Real-life story - Richard Lewis

Richard’s place on the NHS Graduate management Training Scheme gave him a sound understanding of how a hospital works. He has chosen the NHS over the private sector because the focus is on people rather than profit.

Richard Lewis Head of personnel
Employer or university Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Salary range Unknown

How I got in

A business studies degree led to the start of my NHS career as a graduate trainee in human resources on a two-year training scheme with South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme involved placements in different directorates, which gave me a really good understanding of how a hospital actually works.

As part of my training I studied for my Chartered Instituted of Personnel and Development exams and qualified by the end of the scheme.

When I'd completed my training I took on different HR roles with other NHS trusts in Devon before joining the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust as head of personnel.

For a short while I left the NHS to work in the private sector with an engineering firm but I didn't get the same satisfaction working in an environment where the driving force was profit. In the NHS, it's people that come first.

My perspective

The NHS graduate trainee scheme gave me a sound understanding of how a hospital works. I chose the NHS over the private sector because the focus is on people rather than profit.

The idea of working for the NHS came to me at quite a young age. I'd been to hospital many times to treat my six broken bones at various times in my youth.

Advice and tips

Some people think that as a manager you may not be in touch with patients. For me, though, one of the best things about being a manager is playing a part in patient care - within a friendly and positive environment. The role of HR as I see it is to help staff do the best they can for patients.

The size and complexity of the NHS makes HR an exciting, challenging and rewarding career.

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