Dr Gemima Fitzgerald
"I loved the placements on my course and the breadth of experience I was able to gain over the three years."
"Being a single parent at the time I applied for my course I was fairly restricted as to which universities were within driving distance of my home. However, the University of Surrey was my number one choice because of its excellent reputation and in particular, the richness and diversity within the teaching curriculum on the PsychD Clinical Psychology programme. I felt that the programme Surrey offered would give me the best training to become a psychologist that works in an integrative way.
I loved the placements on my course and the breadth of experience I was able to gain over the three years. At the heart of the training was an appreciation of a wide range of therapeutic approaches and theoretical models as well as a strong emphasis on being a reflective and reflexive practitioner. This helped develop me into the psychologist I am today.
I now work as a Clinical Psychologist at Rowans Hospice in Waterlooville. I work within the Specialist Palliative Care Clinical Psychology team and I am also the Lead for the Bereavement Service, which cares for adults and children, within the hospice.
"My role within the hospice fits with my professional identity and enables me to work in the way I want to work with patients and families."
I love my job. I work with people of all ages who either have, or are caring for someone with, a life-limiting illness, or who have been bereaved and require psychological support. Each day is different. As part of my role I also provide education and really enjoy this. My particular area of interest is around developing resilience.
My doctoral research at the University of Surrey was around resilience and a highlight for me since graduating was being invited to be a speaker at a TEDx event in Brighton.
My talk was about Human Resilience after experiencing adversity. As a result of this talk I have been asked to speak on BBC local radio a number of times and this is something I enjoy!
My top tips to students aspiring to work in a profession similar to mine would be to get a range of clinical experience, but beyond that, to develop your thinking and psychological insight.
Learn from the life experiences you have had. Develop a curiosity about people and why people might behave, think and feel a certain way. This will all stand you in good stead alongside all the theory and skills you need to develop.
I think that in terms of psychology, the job market has changed. Be creative. Look for ways to use your qualification outside of the box and consider how your skills can be used to benefit a wider audience."