Louisa Watson is a General Management trainee at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, based in Maternity and Neonates as an Assistant Service Manager. Louisa shares her experience of being ‘thrown in the deep end’ and taking on real responsibility early on during her GMTS journey. She talks about the fantastic support that has enabled her to make these projects a success and support her learning as a future health and social care leader.
Non-urgent advice: Louisa’s Story
“…The support that I have received has been exceptional, and a direct reflection of the culture…“Louisa Watson – GMTS Trainee
In September 2021, I started my role on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme on the General Management stream, working in Maternity and Neonates at Great Western Hospital, Swindon. My role is Assistant Service Manager, and from day 1 have been thrown into numerous projects and operational transformations within the department. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about my so-called ‘baptism by fire’, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my first 4 months on the scheme and have learnt a huge amount in a concise space of time.
One of the first projects that I started was to facilitate and introduce a dedicated planned Caesarean section (LSCS) theatre list. This is something that the Trust has been wanting since the hospital opened 19 years ago. After a lot of work with an incredibly committed team, we were able to make this happen, and on 4th January this separate planned LSCS list began. This has been greatly welcomed by all staff but most importantly will improve the experience of women/birthing people and their families that use our service. Being part of this large project meant that I was instantly working with everyone who would become my close team in the upcoming months, and this enabled my quick settling in. My colleagues also quickly became aware of my capabilities, and from this, I have been put onto numerous projects and have been able to complete a substantial amount of my GMTS competencies.
One of my largest projects has been writing Maternity and Neonate’s Strategic Service Review. This business plan presents our current service status, vision, demand and capacity, activity, performance, top priorities, and a 4-year plan for maternity until 2026 (including the support and funding we will need to complete this). This document will be presented internally to Trust Executives and once approved, will be shown to the CQC on their next inspection – which is imminent. This was a very challenging task but gave me huge insight into the current running of Maternity and our strategy going forward.
A new project I am taking a lead on relates to the expansion of our Day Assessment Unit (DAU). We have acquired some empty office space which we are going to transform into clinical space. This is a large project that will alter the operational running of Maternity’s triage and DAU. I am working with our clinical team, estates and the transformation team to decide how we want to use this space, and the building work and expense that will go into the transformation.
Something significant that has enabled me to have my metaphorical finger in lots of pies is support from executive directors. One of our execs is an alumnus of the scheme and she has invited me onto one of her projects working with Bristol, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Wiltshire Health and Care, and the local council. She has also supported me in being a Ward Sponsor during our SAFER fortnight – enabling me to temporarily take on a new role, which was very exciting.
The support that I have received has been exceptional, and a direct reflection of the culture in the department and Trust HQ. I am excited to see what I get up to for the rest of my time at Swindon, and how their support will progress my career in the NHS.