During summer 2022, HEIW took on 15 students for an eight-week internship. They each spent time in a specific department within HEIW to gain an insight into what it’s like to work for the NHS in Wales.
Here you can read about Michelle’s internship experience at HEIW.
Studying: Biomedical Sciences
University: Cardiff University
Internship with: Quality Improvement team at HEIW
My name is Michelle and I am a second-year student at Cardiff university, studying Biomedical Sciences.
My internship here at HEIW has taken place in the Quality Improvement department, where I focused on creating a sustainability stakeholder map. This included networking to find contacts who have worked to embed sustainable healthcare in training programs, past projects, or current working groups.
Just a little introduction about myself. I am from the Philippines and North Wales and I have just finished my second year as a biomedical student at Cardiff University, with a focus on anatomy.
During my interview for this position, my expectations were that it would give me an understanding in sustainable healthcare. Previously, this was very unfamiliar to me, so I wanted to explore this new side of the NHS as I never really knew about HEIW.
I also wanted to understand the professional background and skills such as time management and teamwork -which are areas I wanted to improve in. I also wanted to challenge myself. The idea of quality improvement and sustainable healthcare was very alien to me at the beginning, and despite doing a module in environmentalism, I wanted to do something new.
My project stems from the Future Doctor programme. This is a programme made-up of eight overarching themes relating to the doctor's role in the future clinical team. It includes a branch of population health and sustainable healthcare.
The main vision of my project was to scope the sustainable healthcare scene in Wales. I think this resulted from the growing understanding universally that environmental actions need to take place, especially in the health care sector, as there is no planet B!
Goals and key milestones
I started out by creating a stakeholder network map, firstly encompassing HEIW and then progressing onto the seven health boards and NHS trusts. This included collating feedback on sustainable healthcare activities and individuals with an invested interest. I was then to identify themes and capture my findings into a more legible and accessible way.
The project delivery began by familiarising myself with the area of work. I read through the sustainability action plan, the decarbonisation plan, and the Future Doctor program.
I then began shadowing meetings and collated information by conducting my own interviews and focus groups to get as much information about the roles of the individuals I was interviewing. I liaised with stakeholders in the HEIW at first and sourced information about their sustainable engagement within the organisation. Then I networked on to external stakeholders in different health boards.
I organised these roles and projects into ‘bubbles’, loosely based on a power interest grid, and then I created defined categories in a network map.
I've created a networking map on Prezi. This helped me define people's roles and their relevance within sustainability. So right now, the HEIW stakeholder map is fully populated and I got up to establishing primary stakeholders in each health board.
The next steps for this is project to really focus on the external stakeholders, using that first point of contact with the primary stakeholders and then working outwards. I also think that we should focus on Public Health Wales’ role in sustainability.
Part of my project is to develop a series of recommendations for embedding sustainable healthcare. However, I didn't get the opportunity to do this during the internship so that would also be a great next step.
What a great eight weeks it has been! Due to remote working and annual leave, one of the difficulties I faced was the engagement of stakeholders. However, I overcame this by informing people, and showing the urgency and how my project is helping the sustainability scene within Wales.
I was keen to get on with the project and was quite hasty at first. However, working with my manager helped me focus internally within HEIW first. He highlighted that doing small scale changes at a better standard, was more beneficial for everyone rather than rushing things.
What I’ve learnt
Because of this internship, I have grown more confident in a workplace environment. I also worked on communicating efficiently by using the compassionate leadership compass that was introduced to all of the interns at the beginning of the eight weeks.
I also learnt to prioritise my attention better to focus both on HEIW and my exams over the summer.
HEIW is a unique place to work, with such kind and welcoming colleagues who really want the best outcome for both the project and me as an individual. HEIW is also very respectful of the work life balance and has a lovely work culture.
Outside of work and university
In my spare time I like to play the ukulele, yoga, or watch and/or play some rugby. Growing up in sunny Dubai, I love being in the outdoors catching a few rays! The end of university is only a year away for me now, so I’m making the most out of the social groups at the moment, such as the Filipino Society and the Rugby Club.