Alumni story / Unveiling success: my journey through the HFMA's healthcare business and finance diploma

01 September 2023 Neeraj Beeknoo
Neeraj Beeknoo, director of the integrated care system’s (ICS) Pathology Business Unit, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has studied the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) advanced diplomas in healthcare business and finance. He has found studying to be a game-changer in accessing expertise in the field and staying up to date on the latest developments and strategies. Neeraj has enjoyed sharing his experiences with both clinical and non-clinical students. Here, he details his key takeaways from studying.

As a healthcare finance professional, it is crucial to have access to experts who can provide valuable insights and guidance. The HFMA has a network of experienced professionals who are well-versed in the industry and offer valuable knowledge and expertise. This has been highly beneficial to me as it has allowed me to deepen my understanding of complex topics and stay up to date with the latest trends and advancements. One of the main reasons for studying with the HFMA was the opportunity to gain shared experiences with clinical and non-clinical students.

Collaborating with fellow students has broadened my understanding of the healthcare industry and helped me develop a more holistic approach to problem-solving. Learning from others has been invaluable in shaping my own professional growth. Another advantage of this online study route is the flexibility. As a working professional, finding time to study can be challenging. However, the HFMA understands this and has designed its programmes to make difficult topics easy to understand and digest.

The course materials were well-structured and presented clearly and concisely, allowing me to learn at my own pace without feeling overwhelmed. The HFMA provides a wealth of information and resources specific to the NHS. This was particularly beneficial for me, as it ensures that the knowledge gained is relevant and applicable to my professional environment. Additionally, exposure to the latest developments and ideas within the NHS has expanded my understanding of governance and assurance of the industry and enabled me to contribute more effectively to my day job.

Flexible learning: unveiling the gems of online sessions and supportive interactions

One of the aspects that I found most enjoyable about studying for this course was the live online sessions. They were recorded and could be accessed multiple times, even when travelling to work. This convenience of being able to study at a time that was most suitable for me made the entire learning process much more efficient and effective. It allowed me to manage my time effectively and ensure that I could fully engage with the course material.

Additionally, I was provided with some reference papers at the beginning of the course, which gave me a head start in understanding the subject matter. This proved immensely helpful as it provided me with a solid foundation to build my knowledge throughout the course. Having access to these resources from the beginning allowed me to approach the course confidently and clearly understand the topics we would be covering.

One of the highlights of this course was the accessibility to the tutors. They were always available to answer questions and provide guidance whenever needed. This level of support made me feel valued as a student and ensured that I never felt stuck or lost during my studies. The teachers' willingness to go the extra mile in helping students succeed genuinely enhanced my learning experience.

Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive discussions during this course. These discussions not only promoted a diversity of thoughts but also helped in developing critical thinking skills. Engaging in group discussions with fellow students allowed me to gain different perspectives and challenge my ideas. This collaborative learning environment fostered intellectual growth and made studying for this course an enriching experience.

Transformative and reflective learning

The module content was exceptionally relevant and topical, particularly for someone like me who works in finance. It provided me with valuable insights into the inner workings of the NHS and highlighted key areas to be mindful of. This holistic approach to understanding the healthcare system gave me a comprehensive understanding of its financial aspects, enabling me to make more informed decisions in my professional role.

The introduction to reflective learning was particularly useful. It encouraged me to critically analyse my experiences and actions, enabling me to extract meaningful lessons and apply them in practice. Through this process, I truly internalised the knowledge gained from the module and could translate it into actionable strategies in my everyday work.

Working in a highly pressured environment has been instrumental in preparing me for this course. The experience of operating under pressure has taught me to adapt quickly and efficiently. It has honed my ability to manage my time effectively and prioritise tasks, skills that are crucial when dealing with the demands of a rigorous academic programme. Having pursued higher studies before, I am no stranger to the challenges of research and reading. I am well acquainted with the style of free-form research reading, which requires delving into various sources to gather information and form well-rounded arguments. This familiarity with the research process allowed me to anticipate the challenges in this course, enabling me to tackle them confidently and efficiently.

Each module presented its own challenges and provided valuable learning opportunities. However, if I pinpoint the most useful aspect, it would be the critical thinking and discussion aspect. This module allowed me to see different perspectives from various individuals with different views. It was a platform where I could express my own thoughts and ideas and receive live feedback from my peers and instructors. This interactive environment promoted a more constructive learning experience, encouraging us to think critically and engage in meaningful discussions.

Another aspect of the modules that greatly contributed to my learning experience was the impactful report writing and research writing assignment. This exercise provided me with the necessary skills to write compelling and impactful reports. Through various exercises and assignments, I learnt how to gather relevant information, analyse data and present my findings clearly and concisely.

If I had to choose one module that I learnt the most from, it would be the leadership and personal effectiveness module. This module delved into the various aspects of leadership, including effective communication, decision-making and team dynamics. It helped me understand the qualities of a good leader and provided me with strategies to enhance my own leadership skills.

Broader horizons: an enhanced appreciation of the NHS finance system

As someone currently working in a senior role, I can confidently say that the qualification has enhanced my appreciation of the wider system working. Through studying various concepts and theories, I have gained a deeper understanding of how different parts of a system interact and impact each other. This knowledge has proven invaluable in my day-to-day work, allowing me to identify potential areas for improvement. Moreover, the course has given me a very good grasp of governance and assurance. Learning about the principles and practices of effective governance has given me the tools and knowledge to promote transparency and accountability. This knowledge has boosted my confidence in decision-making and helped me establish stronger relationships with stakeholders by demonstrating our commitment to ethical practices and compliance.

One of the most valuable aspects was the focus on applying various theories to real-world situations. By studying and analysing case studies, I was able to see firsthand how different theories can be put into practice to achieve desired outcomes. Lastly, I believe study has significantly contributed to my development of further strategic skills. As I look towards my next role, I can confidently say that I have gained a solid foundation in strategic thinking and planning. The course has equipped me with the tools and frameworks necessary to analyse complex situations, identify opportunities and formulate effective strategies. These skills will undoubtedly be valuable as I progress in my career and take on more challenging responsibilities.

Unlock your potential: transform your career with the HFMA's comprehensive and value-driven qualifications

Enrolling in this course is a valuable investment for your personal and professional development. The modules are designed to be flexible, allowing you to study at your own pace and fit the coursework into your busy schedule. The topics covered in the modules are highly relevant and are broken down into logical blocks, making it easier for you to understand complex concepts. By completing this course, you will gain in-depth knowledge of healthcare practices and enhance your skills, boosting your confidence to perform effectively in your current role. Moreover, this newfound confidence will empower you to apply for senior positions in your field, as you will have the necessary expertise and understanding to excel in more advanced roles.

One of the key benefits of this course is that it helps identify any gaps in your knowledge. By highlighting areas where you may need further development, the course allows you to focus on acquiring the knowledge necessary to address those gaps. This self-awareness and continuous learning approach will enable you to improve yourself and become a better professional. This course is not only beneficial for your development but also provides excellent value for money. The knowledge and skills gained will impact your career trajectory, opening up new opportunities for advancement and success. Therefore, both your time and money will be well spent by enrolling in this valuable course.

If you would like to learn more about the qualifications the HFMA has to offer, click here.