Elizabeth H.

Directorate Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Elizabeth H.
United Kingdom

My employment

Directorate Manager
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Directorate Manager in the United Kingdom

Directorate Manager at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

What I do

I am responsible for the General Surgery and Urology services at York, Scarborough and Bridlington Hospitals. My role involves working closely with the clinical staff to ensure that we are providing a safe, timely and efficient service to the patients. My main duties are ensuring that we meet the national and local performance targets, ensuring that capacity meets demand, responding to patients' complaints and queries, management of staff and working with the rest of the team to deliver savings and cost improvements.

Skills I use and how I developed them

I needed a 2.2 in any undergraduate degree subject to be able to apply for the graduate scheme. Although I chose to move away from legal career, I think that the skills and knowledge I gained through my degree have been applicable to my current role. In the third year of my degree I undertook a module which involved working in the legal clinic. We worked in small groups, undertaking pro bono legal work for members of the public. This not only developed my team work skills but also gave me experience of working with the public in a service role.

Extracurricular skills:
Being vice-president of the University of York Law Society really helped to develop my leadership skills through making decisions and representing the society. Also, as I undertook a variety of activities and jobs outside of my academic study, it really helped to develop my time management and organisational skills.

What I like most

I really enjoy the variety and fast-paced nature of the role. A hospital is a very unpredictable environment and your plans for the day can be totally changed at the last moment. I have a lot of responsibilty within my role which means that my decisions have a direct impact on patients. I enjoy leading the team and being able to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

What I like least

My least favourite part of the job is dealing with patients' complaints as it can be a very difficult process. However, it is very important to ensure that complaints receive a thorough and timely response.

What surprised me most

The variety of different roles within the NHS. There are lots of potential different areas of work for me in the future.

How I looked for work

When I had decided that I didn’t want to pursue a career in law (at the start of my third year), I met with my careers tutor and we discussed different career options. We talked about management or leadership roles which I felt played to my strengths. I focussed my search for graduate roles working in management in the public sector as I felt this matched my values. I used personal contacts, the Times Graduate Schemes list, student forums and the university careers service to identify the jobs I wanted to apply for.

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

The recruitment process for the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme involves an online application form, online tests, a face-to-face interview and finally an assessment centre. I applied in December 2010, the interview took place in January 2011 and the assessment centre in March. I was offered my place on the scheme in April 2011. For my permanent role, the application process was an online application form and a face-to-face interview which took place in July 2013.

My career history

Whilst in my third year, I applied for a place on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. I was successful and began my first placement at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in September 2011 as a Project Manager. I was then given the opportunity to undertake an elective placement outside of the NHS and I chose to work at Leeds City Council as a Commissioning Officer from September to October 2012. My final placement was at York Teaching Hospital as Deputy Directorate Manager for General Surgery and Urology. In July 2013, I successfully interviewed for the same role on a permanent contract and began in September 2013. In January 2015, I gained promotion to the position of Directorate Manager.

Courses taken since graduation

MSc in Leadership and Service Improvement

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I am hoping to gain a more senior management role within the hospital, possibly moving to a deputy director level position or similar in the next 5 years.

My advice to students considering work

You need more than your degree to get a job in this tough graduate job market. I am involved in recruitment for the NHS Graduate Management Scheme and they are looking for skills and qualities which will be transferable to taking on a management role. So, for example, you need to demonstrate leadership qualities. You can demonstrate those through a part-time job, being a member of a university society, voluntary work etc but it would be difficult to demonstrate that skill in your degree. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to undertake these types of additional activities in order to improve your employability. Specific work experience is always beneficial but it isn't crucial. Don't be afraid to apply for a job if you don't have direct work experience; just really think about how you can apply what experience you do have to the role that you want.

My advice about working in my industry

If you're interested in a career in healthcare management then the NHS Graduate Management Scheme is a really great way to start that career. I would get in touch with people who have done the scheme and the recruitment team through their website, blogs and social media. The NHS constantly changes and it is very useful to keep up-to-date with what is happening. Most of the main developments are reported in the national press but the Health Service Journal, the NHS Confederation, The King's Fund and NHS Employers are excellent sources of information.

Other advice

Don’t apply for lots and lots of graduate schemes or jobs - choose two or three you are really interested in and spend your time on those.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Elizabeth’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Elizabeth a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Elizabeth to be your mentor.

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