HFMA Academy: flexible benefits

by Letsie Tilley

Healthcare Finance technical, 30 April 2019

HFMA tutor Letsie Tilley gives her perspective on the association’s qualifications

After working for almost 30 years in NHS senior finance management roles (including 20 as a board-level finance director), I followed my dreams and came to live in the Loire valley of France with my husband. Having retired early, I wanted to work part-time, preferably in a role that would draw on my experience in the NHS.
Letsie Tilley

I have always enthusiastically promoted NHS finance leadership and personal development, including strongly supporting the HFMA. After moving to France, I was fortunate in having been able to continue as an HFMA executive coach by using a combination of face-to-face sessions (during brief visits to the UK), phone calls, emails and Skype conversations.

In April 2016, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to help develop the new HFMA Academy masters-level qualifications. Initially, this began by writing some of the course content and then I went on to become a tutor and module leader on three different modules, which I have really enjoyed doing. 

The HFMA qualifications are attractive to a wide range of managers and clinicians at different stages of their careers. They present challenges to learners in different ways, which is partly what makes them so worthwhile.

Those at an earlier stage of their careers may be used to studying, having just finished a professional qualification or degree; but have less knowledge and experience to draw on. Those further along their career pathway may not have studied for a while, so can initially find studying a big step up, but often they have much more knowledge and experience to fall back on.

Studying at masters level tends to be more intense and requires a greater amount of independent study than a first degree or professional accountancy qualification does. It also requires discipline to be able to study regularly each week, while juggling the demands of busy work and home lives.

However, as tutors, we are here to support you, to try and enable you to get the most out of the course. Being able to study online, provides you with greater flexibility around how you approach your studies by enabling you to:

  • Avoid having to take time off work or travel long distances to participate
  • Study the course material and prepare for discussions at times to suit you
  • Participate in academy live sessions (often held in the evening) from the comfort of your own home (wearing what you want, while eating your supper!)
  • Watch the academy live sessions again or catch up any time if you miss one, as they are recorded.

Most learners ultimately find that the hard work they put in more than pays off in terms of their own personal development and the opportunities it can bring.

The qualification provides a broader perspective on various aspects of the management and delivery of healthcare and it also challenges preconceived assumptions about healthcare systems by discussing and understanding other points of view.

It builds on and develops existing skills in areas such as critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making abilities. Undertaking relevant independent research extends existing knowledge of business theories, which can be put into practice to enhance effectiveness at work.

Networking with colleagues from different backgrounds and professions and sharing different experiences is also a significant bonus – a benefit that many students have commented favourably on.

All in all, the qualifications not only support learners in their current roles but also help to prepare them to take advantage of future career opportunities. I do hope this encourages you to find out more about the HFMA qualifications and to come and join us on one of our online modules very soon.