Student Case Study – Lucy Pettifor

As part of my Applied Psychology Degree I have been on placement as a student psychologist working at Buckland Hospital and the Rainbow Centre. For this placement I travel around 70 miles per week, driving to and from work as well as during working hours. When I decided to do the placement I hadn’t quite considered how expensive this would be due to the amount of petrol used, so I appreciate the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary at least contributing towards this cost.

The placement gave me the opportunity to gain extremely useful experience in the field of clinical psychology. I run groups for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), siblings of children with ASD and children with a chronic physical health condition. I also work individually with children, for example doing cognitive behavioural therapy sessions. This practical experience will hopefully make me stand out when I am applying for post graduate courses or jobs.

Working in a hospital and paediatric centre with a variety of different professionals has definitely improved my communication skills. I have had to overcome initial shyness and get to know many staff members, often seizing the opportunity to shadow different team members to learn what is involved in different jobs. I have been able to shadow or work alongside the speech and language therapy team, the physiotherapy team and the portage team.

I have also had administration responsibilities such as organising databases and contacting parents. Because of my wide range of work activities, I am constantly in the middle of doing about five things at once. This has definitely made me improve my organisation skills, with ongoing to do lists and a diary crammed full of notes. I have also built on my time management skills, deciding what to prioritise from my list of things to do and working out what tasks take longer than others.

My experience working with children will be very relevant for my final year of university. One of my module choices is ‘Advanced Developmental Psychology’ and I feel that it will be very helpful to be able to apply the theories learnt in this module to a real-life setting.

My final year project will involve conducting research using children as participants, some of whom will have ASD. Having already working with children with ASD will prepare me for what to consider and what to expect. I also think that reading around the research topic will be a lot more insightful having experienced children with ASD and the diagnostic process involved first hand. I think it can be difficult to imagine how theories are applied in real life, so having experienced the real-life application will definitely benefit me in my studies.

– Lucy is an Applied Psychology student, currently on her year in industry.

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