Sam Dukes: "I never expected I’d be able to contribute so much so early in my career"

by Sam Dukes

02 February 2016


South Central Graduate Trainee

Intake: September 2014
Location: Reading

After completing my degree in economics, I knew I wanted a job that balanced the numerical and analytical skills that I had learnt with my desire to work in a dynamic and exciting environment. I hadn’t considered the NHS before I started looking for jobs after university, but as soon as I saw the advert I was instantly hooked on the idea of working in such an interesting and unique industry.  


I started on the scheme in September 2014 and have spent my first year working at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. The hospital is part of a Foundation Trust that operates on five sites, employs over 4,500 staff and provides services to a population of over a million people across Berkshire and its neighbouring counties.

I undertook an orientation programme designed to help me understand the inner workings of the hospital before getting stuck into the day-to-day of my work in finance. Some of the things I got to do included observing surgery being undertaken in our theatres, working as a porter for a day moving patients and medical equipment around the hospital, and spending a Friday night working in our busy A&E department.
I learnt so much about both the people who use our services, as well as the people who run them, and it’s become clear as I’ve worked more and more with clinicians just how important it is to be able to see things from their point of view. 

I never expected I’d be able to contribute so much so early in my career, and I know that as I gain more experience my skills will only improve. Being a trainee means I also have the opportunity to sit in on high-level meetings, such as business case reviews or monthly board performance meetings. It has really helped me to appreciate the different ways of looking at things and just how much is going on in the hospital at any one time.

In addition to working for my placement organisation, I also spend time out of the office at college studying towards CIMA. With seventeen modules to complete in less than three years, exams are never far round the corner. While it can sometimes be tiring spending so long travelling to and from college, it’s a great opportunity to get out of the office and catch up with my fellow trainees, and I know it’ll be more than worth it once I qualify.
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