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How to spot an NHS graduate trainee

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

How to spot an NHS graduate trainee

Below are two letters home from students hoping for careers in NHS management. If you were recruiting graduate trainees, which would you pick?

Example A

Dear Mum

Thanks for your letter. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply – I’ve been so busy. Also I had a thank you letter to write to grandma for my birthday present – lame excuse, I know!

Still, it’s been a crazy week what with lectures, revision and trying to find time to work on my dissertation.

Don’t worry, I’m looking after myself and getting plenty to eat. And yes I’m wearing my jumper.

I went to look at a flat to move into next term. It’s further away than I hoped, but it seems OK and much bigger than this place.

I’ve met a great girl. She may be up for sharing the new flat. We’re going to meet up for a drink at the weekend to talk about it. She’s ready to stump up the deposit if she likes the look of the place. I expect she’ll move in next week.

This term we’re doing a lot more group work, which is good fun but involves a lot of Post-it notes, role-play and pointless exercises. At least I won’t have to do this sort of thing when I get a job!

Work is going OK.

Anyway, I’d better sign off and get to bed – another frantic day tomorrow.

Say hi to the idiot brother and Dad. Tell them I miss them both.



PS Can you send me a few quid to tide me over? I don’t know what’s happened this term but I’m practically broke!

Example B

Dear Very Senior Family Member

Thank you for reaching out. Please forgive the delay in responding. I am currently experiencing higher than usual levels of correspondence due to an unprecedented increase in workload and rising demand, possibly as a result of an ageing population.

Thank you for expressing interest in my wellbeing. I can assure you that I am following public health guidelines with regard to nutrition and am currently running at very close to full capacity.

Following warnings of further cold weather by the Meteorological Office I am wearing several layers of clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres to help maintain body heat and ensuring that I move around as much as possible. 

I have conducted a preliminary situational analysis on new accommodation. It is in an out-of-area locality necessitating some travel, but an initial inspection rated it adequate and the leaseholder has agreed to make the improvements highlighted in my report.

The extra space should allow for future growth of unplanned admissions should friends decide to drop in. It will also cope with any expansion of my current operational footprint should I enter into collaborative arrangements with, say, a flatmate.

Talking of which, I have entered into a non-binding premises sharing agreement with a colleague on my course. It would be premature to make an announcement at this stage but we are planning an informal meeting to establish whether or not our vision and aims are aligned.

After that we hope to progress to consensus on a suitable contractual form and then move into the detailed financial negotiations. I’m confident we’ll have a provisional agreement in place by the end of next term.   

This term we are moving out of our traditional educational silos and striving to work as a whole faculty or Integrated Learning Organisation (ILO). We held an unconference which identified huge opportunities for sharing best practice, reducing duplication and eliminating unnecessary handovers between tutors.

I have signed up for Professor Bevan’s highly acclaimed accelerated development course Fab Secrets of Super-successful Leaders and Motivated Teams. It means staying on for a further two years, but I’m sure you’ll agree the ROI is compelling. I will submit a business case with my next letter.

As far as work goes, I am making good progress but more needs to be done.

I must make retirement plans now as we have another packed schedule of learning events tomorrow.

Please cascade my kind regards to family colleagues and other stakeholders.

Yours faithfully


PS It may be necessary to seek an exceptional increase in my allocation going forward to cope with the ongoing effects of winter pressures. A detailed turnaround plan is to follow but I would be grateful for an early release of funds to avoid delayed reimbursement of key suppliers, including  a possible non-admittance to the union bar scenario.

Recruitment editor: Julian Patterson


Michael Westcombe
Michael Westcombe says:
Mar 28, 2018 03:58 PM


Anonymous says:
Mar 28, 2018 04:47 PM

This is hilarious!!! The first letter is my type of guy , however, I guess, for a managerial post, the second one will be perfect:)))))

Colin Hingston
Colin Hingston says:
Mar 29, 2018 08:12 AM

Memo to parents of David: disinherit the little sh*t. NOW.

Anonymous says:
Mar 29, 2018 08:48 AM

Sir Humphrey: I wonder if I might crave your momentary indulgence in order to discharge a by no means disagreeable obligation which has, over the years, become more or less established practice in government service as we approach the terminal period of the year... and submit to you, with all appropriate deference, for your consideration at a convenient juncture, a sincere and sanguine expectation — indeed confidence — indeed one might go so far as to say hope — that the aforementioned period may be, at the end of the day, when all relevant factors have been taken into consideration, susceptible to being deemed to be such as to merit a final verdict of having been by no means unsatisfactory in its overall outcome and, in the final analysis, to give grounds for being judged, on mature reflection, to have been conducive to generating a degree of gratification which will be seen in retrospect to have been significantly higher than the general average
Jim Hacker: Are you trying to say "Happy Christmas," Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey: Yes, Minister.

Olga Osokina
Olga Osokina says:
Mar 29, 2018 09:37 AM

Hilarious - love it! :)

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Mar 29, 2018 11:09 AM

Thanks for the comments, particularly a reminder of Sir Humphrey's rhetorical genius. Happy Easter.

Anonymous says:
Apr 04, 2018 02:58 PM

David- obviously

Anonymous says:
May 15, 2018 11:22 AM

Paula - brilliantly understated.