I was so nervous on my first day I actually felt sick!


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.

Laxmi Patel

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t be nervous to go for lunch and on a night out with your colleagues!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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