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Eleanor Wightman, Finance Graduate Trainee, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Career Story

Q&A with Eleanor Wightman

Why choose a finance career in the NHS? 

A finance career in the NHS brings about many obstacles that affect the community. They need to be navigated to ensure value is brought to those who use the service. Baring this in mind, NHS finance adapts the thinking process to curate options of the best quality alongside keeping costs low. These kinds of problems don’t arise often in other sectors, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy working within NHS finance.

What distinguishes a finance career in the NHS from other sectors or institutions?

The work life balance the NHS provides distinguishes it from other sectors. Finance within private sectors is usually deemed to be stressful, with extended working days. The team culture within NHS finance ensures that work is completed within the nominated working hours with fellow colleagues chipping in if timeframes are tight.

What does it mean to you to work for the NHS, particularly amid the pandemic?

Finance professionals in the NHS are continuously requesting feedback from frontline staff. When new supplies or services are introduced finance staff needs to ensure that they are working for the staff implementing them. I’ve had first-hand experiences of observing surgeries to oversee patient pathways and how finance decisions can impact this for better or worse.

How does NHS finance impact and support the frontline of the service?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges. Reporting changed, funding differed and strategies adapted. Amid the negativity arising from the pandemic there was a sense of pride too. Finance staff unified to ensure frontline staff had the resources to navigate through an unknown scenario.