After 19 years with the North West Ambulance Service, senior paramedic Anita Snowdon found she had “hit a wall” in her career. Wanting to build on her leadership skills and stay within the emergency care sector, she decided to study for an MSc at Edge Hill University. The experience not only resuscitated her ambition but also led to a job with gtd healthcare, a leading not-for-profit provider of urgent care and primary care services across the North West.

I would never have got the job as Clinical Lead with gtd healthcare without my MSc. I loved working as a paramedic but, although I had a leadership role, I felt there was nowhere left for me to go. I wanted to further my education and I thought the MSc in Clinical Leadership would add that bit extra to my CV. My time at Edge Hill helped me to think about my qualities as a leader and gave me the confidence to go for a more senior position.

I was really impressed with the MSc programme. It was very well organised and practical, and the modules all reflected the realities of modern healthcare. The guest speakers were also very good – it was interesting to have experience of different leadership styles and to see how the theory works in practice.

The staff at Edge Hill were incredibly supportive and approachable; they understood the demands of studying while working and trying to have a family life. It was difficult at times, particularly writing my dissertation when the kids had gone to bed after a full day at work, and there were times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but the staff did everything they could to help me.

When I went for the job as Clinical Lead for gtd healthcare’s Urgent Care Centres in Chorley and Preston, which form part of the Integrated Urgent Care Service, it was my first external job interview in 19 years, so it was a bit daunting. It is the perfect job for me because it combines clinical leadership with practice. As well as being responsible for setting up new systems, staffing and patient pathways for two new centres, I also work two days a week as an urgent care clinician, so I still get to see patients and keep my clinical skills fresh. It’s really useful to have experience of both sides when you’re implementing change because you know first-hand how things are going to affect staff and patients. It’s easier if you’re in the system yourself.

I draw on the skills I developed during my studies every day. As I’m new to the role, I’m constantly looking things up! The MSc makes you think in a multidisciplinary way – it was really enlightening to be studying alongside people from other disciplines, you get to see other viewpoints and get a better understanding of all aspects of healthcare. That has really helped me in my new job as I have to lead a multidisciplinary team that includes everyone from clinicians to receptionists.

My aim now is to get my teeth into my new role and get the centres running well, while continuing to develop my leadership style and build on my skills.”