Healthcare Operational Management
Camilla Dobinson joined WMG after gaining a BSc Biomedical Science at Warwick University in 2015. So why did she decide to make the switch to studying Healthcare Operational Management at masters level?
“There was a lot of lab based work in my undergraduate degree,” she explained. “And while I did enjoy that, it’s not really for me in the long term. I’d rather work with people and teams. I’m really interested in project management too - and about learning how innovation can shape the future of the healthcare sector.
“When I found out about this new MSc programme and talked to the course co-ordinator, I decided that is was the ideal route for me. It was a chance to learn about how hospitals and their different departments are run, as well as looking into things like informatics, quality and productivity. I liked that broad spread of subjects – and it would let me stay at Warwick, which is a place I’d grown to love over the previous three years.”
One thing that surprised Camilla right away was the sheer diversity of students on her course. “It was amazing,” she said. “There were doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who had worked at hospitals around the world, as well as people from outside the sector. One student came with an engineering background and was looking to change their career path completely. Working with people with such a range of different experiences and outlooks was hugely interesting and stimulating.”
On to the course itself, and Camilla was keen to point out the ‘real world’ nature of the learning experience. “I loved the real-world nature of the learning experience at WMG. All the way through the course, I was applying everything I learned to the challenges facing healthcare organisations today, and using that knowledge to formulate solutions. In that way, it feels very much like consultancy work.”
We asked Camilla to give us an example of this. “We looked into stroke guidelines and pathways,” she said. “After analysing data on stroke patients from Accident & Emergency Departments, we interpreted our findings to identify problem areas where the system was failing. For there, we were able to formulate improvements that would lead to higher quality outcomes.”
A huge issue
Developing these skills led Camilla to her dissertation project, which she was working on when we spoke to her. She is analysing two years of data from the A&E Department at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, which serves a population of over a million people. “One big problem is the number of non-urgent patients who come to A&E departments for treatment,” she said. “Through this research, I’m aiming to find new ways to encourage these people to use more appropriate primary care services like GPs or walk-in centres.
“It’s obviously a huge issue in the UK and gets a lot of news coverage,” she continued. “But I’ve discovered that it’s actually a global issue and has been for many years. It’s great to have the opportunity to use real data to underpin my research and it’s thanks to the close links between the Trust and Warwick Medical School. I don’t think I would have had the chance to do this anywhere else.”
During her time at WMG, Camilla also contributed to the Warwick Sutton Scholars programme as a mentor. This is for high-potential year 8 and year 9 school students who come from underprivileged backgrounds and will probably not consider university as an option when they leave school. “I found that very rewarding,” said Camilla. “It’s great to give these children a feel for university life – sitting in on lectures, going out on visits, getting involved in sports and more. You can say to them ‘Look, you could be doing all of this’ and help them believe in themselves”
As for the future, Camilla is hoping to take on a managerial role in an NHS hospital once she completes her MSc. “I want to bring what I’ve learned to a hospital team and help them improve outcomes. I’ve received some really valuable careers advice from Warwick Medical School and I know that the skills I’ve gained at WMG have laid the perfect foundation for my future career in healthcare management.”