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Doing a Psychology Placement Year - AMA

Hi there everyone!

I'm Fatiha, a Cardiff University Student Rep but also a psychology student currently in my placement year. For context, I managed to secure myself a clinical placement, and I'm loving it so far! I would love to answer any questions about placement year, from searching for placements, to the interview stage, to the placement itself!

Feel free to ask me anything! Always happy to help :redface:

~ Fatiha, Cardiff University Student Rep
Original post by CardiffUni Rep 2
Hi there everyone!

I'm Fatiha, a Cardiff University Student Rep but also a psychology student currently in my placement year. For context, I managed to secure myself a clinical placement, and I'm loving it so far! I would love to answer any questions about placement year, from searching for placements, to the interview stage, to the placement itself!

Feel free to ask me anything! Always happy to help :redface:

~ Fatiha, Cardiff University Student Rep

The fact that you say that you "managed to secure myself a clinical placement" suggests that it was a competitive process, and that not all those who wanted a clinical placement were successful. What do you think set you apart from those other candidates?

Also, what does a typical day look like for you whilst on placement?
Original post by DataVenia
The fact that you say that you "managed to secure myself a clinical placement" suggests that it was a competitive process, and that not all those who wanted a clinical placement were successful. What do you think set you apart from those other candidates?

Also, what does a typical day look like for you whilst on placement?

Ooh, those are great questions! Yes, applying for placements in general is quite competitive (no matter what course you're taking) but clinical psychology placements are very competitive due to, well, competition haha. They're highly valued since you're usually working with, or being supervised by a psychologist, and there is just a lot of opportunities for you that kind of just gives you a kick start after uni. Myself personally, I kept getting rejected after quite a couple interviews until I got my current placement offer!

I would say definitely experience is important. Working with people where you are kind of in a supportive role is so useful, and having worked with a range of ages (for example the elderly, or children) is helpful as well. But really, I think a massive part of it comes from how well you do from your interview! Definitely do your background research, or even revise the lectures you think are relevant for the interview. Sometimes they do ask quite technical questions, from my experience.

I think every placement is different in terms of what you do! But I usually find myself doing a mix of project work, such as creating resources or literature searches, and observations of clinical stuff. Placement is usually a 9-5 work day for me as well.

~ Fatiha, Cardiff Uni Student Rep
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 3
Hello Fatiha

Thanks for reaching out. Can you advise where is the best links/ places to find a clinical psychology/ general psychology placements? Is your placement paid or unpaid? Have you mananged to find one lose to home/ cardiff - Challenge is to obtain a placement close if unpaid.
I am curious to see how different undergraduate placements are across different NHS mental health services. My questions are:

How much clinical supervision do you get from the clinical psychologist per week?
What are your clinical, administrative or other duties on your placement days? Are you happy with that mix?
Do you get much contact with the other clinicans or team members? Do you shadow or do joint work with them, or do you mostly work solo?
Do you feel you get asked to work beyond your competency?

Thanks
Original post by Lord Asriel
I am curious to see how different undergraduate placements are across different NHS mental health services. My questions are:

How much clinical supervision do you get from the clinical psychologist per week?
What are your clinical, administrative or other duties on your placement days? Are you happy with that mix?
Do you get much contact with the other clinicans or team members? Do you shadow or do joint work with them, or do you mostly work solo?
Do you feel you get asked to work beyond your competency?

Thanks

So it honestly depends on the service you support to be honest, and your supervisor's reasoning behind it! It's usually once every two weeks for me.

It's a great mix, I would say! I think what's nice about the placement is that they are very aware that I am a student, and I'm doing the placement to learn, first and foremost. So I do get a lot of shadowing/observational opportunities in the placement. Again, I would say that responsibilities would differ service to service. Even in health psychology, where I am supporting more than one department, it differs! I'm doing totally different things to another placement student who is in a different department, for example. But I do get a good mix of both patient contact and admin. And when I do admin work, it's still quite relevant to my degree, like creating/printing psychology resources for patients, for example. I would say I do all, so I shadow, sometimes work jointly (not always) but a lot of work is usually handed down to me.

I would say there is definitely a difference between health psychology and mental health services in the NHS. So, I can't say much for mental health services, but in health psychology, psychologists are usually part of an MDT of nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists etc! So yes, I am working with other clinicians almost every day :smile: In my placement I do have the opportunity to shadow these clinicians, but my work focuses mostly on the psychology part of the team.

And I would say a big no on the last question! They're used to having students and understand that, yes, we are just students. It's been a really balanced level of work for me so far.

Hope that's answered all your questions! Let me know if I can answer anything else :smile:

~ Fatiha, Cardiff Uni Student Rep
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by SamTed
Hello Fatiha

Thanks for reaching out. Can you advise where is the best links/ places to find a clinical psychology/ general psychology placements? Is your placement paid or unpaid? Have you mananged to find one lose to home/ cardiff - Challenge is to obtain a placement close if unpaid.

Hi there! Unfortunately, most of psychology placements, especially clinical ones, are unpaid. I have heard of some placements, such as those in the field of research or occupational psychology being paid, but you are unlikely to find a clinical placement that is paid.

It really depends on the resources of your uni, I would say. Cardiff was pretty good with it since they have a lot of contacts, so placements opportunities are sort of posted up like a job advert! That is how I got mine. But, I know a good way to find a placement is to just email/contact the service itself! They are usually keen on taking on a placement student since it is essentially a free extra pairs of hands. I know some people who have secured NHS placements this way.

Charities may often take on placement students as well. I would recommend giving mental health charities/ psychology related charities a quick google in your local area, and if you are interested in the work they are doing, contact them.

My current placement is close to home, yes :smile: But Cardiff University has great links with the psychology services in Wales, so there were loads of Cardiff and Wales based placements on offer (I would say half of the ones advertised!)

Hope that's helped! Let me know if I can help answer anything else

~ Fatiha, Cardiff Uni Student Rep

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