Meet Talhah, General Management

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Career change: from NHS doctor to NHS management trainee

Towards the end of med school, I realised that a) I had found no specialty I wanted to go into and that b) I wasn’t enjoying doing medicine. By this point I had been running several societies and involved in student council and realised that I much more enjoyed the logistics and politics of running groups etc.

So I did something I enjoyed, I went back to studying at my olduniversity and studied Global Health.

Doing Global Health taught me a lot, not just in terms of the subject matter but also diversifying the way I thought about healthcare and how healthcare is managed on a much larger scale than what I saw as a doctor.

I joined GMTS after gaining a Masters in Global Health. Below are some highlights from my first weeks on the Scheme:

Week 1

The first week and a half had been really informative and confusing. Confusing in the sense that this is a big hospital and therefore very easy to get lost in and lots of people to meet and try to remember. The meetings ranged from meeting the CEO to seeing how the radiotherapy department works and in the meantime dealing with the normal IT starter issues, signing of forms etc.

Meeting the Exec has been really interesting and surprising. In the first week we met with the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Officer and Chief People Officer (formerly Director of HR) and all 3 have been very excited to meet us and have been equally interested in learning about my background. It definitely came across that they were interested in helping us progress both on a personal development level but career wise as well which was unexpected as we are just trainees.

Whilst everyone has been very friendly and welcoming, this has sometimes come whilst departments have been stretched and short-staffed. Despite this people have still made time for us to observe them and provide insights into their daily work lives. For example, chemotherapy was very busy and we had to delay our meeting due to an unexpected issue arising (which is understandable and a hazard of working in a healthcare system). This was not the first or last meeting this happened to us and we were very grateful when the team called us back to come talk to them and we appreciated them taking the time to speak to us.

Week 2

I spent a couple of hours in phlebotomy learning how the admin and management staff work. I also spent some time learning how the workflow for the department worked from patient referral to testing. This would mirror how the rest of my orientation would go. I found it interesting to learn how the back-end of departments work as that is the side of hospital management I have not seen. And so I rearranged parts of my orientation to decrease my clinical observations and swap them for meetings with admin or management of those departments.

Friday morning saw me spending half the day with finance which is probably the thing in my orientation I was looking most forward to. I found quickly that actually, I knew more than I thought. Most people were also very friendly and gave great explanations as to what they do and their areas of expertise are.

Week 3

On Monday afternoon I met with D, the Directorate Manager for T&O. He took a different approach to my departmental meeting with him than other managers had. We discussed for half the meeting current projects that were ongoing in the department and the pressures he was facing in terms of meeting targets etc. However it was the latter half of the meeting I found more useful. We openly discussed the hardships and challenges of being a manager. He asked a couple of rather probing questions that I didn’t mind (or felt pressured) to answer but did help him understand where I was coming from and therefore then tailored his advice towards me. He also provided me advice on how to move forward during the scheme, about grabbing opportunities and working out for myself which ones would be worthwhile and which ones would not but encouraged me more so than anyone else on getting stuck in and making the most of my 2 years.

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