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My Placement with Acumentice - Ruggiero Di Lecce

We recently welcomed Ruggiero Di Lecce - a final year medical student - for a six-week placement with Acumentice. In this Q&A, he discusses what he enjoyed about the experience, the challenges he faced, and why he would recommend placements to people in a similar position to him.
Published on
June 17, 2024

As a company, we are always keen to help the next generation of medical and consulting professionals get a real-life insight into the fast-paced world of a healthcare management consultancy.

Most recently, we welcomed Ruggiero Di Lecce – a final year medical student at the University of Exeter – for a six-week placement.

Here, he talks about his experience.

What made you apply to do a placement at Acumentice?

Ruggiero: As part of the final year, the medical school gives us the opportunity to organise a ‘medical elective’ for 4-6 weeks. A medical elective is a placement organised by medical students to gain exposure to an area of healthcare that we haven’t had the chance to experience or perhaps an area of particular interest. Some do clinical placements; others prefer to do research.

I decided to go down a slightly different route and apply to do my elective placement with Acumentice. Having spent the most part of my previous three years of medical school in clinical settings, I decided I wanted to experience the other side of the NHS.  

The other reason I applied to complete my medical elective with Acumentice is that I am pursuing a career in strategy consulting rather than continuing with the traditional foundation programme pathway for medical school graduates.  

With my career aspirations in mind, and without forgetting the goal of this medical elective, what better place than Acumentice for me to gain exposure to consulting whilst improving my knowledge of the NHS?

How was your six-week placement with Acumentice?

Ruggiero: The team welcomed me with open arms and were very understanding of the fact that this was a completely new field for me and one I frankly knew very little about.

The first thing that stood out to me was how willing everyone was to dedicate their time to introduce me to the company and their roles.  

On top of this, being invited to sit in on client meetings was a fantastic opportunity for me to not only understand these projects better, but also to familiarise myself with the dynamics of these types of meetings.  

Although the placement was mainly remote, I had the chance to meet most of the team during one of their in-person In It Together days. I was able to connect with different people within the company and build connections which will hopefully last beyond my placement.  

Overall, the 6 weeks I spent with Acumentice flew by and it’s a shame it came to an end so quickly.  

What was your biggest takeaway from your time with the company?

Ruggiero: I would say that my biggest takeaway is that there’s so much more to patient care than what we learn about and are exposed to in medical school. We talk a lot about providing the best quality of patient care in medical school, but the considerations are purely from a clinical point of view.  

I have learnt that there is so much more to providing the best patient care by looking at patient pathways and their efficiencies. A hospital can have the best doctors and healthcare professionals, but if the different specialties and pathways are not run efficiently, this will significantly affect the quality of care that patients receive.  

Were there any challenges you faced, or anything you were particularly proud of?

Ruggiero: My lack of knowledge of this side of healthcare was playing on my mind. I was worried that I would be expected to understand concepts that in reality I had never learnt about during my time in medical school. However, this was not at all the case, with the team making sure to explain things to me carefully and allowing me to ask any questions.  

Another challenge for me initially was the fact that the Acumentice team does a lot of their day-to-day work remotely. I was worried that by not having as much face-to-face time, I wouldn’t be able to fit in with a group of people who already knew each other very well and had been working together at the company for some time.  

However, I was immediately proven wrong as every single person was incredibly welcoming and supportive of me being there. This was a very pleasant surprise and made my time at Acumentice very enjoyable.

Would you recommend placements to other people considering a career in consulting?

Ruggiero: I think all medical students should be encouraged to spend some time to understand what goes into running trusts and ensuring efficiency of patient pathways. Taking that step back from ward work and purely clinical medicine is valuable as it provides a bigger picture of the true patient journey.  

Spending time at a company like Acumentice, with people who have significant NHS experience and know the ins and outs of the service, is something I would recommend to all medical students, regardless of their preferred career path.

Did you enjoy working in an organisation that works closely with the NHS? Did it give you a different perspective on how healthcare works?

Ruggiero: Undertaking my medical elective placement in an environment that is fully NHS focused was something I really enjoyed. I feel like this placement allowed me to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw in terms of my overall understanding of the NHS.  

I suppose one of the biggest differences between this placement and my clinical placements is the difference between viewing patients individually, one by one, and considering the bigger picture and statistics.  

Of course, as a doctor, each patient must be considered as an individual with a unique background and presenting issue. When managing entire trusts, however, this cannot be done, and a step back must be taken to consider patients at a higher level and as a group that make up specific pathways or specialties.  

The data gained from these patients is analysed and used to drive decision-making, which ultimately enhances patient outcomes, both individually and at trust levels. Understanding all of this gave me a completely new perspective on how the healthcare system truly works.

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