Following on from my previous post about how I secured my Work Placement with the NHS I thought I would do a post about how it all actually went….
I was super nervous about my Placement as anyone would be…There was so much to consider that I just didn’t have to worry about in the Army. How long would it take me to get there in rush hour traffic? What will I wear? Is appropriate to do my hair in a nice style and should I wear makeup or jewellery? It was all very alien to me but I had prepared well. I had been out and specifically bought some ‘work clothes’, I’d recce’d my route in advance and I’d been staring at every female office worker for weeks to see what they were doing with regards to hair, makeup and jewellery etc. Because of all that I felt pretty prepared and knew that if it all went to pot I’d tried my best. All those worries mixed in with not knowing anyone or what you were going to be doing and its fair to say I was anxious.
So I arrived at the Medical Staffing Dept at St James’ Hospital and just got stuck in as best I could. The team were doing Pre-Employment Checks on some Doctors that were starting in the Summer and I just dived right in. I felt a little bit as though I should slow down and not ask as many questions as I was but then I thought that this was my Work Placement and I needed to get as much from it as I possibly could. So with that in mind I continued to be a pleasant pain in the posterior and quizzed the ladies I worked with on pretty much everything!! As the days went on it turned out, Administration in the NHS wasn’t too dissimilar to the way the Army did things. They both used the Oracle system which I was well used to, the pay was done almost identically with pay scales based on seniority and time in post and they used increment dates like the Military do. By the end of day 2 I didn’t feel nervous anymore – I felt confident and enthused and now set my sights past just learning what Medical Staffing did on a day to day basis. Day three came and before you knew it I had swanned off down to Occupational Health and introduced myself, told them what I was doing and if they could let me see what they did in their Dept. They were only too happy to help. I then did this in Trust HQ Main Reception, Payroll/Pensions and General Recruiting!! Everyone was so keen to help and enlighten me on the roles and responsibilities of their Dept that by the end of the first week I had a good overall view of NHS admin and not one small (but integral) part.
By the time week two came I felt really part of the team, the girls were all so friendly and helpful – even when they must have been sick to the back teeth of me quizzing them on Contracts or NHS Policy or the Recruitment procedure and whatever else sprung to mind! This was really great as it put another one of my fears to bed. I had never worked in a predominantly female environment before never mind an ALL female Dept but I had nothing to worry about…I had fit right in.
Towards the end of the second week however, I didn’t feel as though I was getting much new out of the Placement. This wasn’t down to any individual or me losing interest, it was purely down to the fact that I had arrived at the Dept in their busiest time and the workload was immense. That coupled with a few new starters and there just wasn’t the time to dedicate to little old me on Work Experience. Initially my Placement had been scheduled to run over 6 weeks but I had made my decision and I left the Medical Staffing Dept after only 2 weeks. I was really sad to leave and it was a tough choice to make but I only had 4 weeks left where I was paid by the Army and I needed to make it count.
I had heard people say that you need to make finding a job your full time job and they weren’t exaggerating! I had made the right choice – There was no way I could work full time on my Placement, come home and keep my house in order and do the networking and preparation I need to find the right job for me. Im still at it and hopefully good things are in the pipeline!! 🙂