Matt Bull - 'After five long years at university, it dawned on me that I couldn’t put it off any longer; with the real world calling, it was finally time to start a career'

by Matthew Bull

30 August 2017

After five long years at university, it dawned on me that I couldn’t put it off any longer; with the real world calling, it was finally time to start a career. Yet with thousands of finance related jobs available, how was I supposed to decide which one was right for me? I always wanted to be part of something big and considered myself to be a public sector person, so I chose the NHS and haven’t looked back ever since.

Over the past twelve months on the Financial Management Training Scheme, I have spent my time working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. Thrown into the office on day one, I have been part of a variety of different teams including management accounts, costing and contracts. As a graduate trainee you are given plenty of responsibility at an early stage. Within my first couple of months I found myself sitting down with service leads explaining millions of pounds worth of expenditure! Clinicians often gaze at statistics like a foreign language and it is your job to make sense of it all.

Although a large part of my time has been spent in the office with the finance team, I have had boundless opportunities to get out and see as much as the hospital as possible. Going to wards to meet with clinicians or spending time directly talking to patients really puts the day-to-day work we do in the office into perspective. I have come to learn that a career in NHS finance is much more than just numbers on a spreadsheet.

One thing for sure is that no two days on the scheme are the same. Just last week, I was fortunate enough to spend some time shadowing site management, on a day where our escalation status had reached OPEL 4.  By 10am, I had visited every ward on site, assessing bed capacity and matching it against the number of patients waiting in ED. Most of my friends and family have watched Hospital on BBC this year, but actually being able to walk the wards and experience the situation first hand was an unforgettable experience. It’s crazy to think that before I started a year ago, my only contact with the NHS involved the odd GP appointment or the occasional, yet unfortunate trip to A&E.

Although I will be sad to leave the office behind in the hospital, I am very much looking forward to my next placement and the new challenge ahead at Wiltshire CCG. What excites me the most is the opportunity to see the health service from a different perspective.

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