I’m on the train by 7 am. Phone in hand, I skim through the news developments of the day, keeping my eyes peeled for any articles of relevance to NSW Health. During my hour commute to work, I love strapping in with a good book or listening to my favourite podcasts. As I hop off the train and walk into the office, I’m warmed up for the day ahead.
The first thing I do when I get to my desk is whip out the sticky note app on my laptop and write a to-do list. I open my Outlook and do a quick scan of my calendar and inbox, making note of any urgent emails. It looks like I have a few meetings today. I make a few adjustments to my to-do list and then start replying to the emails.
Armed with our wallets, my teammates and I head down to a local café for our morning hit of coffee/tea/hot chocolate/all-of-the-above. The brisk walk and lively conversation always make for a great start to the morning. We don’t often get a chance to sit down, but today is an exception. Rebecca, Avidelle and I are taking a moment to debrief a meeting we had yesterday.
I’m working on a number of things at the moment. My current rotation is with the Ministry of Health. My team works in industrial relations, with a specific focus on nursing matters. Nurses are the largest professional group in the health system and are affected by a diverse range of policy matters. As such, I have been working across a number of areas including Award interpretation, research and compliance.
Here, I’m meeting with my Director, Trevor. We’re discussing a key project that I have been working on. The project seeks to improve consistency in employment arrangements across NSW Health. I am fortunate to work with someone like Trevor – he has both a nuanced understanding of the complexities that underpin the industrial relations landscape in NSW and the patience to share that knowledge with me.
Fun fact: Trevor is also my executive sponsor. Each graduate is assigned a mentor and executive sponsor for the duration of the Graduate Program. This provides graduates with access to some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the public sector.
Our team gathers every fortnight to get up to speed with what each other is working on. This is always a great opportunity to ask questions, get advice and bounce ideas.
Drawing on a few suggestions from the team meeting, I start drafting a response to a query from a Local Health District. Many of the responses that I have been working on recently relate to workplace disputes or Award entitlements. In my few months at the Ministry of Health, I have gained an immense appreciation for the various moving parts required to deliver a healthcare system; particularly of the scale and diversity of the NSW Health system.
Having drafted the letter, I send it through to my teammate for review. She lets me know of a few changes before it is approved and I send it off to the District.
My fellow workmates and I play netball during lunchtime on Mondays. It’s only a short walk to the local indoor court where we play against other work teams in the surrounding area. The combination of our mediocre netball skills and over-enthusiastic netball spirit has made for plenty of Monday lunchtime fun. Today was a nail-biter! We scraped through with a victory; 18 goals to 17.
On the way back, we grab a quick lunch and take a pit-stop at the end-of-trip-facilities to change back into our work gear.
I have a few more tasks to complete on my to-do list. This includes some work I need to do in preparation for a meeting tomorrow. I am meeting with a teammate who is coming up against a quick deadline and would like some assistance. She has sent me some background information. I read through the details and make notes on it in preparation for our meeting.
I’m off to my monthly meeting with my mentor. My mentor and I were paired with each other during the first week of my rotation. The mentor program is well-structured, with an introductory workshop at the beginning of the graduate program to enable both the mentor and mentee to get to know each other and discuss the type of mentoring relationship best suited to them. My mentor has been a wonderful source of support and knowledge. We discuss anything and everything from setting career goals to our current favourite local bites.
Before I finish up for the day, I consolidate any loose ends and make note of further actions for the tasks I did today. I then check my calendar for any meetings tomorrow.
It’s time to head home. I have a mostly relaxing evening ahead. I am currently undertaking my Practical Legal Training, so I have an assignment to complete when I get home. But, otherwise, I’m looking forward to unwinding with my family over a delicious home-cooked dinner.