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Hi! I’m Will Vallins, a BA (Hons) Communication and Media student. Although I was initially nervous at my placement interview, I was so delighted that I was able to impress Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust. I was really happy that it meant I was able to secure a year-long placement working with healthcare professionals on projects, gaining valuable work experience and an illuminating insight into their work.

In the interview, when I was asked how my friends would describe me, I said they would say that I cared (honestly they would!). Because care is at the core of the trust’s values and I was the only candidate to openly share this passion, I was offered the highly sort-after role and jumped at the opportunity. Lucky me!

My supervisor agreed that I demonstrated a keen sense of compassion. On my feedback form he very generously said “Will is a very kind, considerate, thoughtful and caring person.  Will was also very clear about what he wanted to learn: he wanted to get experience of writing and develop his writing skills, get experience of film making and increase his confidence.  This clarity made him stand out.”

I was really pleased that the trust did give me opportunities to get writing experience through my placement and this certainly felt like the most interesting part of my time at the trust. I was asked to write an article in each edition of Pulse (fortnightly internal newsletter) which was called ‘60 seconds with’.

To write the article, I had to meet up with a colleague and chat to them about their job. I got to interview a nurse who works with patients who have diabetes, a porter who is in charge of transporting patients and equipment around the hospital and I even got to have a tour of the pathology lab when I talked to one of the technicians there – a real chance to go behind the scenes!

The NHS works at an incredibly fast-paced rate, so it took a while to adjust to the demands put on the team, particularly when my manager had to go on long-term sick leave in the final two months. Getting used to early starts was also a struggle. That aside, I did find it really rewarding to work as part of a team and interact with other teams across the Trust. Everyone I worked with was incredibly helpful and always happy to work with me which was great for my confidence.

Looking back now, I remember how I was really nervous going into the placement. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to do everything they wanted me to, but my experience made me realise that I can do it! I think I am a much more confident person, both in a professional and personal setting. I am also able to answer the phone now without getting nervous!

Working in the NHS has really opened my eyes and I would definitely consider returning to the public sector. I have been looking into the NHS Leadership Academy for after I graduate.

So, if I had any advice to give other students, it would be – if you have the chance to do a placement, why not go for it, challenge yourself and see how you can use the opportunity to grow; you might just surprise yourself!


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