My placement year has been the first big stepping stone to becoming a clinical psychologist
What made you decide to study psychology at Sheffield?
I wanted to go to a Russell Group university and was aware of the prestigious nature of Sheffield’s psychology programme. I grew up close to Sheffield and knew it was a city I already loved. It’s a surprisingly large city and I still often discover new places I’ve never been. The city also has lots of green spaces and the peaks are only a half an hour drive away confirming it was the city for me.
What are you enjoying the most about the course?
I enjoy the breadth of content available. Throughout the first 2 years of the degree the mandatory modules cover 5 broad areas of psychology: cognitive, developmental, social, neuroscience and clinical interventions, and research methods. We can then choose optional modules from any other department in the university to broaden our knowledge further. In the final year we have total freedom to select all our modules from a diverse list allowing us to tailor our education to our specific interests.
What skills have you developed during your course?
I’ve developed both hard and soft skills during my degree. Hard skills I’ve learnt include:
- Systematic literature search
- Utilising different software e.g., excel, SPSS, Gorilla
- Mathematical, statistical, and analytical abilities
- Literature e.g., Essay writing
- Research development
Soft skills I’ve developed include:
- Communication / interpersonal
- Critical thinking
- Organisation / resilience
- Teamwork / collaboration
Where are you on placement and what sort of things are you doing?
I’m at Lundwood Medical Centre, Barnsley working in the Core Mental Health Team as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist. My responsibilities have been diverse. I have assisted the facilitation of therapeutic groups, as well as working one-to-one with clients. I have delivered formal training to the multidisciplinary team around psychological formulation. As well as completing various clinical audits, analysing the service and proposing questions to the team to improve patient care based off the findings. I have also had the opportunity to shadow/observe multiple different professionals within the mental health care service including: clinical psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychotherapists etc.
What skills have you learnt from your placement?
Working in the Core Mental Health Team has provided me with many transferable skills and has developed my overall confidence. Working in a multidisciplinary team and interacting with patients daily has allowed me to advance my professionalism and confidence. I’ve also further developed my communication, interpersonal, and organisational skills. Additionally, working within a team that’s in crisis, due to the NHS funding crisis, has taught me invaluable teamworking skills, as well as providing me with an awareness for the wider political and economic environment of the NHS.
What have you enjoyed most about the placement year?
The most enjoyable part of my placement has been working one-to-one with clients. I have always been motivated to help people, and being able to sensitively implement individualised, formulation driven psychological interventions and observing the impact it has on clients has been very rewarding.
How do you think the placement year will help your career?
This placement has been invaluable to my career path, not only has it enhanced many of my transferable skills, but it has reaffirmed my passion for psychology and helping individuals. Additionally, right from the start of my degree I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology, to get onto the doctorate programme most universities require a minimum of 9 months full-time clinical work. This placement has therefore been the first big stepping stone to becoming a clinical psychologist.
What would you say to a prospective student considering studying psychology at Sheffield?
If you’re thinking of studying psychology at Sheffield just do it! Psychology lecturers at the university care about you as an individual and become invested in your journey through your degree. A psychology degree also increases your employability as you not only develop an in-depth understanding of human behaviour but also a wide range of hard skills such as literacy, mathematics, and analytics.
The university also offers a summer research scholarship which provides you with the unique opportunity to conduct your own research project and I disseminated the findings in a research conference. This scholarship helped me develop my confidence, research and analytical skills beyond the course.
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