"It was great to see the difference NHS staff are making"

by Alice Guggenheim

25 April 2016

I am now in my second year of the graduate scheme and the last year has flown by! Since writing my last blog I have sat on two interview panels, attended numerous HFMA events, started and finished my second placement at Birmingham Cross City (BCC) CCG and progressed further in my studies. I have now completed CIMA operational level and have just completed my first exam at the management level. I am over half way in my studies and the end of CIMA is definitely in sight now!

BCC provided me with a great introduction into commissioning and furthered my knowledge on the wider NHS through a second orientation period, this time across different NHS organisations as well as different departments within the CCG. This orientation gave me the opportunity to experience time with West Midland’s Ambulance Service, Birmingham Community Healthcare and a GP practice. My experience with these providers and time with front line services will not be forgotten and will remain with me throughout my career.

My time shadowing a baby wellbeing clinic was a particularly memorable experience, where the difference clinical staff made to the patients who attended was both noticeable and inspiring. Patients were so grateful and appreciative for the support provided and it was great to get the opportunity to see the difference staff in the NHS are making every day to the lives of so many people. This difference can often go unnoticed when you spend all day in the finance office and really highlights the importance of getting out there and understanding the services we as financial professionals are helping support.

I have recently started my third placement at Sandwell and West Birmingham (SWB) CCG. I joined SWB at the busiest time of the year, just before the financial year end. Although this has been a hectic time, it has given me the chance not only to get involved in year end from a transactional perspective but also to attend senior meetings analysing the overall position. One minute I am posting journals into the ledger, and the next I am in a meeting with the director of finance discussing the overall yearend CCG position. The nature of the scheme really allows this flexibility which would not be possible once in a fixed post.

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