Suzanne van Even
"I started my placement as an undergraduate student and ended it as a psychologist. It has helped me grow as a person and as a professional."
"I chose to come to the University of Surrey primarily because of the option of a Professional Training placement.
I attended an open day and I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the campus. I also had the opportunity to speak to some of the lecturers on my course which helped me make my decision to come to Surrey.
I am a mature student. Although I always wanted to study psychology, but for some reason or other I never got round to actually doing it. As I was approaching 40, I thought it is now or never and I have never looked back!
I am very much enjoying final year, as the lectures are more like workshops and you get to discuss rather than just sit and take on-board information. I specifically enjoy the fact that it is more interactive and you get to apply your knowledge.
The academic staff and facilities are overall very good. The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. I am very happy with my dissertation supervisor especially, she is very supportive but at the same time gives me enough space to do my own thing.
The Sports Park is very good, in my first and second year I was a member and used the gym and the swimming pool a lot. The facilities there are very good. As a mature student it is a bit different with regard to the social life side of things; I live in Godalming myself and my social life is more focussed there rather than in Guildford.
I have been on a Professional Training placement and I spent 10 months at the West London Mental Health Trust, Broadmoor Hospital.
I was so happy with the work I was given that I decided to stay as long as I could – about six weeks longer that I had to. The main highlight for me was that the tasks that I was given were very similar to those an Assistant Psychologist would do.
My work was very varied and included drafting and updating HCR-20s – these are key documents which are used by the clinical team to assess and manage a patient’s risk. In addition, I (hand-) scored psychometric tests and I conducted a Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R) with my supervisor. I also produced time-lines detailing both a patient’s personal history and their history of violence – these would then be used as the basis to produce a team formulation, to try and make sense of a patient’s problem behaviour. Whenever possible I would be involved in the psychological admission assessments of new patients. I also received a lot of training, for example in personality disorder, schizophrenia, different types of therapy and motivational interviewing.
I would very much recommend a Professional Training placement to others as I have gained many new skills and it has helped build my confidence. It gave me the opportunity to consolidate my (academic) knowledge and apply it in a clinical setting. I would say that I started my placement as an undergraduate student and ended it as a psychologist. It has helped me grow as a person and as a professional.
My greatest achievement of 2016 must be my placement at Broadmoor Hospital. It will help me further my career and has given me the confidence I need to complete the final year at university.
I have changed a lot during my degree – I feel much stronger and happier with the person that I am. For the most part this is because I am finally doing what I want to do i.e. train as a psychologist. It is a dream come true!
I am planning to apply for a job as an assistant psychologist, possibly at Broadmoor Hospital. I hope to gain further work experience and apply for a clinical doctorate course starting in September 2018.
University has been a great 3 years and I have enjoyed it!"