Technical / HFMA Academy: tutors form cornerstone of online support

01 June 2021 Seamus Ward

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One of the things that marks out the HFMA Academy’s advanced diplomas is the depth of knowledge and engagement from the course tutors, provided online as a more flexible approach to learning.

‘The HFMA advanced diploma tutors provide a high level of support, based on years of experience working in senior NHS positions, including finance, and commercial organisations outside the health service. They support students to get the most out of their chosen course,’ says academy head Emily Osgood.

Student feedback has been positive. One typical response was: ‘Every aspect was well covered, and our tutor was very helpful. She also has very deep knowledge on the various topics covered in the module, which was particularly useful for this study.’

Another said: ‘The tutors were very informative, helpful and engaging and always made you feel part of the class.’

Much of the support is provided online. The tutors offer weekly online live and recorded sessions with student cohorts, and interactive discussion forums for questions and debate.Letsie Tilley

Letsie Tilley (pictured) is a highly experienced NHS finance director, spending more than 20 years at board level. She is lead tutor on the Advanced diploma in healthcare business and finance module - Comparative healthcare systems.

‘Throughout my financial career in the NHS, I have always enjoyed being involved in NHS finance leadership, training and development initiatives,’ she says.

‘Since becoming semi-retired and moving to live in France, I am delighted to have been able to contribute “virtually” to the content and delivery of various modules offered by HFMA Academy.’

Ms Tilley’s approach to tutoring is partly based on her experiences. ‘Every week, our learners travel the world, with me as their guide, exploring different global healthcare systems from the comfort of their own homes,’ she says.

‘I especially enjoy sharing my family’s first-hand experience of using the French healthcare system. I also find it interesting researching new material to share with the learners and being involved in their discussions during the weekly online Academy Live sessions.’

Studying at master’s level involves learning some great new skills, such as the ability to demonstrate critical thinking, she adds.

‘Initially, some learners can find it difficult to master, so it is extremely rewarding helping them to develop those skills and supporting them right through to the successful completion of their assessment assignment.’

Iain Crossley is a tutor on the Diploma in advanced primary care management, and has more than 20 years’ experience in NHS finance, working as a finance officer, and as an accountable officer.

He has a deep knowledge of, and insights into, system transformation and integration.

Mr Crossley leads two modules – Personal effectiveness and leadership, and Healthcare business and finance.

‘I want to help people understand this thing we call the NHS,’ he comments. ‘The NHS puts people into roles and expects them to know what to do and how things work. It helps being retired because I can sit back and look at things dispassionately.

‘I very much enjoy helping non-NHS finance people understand finance and helping people working at the front line in primary care networks or integrated care systems know what they are looking at.’

As well as tutoring, Mr Crossley has written several of the modules and he contributes regularly to the qualification’s online discussion forum, stimulating debate and answering students’ questions.

The forum provides valuable support for students. ‘It’s important to keep the forum rolling because if someone puts up a post or asks a question and doesn’t receive a response, they are not going to do it again.’