7 things I’ve learned as a communications apprentice at Leicester’s hospitals

  • I have edited Leicester’s Hospitals’ intranet (INsite) and I also now know how to add images and text to this site. Since starting here I feel much more comfortable using a variety of computer programmes than I did before e.g. Microsoft Excel. I have also been attending IT lessons as part of my college work and that has tied in really well with my work at the hospital as I get to put into practice what I have learned every day.
  • I have assisted with hosting events at the hospital and they are really fun to be involved with. For example, in the earth shattering year that Leicester City won the Premier League, I had the opportunity to help organise the visit of the Barclays Premier League Trophy when it came to the hospitals. I helped organise people who were queuing up to have a photo taken with it and even got to have my photo taken too. Tied in to this event we also created a Leicester City ‘Backing the Blues’ selfie board which we took around the 3 hospital sites visiting patients and staff alike. We persuaded hundreds of people to have their photo taken with the board wearing their Leicester City colours.
  • I had the chance to write articles for a couple of pages in the hospital’s ‘Together’ magazine and was tasked with finding pictures to match the text. For example, on the Out and About page I searched around the hospitals for stories to see if any staff were doing any sort of volunteer work or cake sales or activities. In this edition there was a team who climbed a mountain and an NHS Yacht race. When the magazine was finished and published it was really fulfilling to see that I had actually written a published article. The pages that I worked on were really interesting to write. I also worked on the competition page that we organise for each issue, researching fun things to do in the local area. I called their marketing teams to try and get them to agree to a free prize and in return we advertised their business in our magazine. For the first competition page that I organised the Space Centre kindly gave us a family pass as a prize which they delivered to us within a day of contacting them. How quick is that!!
  • I plan meetings for the Chief Executive which is quite an experience. I plan the timings and locations for his briefings that he holds in a lecture theatre where he has a discussion with colleagues about key issues facing our hospitals. I had to check his availability dates and then had to make sure we could book the lecture theatre for the same dates and it was a good way of branching out in the hospital and talking to more people. Another task that I help assist the Chief Executive with is the ‘Breakfast with the Boss’ meetings where on a designated day each month he sits down with staff members to discuss any concerns or issues they have.
  • My experience of answering phone calls for colleagues when they are away from their desks is another thing that helps me to talk to more people and gain confidence in interacting with colleagues and journalists that I don’t know. This helps you learn who does what and who the managers are around the Trust. It is a role that is very varied so you are not always stuck at a desk on a computer, you get to go out and meet new people and go to events. You also get to know different locations around the hospitals and know where you are going. I still don’t know where I’m going at the General!
  • I scour the internet to search for any newspapers or websites that mention our hospitals in their articles and I then take these articles and comprise a Media Coverage Round Up email that is sent out to senior staff members for them to see what has been going on around the hospitals. I read regional newspapers daily and any articles that mention our Trust are cut out and put into a folder for future reference. This has helped me develop an understanding of the different kinds of stories that the communications team deal with.
  • One really interesting aspect of this job role is the social media side of it. You get to send out tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts from the hospitals accounts and get to study what sort of posts do well and which ones don’t do so well in terms of likes and retweets. You also get to assist in trying to increase the amount of followers you have on these sites too. I find that posts that get the best reactions are ones that involve groups of people such as when I ran the volunteers’ week ‘Thank You’ campaign across our social media pages.
  • As part of this ‘Thank You’ campaign I had the chance to speak to the people that volunteer at our hospitals which was really interesting. It was fascinating to hear the reasons that they had for becoming a volunteer in the first place. I met with a different volunteer each day for 7 days and had a casual interview with them where I would ask them questions such as how long they had worked at our hospitals. I then posted their interview answers and a photo on social media. This gave me an insight into what a journalist would do.

Tom J, Communications Apprentice.


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