Mabel started her apprenticeship in nephrology during which time she progressed into a Band 3 Support medical secretary role in hepatology.
She has recently completed her apprenticeship with West Suffolk College where she gained a Distinction.
Mabel says that an apprenticeship appealed to her because being so young and just having left sixth form, she wasn’t sure of what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go with her qualifications. Although University was something that she considered, she felt that a more hands on experience appealed more to her. Mabel really liked the idea of being able to learn whilst working and, on reading the job description, the apprentice medical secretary role interested her as she says it was something completely new to her.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
Mabel’s day starts off with checking voicemails and actioning/responding to them accordingly; she checks the team rota to see what tasks she has been assigned for that day in addition to her own daily work load, e.g. if she is due to action Advice and Guidance, there might be one flagged that is critically overdue and it is her responsibility to liaise with the On Call Consultant to make sure it is dealt with as soon as possible. Mabel speaks directly to patients and helps them with their general/appointment queries. She also monitors the fibroscan clinic throughout the week for patients that did not attend and patients that need rebooking. Mabel also ensures that she checks in regularly with her nursing team and colleagues to see if they need help with anything.
What do you enjoy about your role?
Mabel says that she enjoys working in a friendly team environment, with colleagues who have been supportive of her apprenticeship learning. She mostly enjoys helping others knowing that she is making a difference to the patient’s health care journeys.
What sorts of things do you do for the 20% off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?
Throughout her apprenticeship, Mabel completed various assignments relative to her Customer Service Apprenticeship. She attended courses, spent time shadowing her colleagues in the office to make herself familiar with the tasks she would be doing, did work experience in the Appointment Centre where she learned more about what happens with referrals they dealt with plus she also completed some self-learning.
Does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work?
Due to COVID, Mabel’s course was held virtually so she didn’t meet her tutor or any other students on the course face-to-face. However, Mabel feels that it worked out very well as it enabled her to effectively balance out college work with her work load in the office. Mabel says that she felt very well supported by her tutor with whom she had regular catch ups held by zoom to discuss upcoming tasks/assignments or if she needed any guidance in general. Throughout her apprenticeship she completed 6 group zoom sessions in relation to Customer Service which was part of her 20% off the job learning.
What are your future intentions?
Mabel would like to stay and progress in the hospital and continue to develop her knowledge and experience. She feels that she would like to stay in my current role at the moment and concentrate on being a Support Secretary to learn the role fully and confidently before taking the next step to progression. She says that she can then take this experience with her if ever she decides to explore other opportunities in the Trust. Mabel says that her managers are also extremely supportive and can help her with things like work experience in other areas of the hospital that she takes an interest in or the different paths for her development. Another option she is considering is the Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship course for extended learning to help her to move forward in her career.
What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?
I would absolutely recommend taking on an apprenticeship here at CUH: not only has my confidence grown massively, my knowledge has expanded allowing me to grow my skill set to be an effective and reliable member of the team.