Life as a GMTS trainee – ‘One Year In!’

Posted by: elliejullens - Posted on:

Louisa Watson is a General Management trainee on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Louisa is now coming to the end of her placement as a Business Manager and Assistant Service Manager in Women’s and Children’s Services.

Following her previous article on being ‘thrown into the deep end’ earlier this year, below, Louisa reflects on her development since joining the scheme in September 2021.

Non-urgent advice: Louisa’s Story

…full to the brim with great learning opportunities and challenges!…”

Louisa Watson – GMTS Trainee
Louisa Watson – GMTS Trainee

In January, I wrote a piece about being ‘thrown into the deep end’ as the Maternity Business Manager, and it is fair to say that since then, lots has changed. I have learnt so much more, so it is only fair that now this placement is coming to an end I update you on what I have been up to and reflect on my time at GWH.

Previously, I wrote about helping to introduce a dedicated planned caesarean section theatre list, writing the strategic service review for Maternity and Neonates and planning the expansion of our Day Assessment Unit (DAU). These projects were pivotal in allowing me to show my capabilities and ambition. From this, I was given more responsibility and took on an additional role of Assistant Service Manager for Women and Children and got involved in some trust-wide work. As you can imagine this left my diary full to the brim with great learning opportunities and challenges!

I have developed extensive skills from being on-call and dealing with immediate issues and time pressures. However, expanding into an operational role made me realise that it is not suited to me. I prefer working on the business side of things; strategic transformation, and trust-wide Quality Improvement (QI) projects. Something I have greatly enjoyed is helping to develop the trust’s Health Inequalities Steering Group, and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to write the appropriate papers for this and take it to a board subcommittee. I have a background in public health, so being able to integrate this knowledge and work with Swindon Public Health has been a hugely beneficial and interesting experience.

 An opportunity like the above does not go without thanks to my mentors who put amazing opportunities in front of me. Another one of these was participating in the trust’s Network and Navigate leadership course, which expands on the importance of successful leadership and gives participants the headspace and resources to develop QI projects for anywhere in the trust. From my work shadowing the Deputy COO I was able to identify the need for a new system for ‘Pink Slips’ (non-urgent requests for advice between departments). From this I worked with my team on the course to improve this system – and we have! We are looking at getting this rolled out throughout the trust before the end of August. Projects like this have really expanded my ambition and helped me identify that I want my flexi-placement to be working on trust-wide transformations as this is where I have the opportunity to be creative and get a lot of self-satisfaction.

 There are so many things that I will be taking into my flexi-placement, which will be with GE Healthcare, but there are 4 main points;

 1.     The knowledge I have gained working in health inequalities – the duty and ability that healthcare organisations have to impact their surrounding population’s health.

2.     The importance of knowing your organisation and the people who have influence – makes making change a lot quicker and easier

3.     Saying yes to as many things as possible! Some of my best experiences at GWH have been from projects or working groups that sit externally to my job description, and I have been able to better identify the types of work that I love, and the type that I would rather not do again – both of which are very important things to know.

4.     The importance of having a good relationship with your colleagues. This is something that I think can make or break any job, but especially as a grad without those good relationships I would not have been offered half of the opportunities that I have and would not have laughed nearly as much as I did. I am truly going to miss the chaos (and constant supply of food!) that comes from being based in an office with midwives.

 The support I have received at Great Western Hospital has been exceptional and is a direct reflection of the amazing people I have worked with and the Trust as a whole. I am very excited to see how my career will develop thanks to the opportunities GWH has given me over the last 12 months.


Non-urgent advice: Learn more about the NHS Graduate Management Scheme

If you’re ready to develop your career as a future leader within the NHS, The Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) can give you the training and support you need to achieve your leadership potential. 

For a bit of an insight into what life on the Scheme is like, watch the below video which captures the experiences of some of our recent trainees:

The scheme is not just for new graduates, we welcome the experience that NHS internal applicants bring to the scheme and encourage applications from staff with protected characteristics.  It’s crucial that the NHS develops a diverse pool of leadership talent to meet the needs of a diverse population. Join one of our live webinars that are dedicated to NHS staff; this is your chance to find out more about the Scheme and the application process, and also speak to current trainees and alumni.

Applications to the scheme for 2023 open on the 26th of September and close on the 31st of October 2022. To find out more about the scheme, visit our website.

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