A career stepping stone

by Natasha Parry

08 March 2021

Natasha Parry, an advanced clinical practitioner specialising in elderly, frailty, and complex patient management, is one of the current learners studying for the HFMA advanced diploma in healthcare business and finance. In this blog, Natasha talks about why she chose to study the qualification, what she has learned so far, and how studying has helped with her wellbeing during the pandemic.

When I enrolled, I was wary of the mental impact that studying for such an advanced course during Covid-19 might have. I work in primary care, seeing people affected by the pandemic on a daily basis. The days are long, relentless, and extremely draining both physically and emotionally. What I have found though is that studying for the HFMA advanced diploma has almost given me a release from the impact of working on the frontline during the pandemic. The content is interesting and the critical thinking and discussion within the modules are not only fascinating, but have allowed me to take a step back from what is an extremely challenging time in the NHS, and remember that there is a world beyond Covid-19.

Another thing that has helped with this is the interaction between learners that the qualification encourages. In my intake there is a split of finance/non-finance professionals. Having the opportunity to look at things from different perspectives in the group discussion has almost been as helpful as the actual formal learning. There’s lots of space for you to come up with your own opinion and discuss it alongside the opinions of others. Listening to different perspectives and hearing the opinions of finance colleagues, and the way they approach shared issues, has been really eye-opening for me.

The tutors have also been very helpful and supportive. You can really tell that they have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and they’re very good at facilitating discussion and encouraging interaction in the online sessions. 

I am still in the early stages of the qualification, and there is a long way to go. However, I’m already seeing the benefits of studying for it in how I approach issues in my clinical role. Previously I’ve led visible projects and have been involved in service transformation and presenting to boards. I never really questioned how I talked about high-level management and financial issues in these situations, but already after only a few months of studying, the qualification has opened my eyes to a number of things I can do differently, and has highlighted the importance of finance and clinical colleagues working together to improve services. 

I’ve no doubt I will continue to learn vital skills on this course and I’m excited to start my next module. Looking beyond the qualification at my future career, the possibilities are numerous. The option of continuing my study with an MBA in Healthcare Finance does appeal to me, but I would also like to use the skills from this qualification alongside my clinical experience in more strategic roles. For example, I’ve always had a passion for personalised care, so I would like to make a difference to how personalised, integrated care is delivered on a larger scale. Whatever I choose to do though, I know that this qualification will prove an important stepping stone in me in doing it.  

The next intake or the HFMA qualifications in healthcare business and finance starts in May. Click here for more information on how the qualification can work for you, and for details on how to apply.
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