Meet the Graduates
Written By Lauren Earl, Madeleine Milligan and Caitlin O'Connell.
Lauren started working with Clarity in September and is working part-time with us during her final year at University, where she is studying Healthcare; Management, Policy and Research. To date, she has worked for the NHS and a leading pharmaceutical company, and held a number of volunteering positions within healthcare.
Having joined Clarity after completing my university placement year at a large global pharmaceutical company, I have found Clarity’s small, flexible and friendly team to be a refreshing change. Despite remote working, everyone at Clarity is welcoming and I quickly felt like a valued member of a team genuinely striving to improve healthcare. I decided to join Clarity during the final year of my university degree in Healthcare; Management, Policy and Research as it provided an exciting opportunity for me to put my academic knowledge of the healthcare environment into practice. I also have a passion for healthcare and, with my own experience of working in the NHS, collaborating with organisations to address some of the big challenges faced in healthcare delivery – which I have experienced myself – was very motivating.
My previous experience included working in an acute NHS trust’s temporary staffing office and, over a two-year period, I dealt with the strain of staffing issues on a daily basis and saw first-hand the dependency on high-cost agency nurses, demonstrating an overall lack of system resilience. Volunteering with the Patient and Community Engagement Team at a Clinical Commissioning Group also highlighted the challenges of addressing health inequalities and the importance of patient voices in services design. The work Clarity does with clients to address these challenges and the many more faced in the delivery of modern healthcare is exciting and something I am proud to be a part of.
As a virtual organisation, Clarity also provides the flexibility I need to concentrate on my degree, whilst expanding my CV and work experience. At first, adjusting to remote working was daunting as I was worried about how accessible the team would be if I needed support. However, Clarity offers plenty of opportunities to interact with other team members, whether through regular breakfast meetings, virtual meetings or our online group chat, and this quickly made the team feel approachable. As a small agile company, the other great advantage of Clarity is being able to express interest in working on different projects and collaborate with different colleagues.
In just 3 months with Clarity, I have had the chance to become a certified Scrum Master, contributed to internal project management and learnt lots from colleagues with extensive experience in healthcare improvement. I am enthusiastic about future projects I will be involved in, further development opportunities and, ultimately, contributing to enhanced healthcare outcomes.
Madeleine is a recent Creative Writing graduate, leaving the University of Winchester with a First-Class honours degree and a flare for all things grammatical. She spent a majority of her time at university leading choirs, performing across the county, and crafting narratives drawn from 18th-century Irish folklore, so is brand new to the world of healthcare and consultancy.
Entering the industry with a purely creative background has been a challenge, not just because of the copious number of NHS acronyms there are to get your head around. My Creative Writing BA was (you guessed it) very creatively driven, with all professional writing modules being predominantly publishing oriented. Though I was taught how to write persuasively, how to write journalistically, how to write concisely, I was never taught how to write business documentation or bids. I was, however, taught that it’s in my nature to crave challenge and personal growth. So, when I was approached by Clarity about coming onboard as a consultant and putting my love of words to good use, I jumped at the chance.
I’ve never been one to take the NHS for granted; having affordable healthcare is a privilege that some can only dream of. What I did take for granted, however, was the constant work that goes into the improvement of it. Alongside the abundance of writing experience that I’m gaining, I’m thoroughly looking forward to continuing work with a company like Clarity who have the capability to make a real difference within the healthcare sector.
Being involved in a small company like Clarity means that a close-knit network of people are all within arm’s reach if ever you need them. My learning experience so far has been completely unrestricted by the day-to-day challenges of remote working because if ever I need guidance, there’s someone available to point me in the right direction. I’ve had the chance to learn from individuals with extensive and varied experience within the sector, whilst putting my knowledge and understanding of the English language to good use.
Caitlin began working part-time for Clarity in August after completing a 12-month placement within Transformation for NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group. She is currently completing her degree in Psychology, with particular interest in improving mental health services. In addition to this, Caitlin has held a number of voluntary positions for mental health charities.
‘Making Change Happen’ is at the heart of so many things I do. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. The older I’ve got, the more ways and different paths I can take in order to do so have become apparent. This very principle is my motivation for studying my degree in BSc Psychology which I will graduate from in July 2020, aiming for First Class Honours.
The area of Health Psychology and Mental Health has fascinated me, and my degree has provided me with a solid understanding of the mechanisms behind change in healthcare settings; from using behavioural models to grasp attitudes towards exercise, to using thematic analysis to improve our understanding of depression in young people. This knowledge has been built upon during my year-long placement at Eastern Cheshire CCG - that is understanding how these theories and ideas are implemented in the ‘real world’. Being able to see this in action consolidated my learning and gave me a thirst for producing and measuring tangible outcomes.
Coming to work for Clarity with this background has served me well and my awareness of the complexities in the healthcare sector has been useful in my work. I have learned to adapt appropriately and organise efficiently. Underpinning all of this practice is my eagerness to achieve and my compassion for others. With such a variety of projects to get involved in, there is no shortage of work to whet my appetite.