHS GMTS provided a great opportunity to make a difference to patient lives whilst experiencing a challenging and meaningful career across several organisations. I can’t wait to see what the following two years will have in store!

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Applications for the September 2021 intake will open in October 2020