In our latest blog we hear from Laxmi Patel, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance. Laxmi is 3 months into her placement and in this post she reflects on her first day nerves and offers advice for any fellow new starters.
Hi I’m Laxmi and I am currently on a placement year at Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
I was actually asked to start my role earlier than September and I agreed to it because I didn’t really have much planned over the summer! So I started 3 months ago and I remember how nervous I was on my first day – I actually felt sick! But, my manager was very honest and welcoming and the team I’m surrounded by were also very kind – they actually made me feel a bit more relaxed!
My first day was all the standard introductory stuff so I wasn’t introduced to anything too new, apart from all the names that were thrown at me – but you’re really not expected to remember them all!
I work for Saint Mary’s Hopsital and am involved in looking at pay and expenditure for each of the areas within the hospital – it’s actually really interesting because this is the hospital where pregnant women come to from the moment they find out they’re pregnant to when they go home with the baby. So I get to look into the expenditure of all sorts of services offered in all aspects of this hospital.
I remember leaving work after my first week and I came back home and told all my friends that I was a pro at using Excel – we use Excel for literally everything we do, and I’m still learning new things even after using it practically everyday!
This last month I have been able to get more involved in the monthly procedures and have been able to get on with a few things myself like writing up and posting journals for adjustments such as prepayments and accruals. I have also been able to work with my manager on understanding and actioning re-alignments of budgets appropriately.
I’m a member of the Communications Group; we hold meetings every month and work to make communication within the Finance Department and teams more effective. I am also part of the Introduction Group and have been involved in helping the department to set up a buddying scheme for new starters. Being a new starter myself I’ve been able to make suggestions and enforce ideas that are suitable from a new starter point of view as well as an internal point of view.
So, reflecting back on the past 3 months, I have honestly learnt so much! But I’ve got a lot to still learn. My manager goes away for 3 weeks in December which means I’m expected to do more work while she’s away! So I’m really excited as December will be a challenging experience.
The placement students from last year left last week, so some of us went bowling and for some food and drinks. It was a great opportunity to socialise with some of the people I work with regularly and when I went back to work, I felt a bit more comfortable and at ease. So, my advice is; if you get asked to go out with a group of people, definitely go! I even go out for lunch with some colleagues regularly, so I’d advise that too as it makes work less frightening.
Here are a few things I have learnt from the past 3 months which might be useful for other placement students:
- Always ask if you are unsure – you’d rather get it right by asking than do the work and it be wrong, which you then have to redo!
- When you’re having conversations with your team/other colleagues, they may naturally use words/names/abbreviations or jargon that you may not understand. DON’T just nod and agree – ask them what they’re talking about – this makes it easier to understand things you may be working on/future conversations.
- Don’t be nervous to go for lunch and on a night out with your colleagues!
- If you have suggestions and ideas that are reasonable – don’t be scared to put them forward! e.g. If you know quicker ways of doing things to save time and can achieve the same outcome.
- Be yourself! You will feel less under pressure and will be able to fit into your new working environment a lot quicker than you think!