Staff and Stakeholders: Placements

Arrangement of Placements

Placements on the Lancaster University DClinPsy fall into a precise pattern across the three years.  For the first two years, two placements each year notionally go between 1st October and 31st March, then 1st April and 30th September. In the third year the placement starts in early January and finishes 31st August.  The broad nature of the services within which each of these placements is provided is given in the table below:

Placement Schedule

Clinical Placement (3 days each week)

Year 1

 

September

(No Placement - Induction Programme)

October  – March

Children and Families

April – September

Adult Mental Health

Year 2

 

October  – March

Older Adults, Physical Health or Neuropsychology

April – September

People with Learning Disabilities

Year 3

 

October – December

(No Placement – Research Activity)

January – August

Specialist topics (placement 4 days each week from thesis submission)

The placement programme is designed to offer trainees practice experience of working with clients across the age range and across a diverse range of contexts, working practices and presenting difficulties. The main function of achieving this diversity is to afford the trainee appropriate opportunities to nurture and develop the skills and qualities of a competent, confident clinical psychologist.

A trainee would usually gain clinical experience of issues relating to adults, older adults, children and families, and people with learning disabilities, as well as in contexts where health, brain injury and ageing issues were addressed.

The consistent order of placements also enables the programme to match contents of the teaching programmes that run alongside the placements to the broad needs of each placement. This schedule may vary if the needs of trainees demand (e.g. maternity leave, illness or a part time path through training), and their attendance at teaching sessions will be negotiated so that they will have appropriate access to teaching content to support them on their placements.

Placement support and monitoring

Every trainee is allocated an individual clinical tutor who supports them and follows their progress throughout the duration of their training.  This means that the same clinical tutor attends all the placement meetings for their trainee. This provides consistency and allows the trainee and tutor to get to know each other well. It also enables the tutors to contribute to the allocation and tailoring of placements based on the individual needs of their trainees.

At the start of each placement, the trainee’s clinical tutor will make contact with the supervisor(s) and plan the support for the placement over the following six months. This includes support for meeting any trainee specific needs, for constructing a placement contract and planning mid-placement visits and end of placement reviews. The tutor is also available to trainee and supervisor for any support needs throughout the course of the placement. There may be a start of placement visit, such as when people are new to supervising trainees, or if other circumstances suggest that such a visit would be beneficial.

The clinical tutor will visit the trainee and supervisor on placement midway through the placement for a mid-placement visit. The aims of this visit are to monitor the trainee’s progress in the placement against the intended learning outcomes as stated in the placement contract, and to draw up any necessary plans in order to ensure the successful attainment of these learning outcomes.

Reviews are held with trainees at the end of the placement, following a telephone review between supervisor and tutor. These reviews are carried out in tandem with the completion of the placement forms

Placement contract

It is anticipated that trainees have experiences on placement that allow them to gain the learning objectives that relate to acquisition of clinical competence, which meet the HPC’s Standards of Education and Training and also are outlined in the BPS Accreditation Criteria. The intended learning outcomes (that demonstrate acquisition of clinical competence) for each placement, and the ways these will be achieved, should be outlined in the placement contract for each placement. The placement contract form is available in the appendices of the Placement Handbook, and is also available (email or disk) from the Programme Office.  The contract should normally be established within the first two weeks of the placement, and then sent to the Programme Office.

Supervisors and trainees are also strongly encouraged to form a psychological contract regarding the supervision process at the beginning of the placement.

Time available on placements

The general plan is for trainees to be available for placement work for three days each week (see Time Allocation Guidance from the Placement Handbook for further details of time allocation on placement). There may be occasional extra teaching days and meetings, but these should be rare and it is anticipated that trainees use some of their private study/research time of one day each week, if necessary, for these extra commitments.

Each week there is also one day set aside for teaching. Generally, the first year trainees are taught at the university in Lancaster on a Wednesday, second years on a Tuesday and third years on a Monday (although the third years will attend for teaching twice a week during October-December). From January 2011, generally speaking, with the exception of some teaching days early in January 2011, the third year trainees will have two days each week for research and three for placement. From June of the third year trainees are available for placement work for four days each week until the end of the course.

There are, in addition, public holidays, dates for University closure, and annual leave entitlements. Trainees should consult the annual plan, programme staff, and their supervisor to ensure that placement commitments are fulfilled appropriately.

Placement Documents

The following documents are in Microsoft Word format for use by supervisors.

DClinPsy Insight

The programme tries to maintain a friendly, caring and approachable face with its trainees and with all qualified clinicians who contribute to the training programme. Our vision is to continue in this spirit.

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