Your future starts here

by Claire Raistrick

13 June 2017

Claire Raistrick, Head of the HFMA Academy, gives a view on the delivery of the HFMA qualifications in healthcare business and finance. Previously, Claire has worked in higher education, healthcare and industry and brings experience from each of these areas to HFMA. She has a strong interest in online learning and her PhD is in Technology Enhanced Learning. In this interview, she talks about how the Academy delivers the qualifications and what learners can expect.

What is the role of the HFMA Academy?

The HFMA Academy delivers the HFMA qualifications through a dedicated online learning environment. This is open 24/7 and is designed so learners can study with ease.  The learning experience includes guided self-study where learners use specially authored e-books containing learning activities and links to other relevant resources. The Academy also provides the opportunity for learners to engage with peers and tutors in discussion forums as well as participating in weekly Academy Live sessions (our online tutorial space).

How are the qualifications delivered?

The HFMA Academy recognises that its learners are busy, working professionals, looking to complete the qualifications alongside day jobs that often require more than 9 to 5 hours. So, we have created a learning structure that enables you to study flexibly. The qualifications are delivered 100% online through our HFMA Academy portal. You will need access to a computer and internet.

Each module is led by a tutor with direct experience of working in NHS finance at a senior level. Typically, a module is spread over 17 weeks: one preparatory week, ten teaching weeks, two weeks of study breaks and four weeks of working on an assessment.

Those who study with us find the Academy’s online environment and our activity-based e-book approach really helpful. Your learning can be mobile too, for instance, you can upload material onto your iPad or other mobile device and study at various times and locations – whenever you have a moment.

What commitment is expected from a learner?

As a learner with The HFMA Academy you can expect to set aside 200 hours to complete the learning on each module. This is roughly 13 hours a week for study, including up to two hours of live teaching in our online environment, and completion of assignments. This effort will enable you to achieve a postgraduate qualification which we anticipate will advance your career prospects.

Each week’s topic includes a tailor-made e-book which has recommended reading and activities to ensure you understand the subject. Learners will also benefit by participating in discussion forums – online spaces shared with other learners and tutors – this is where you can discuss the study materials, raise specific questions and seek guidance on the assessment. Participation is central – taking part will help to ensure that you develop your understanding and knowledge of the module topics.  We expect you to gain a lot from collaborating in the discussion forums and via the weekly Academy Live tutorials led by our tutors – these will cover theory and, most importantly, putting that theory into everyday practice.

Each diploma (three modules) takes approximately a year to complete, however you can phase the modules – if you wish a diploma can be phased across two years, allowing you to take a break between modules.

Getting ready to study at postgraduate level

Learners are sometimes concerned if they can study at postgraduate level. This is only natural and we provide study skills resources to help you develop academic skills such as referencing techniques.

Learners can also access HFMA resources which have been selected to provide background material to help ensure you have enough relevant knowledge at the start of your studies.

What you can expect to learn and achieve from studying the programme?

There are 6 modules available:

    • How finance works in the NHS
    • Managing the healthcare business
    • Personal effectiveness and leadership
    • Tools to support decision-making
    • Creating and delivering value
    • Comparative healthcare systems

The content is relevant to issues that people are dealing with in the real world. The NHS faces major challenges in the coming years as it looks to transform services around new models of care. And given the financial context, it has to maximise value – measured in both quality and cost. So, these qualifications focus on supporting people to think through these issues – for example, while studying our value module – and then be better prepared to put the principles into action back in their organisations. Our module leaders are: Andrew Geldard, Letsie Tilley, Bob Baker, David Dumigan and Paul Assinder.

Managers today need to be more general business professionals as well as specialist in their field and the qualifications recognise this context. The HFMA qualifications enable learners to apply knowledge and theory to the day-to-day needs of healthcare.  The modules will give you a different perspective on what you are doing on a daily basis. We have taken a practical approach in each of our modules to make sure the learning can be applied in the workplace – making it relevant and useful.

Starting the programme – there are 3 start dates available each year, these are shown in the table below:

Starting the programme


To download the qualifications prospectus click here.

If you would like to find out more about studying the qualifications programme please call the team on 0117 938 593091 or visit how to apply

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