Inside view: why distance learning?

by Liz Hall

23 October 2017

An inside view on studying HFMA’s qualifications. Liz Hall, a May starter on the qualifications programme, shares her experience studying of the HFMA Qualifications programme.

What is your background and what made you choose a qualification from HFMA?

I have worked in the NHS in an acute trust for nearly 12 years. I currently work as a finance manager linked to a clinical division, I enjoy the role due to its variation and the fast-paced environment.

I was interested in further study having recognised that, as I’ve been in the same trust for 12 years, I needed to ensure I wasn’t becoming ‘stale’ and wanted to broaden my knowledge. I don’t want to move trusts currently, so I felt I needed another way to gain experience. I also qualified as an accountant in 2011, so I have been out of study mode for a few years and felt a postgraduate qualification would help with my professional development.

When looking for qualifications directly linked to my role in the NHS I came across the HFMA qualifications programme. What appealed to me most was the content of the qualification modules and that the programme is all online with no day time commitment. I have two young children and a busy job, so I would struggle with class based learning. Because the HFMA programme is flexible, distance learning I can fit in my study as I wish and this made my decision to study more straightforward.

What has your experience of studying been so far?

Since I started the programme in May I have really enjoyed studying my first module ‘Creating and delivering value in healthcare’ and the learning environment has been excellent, offering a virtual classroom for the academy live sessions each week. The interactive discussion forums have provided a platform for active discussions around the module topics, between the tutor and the learners, allowing us as students to learn from one another’s experiences as well as the tutor’s.

How have you found the distance learning style?

I have really enjoyed this and have found myself using the mobile app quite a bit as it makes the material more accessible. Sometimes after a busy day at work I don’t want to turn the laptop back on so it can be hard to get motivated but the app allows me to just pick up the iPad and easily read through some material or do one of the preparation modules. It makes it feel a bit less like work!

Would you recommend studying the HFMA qualifications to others?

From my experience to date I would definitely recommend the qualification because I’ve not seen anything similar that allows you to study at this level in such a flexible way. The material is interesting and the tutors and HFMA team are really helpful, so it helps to know there’s support for us when we need it. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed is, because it’s online so open nationally, that I’ve got to speak to people from all areas of the country and listen to their experiences. If I was studying at a university locally, I’d probably be talking to people I know or who work in a similar area but this qualification offers something different.

Want to know more?

Bursary funding available to NHS staff. To apply for the next intake of the HFMA Qualifications  click here.

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