So after my previous post on the topic of doing things for the final time, sadly this is my final NHS graduate management trainee blog post (sob!).
I can’t believe it’s been two years. It doesn’t seem five minutes since the welcome event, where we all nervously met for the first time in Leeds and were introduced to the two years ahead. Fast forward to now and everything the scheme required of me has officially been completed. I’ve undertaken three placements in different organisations. My competencies on Geni are up to date and over the 90% threshold for graduating. I’m CIPD qualified, with a Postgraduate Diploma in HR Management and a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership. Many of my 2016 intake colleagues are in new roles in new trusts and organisations. My first year ‘buddy’ is now a second year, out on her 8 week flexi placement. And of course, there is a new cohort of 2018 trainees just starting out. In all ways except mental, I’m ready to move on from the grad scheme.
It’s safe to say it’s been a busy and somewhat hectic two years, and so now that it’s all finished it’s been good to reflect back over my time on the scheme and the experiences I’ve had. Sorting through all the grad scheme related ‘stuff’ I’ve acquired – books, paperwork, training materials – reminds me of just how much I’ve managed to fit into a compact time and makes me realise how much I’ve learned, grown and developed. I have gained so much during my time on the scheme: experience, confidence, an understanding and appreciation of the NHS and its employees, countless training and development opportunities, a network of colleagues, and an impressive 12 lanyards.
I anticipated things would be fast-paced before I joined, having read about the scheme via the website, blogs etc. This was confirmed to be true right from my orientation and to be honest, didn’t really slow down from there: conducting one placement while sourcing the next, coursework and exams flying in from different directions, work-based activities, study groups, action learning sets, residential training and learning activities, conferences and professional exchange events, signing off competencies, job hunting… that’s on top of a commute/relocating, squeezing in annual leave, maintaining friends/family commitments or hobbies – oh, and remembering the essentials like eating and sleeping! While I knew (to an extent!) what I was signing up for, juggling it all has nonetheless been one of the most challenging things I’ve done. I have worked incredibly hard over the past two years and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved.
From leadership masterclasses, meeting senior leaders and carrying out a mock serious incident investigation to chairing meetings, participating in a ‘goldfish bowl’ exercise and debates about social media and Brexit, I have been involved in a diverse range of activities to say the least. The scheme has challenged my expectations and pushed me out of my comfort zone. My personal and professional resilience have been tested and developed. I’ve learned how to properly reflect. I’ve benefited from a great support network in the form of the 2016 intake, and made friends who I hope to stay in touch with long after the scheme. Although the scheme can be full-on and at times exhausting, the experiences you gain and the opportunities it affords you make it worthwhile.
It’s very strange to become a GMTS alumna! I have enjoyed blogging during my time on the scheme, and hope you have found my blog useful and informative (if not mildly entertaining) as I have navigated my way through various placements and challenges. Who knows, perhaps it has even encouraged a few of you to apply. If you are considering joining the scheme in the future, it’s good to be aware that sometimes it will be tough, but is an incredible opportunity. I come away with fond memories of my time on this scheme, which has offered me so much.