Organisation of Clinical Placements
The programme aims to support trainees in the development of core competencies across the three years of training. All trainees gain experience of working across the life-span, of working in residential and community settings, and with people who have severe and/or enduring problems.
Trainees undertake two placements per year. In Year 1, they complete adult and older adult placements. In Year 2 they complete child and learning disabilities placements. This enables trainees to choose specialist placements in their final year. These may be completed concurrently or consecutively across the year depending on the specialism chosen. There is rich variety of specialist placements available, for example forensic, neuropsychology, specialist centres for brain injury, clinical health psychology, social services, leadership skills and specific therapeutic modalities including cognitive behaviour therapy, systemic and cognitive analytical therapy.
The number of days trainees are required to spend on placement varies across the three years. Trainees can be on placement for up to 4 days per week. They are also allocated research and study days to help them manage the varying demands of the Programme, for example, thesis research. The pattern of placements across the three years is currently under review so may alter for future years. For the most up-to-date information please refer to our website.
Clinical supervisors offering placements are expected to provide supervision in line with BPS guidelines. We provide training events to support them with this. We also gather feedback on supervision from trainees to monitor this.
Placements are typically within a trainee’s base location or a location geographically close to this base. In the third year, trainees are able to select their specialist placements outside of their base location. Trainees will be visited at least once per placement by a member of the programme team.
We are currently exploring the exciting opportunity for home students to undertake a partial or whole placement overseas in their final year of training.
Placement Planning and Monitoring
Initial Placement Meeting/Placement Contract
The advisor meets with the supervisor and trainee at the beginning of the first placement to agree a placement contract. This discussion will cover arrangements for work particularly related to the specialty, identifying particular aspects of work that the trainee needs to develop and supervision arrangements. In subsequent placements, the responsibility for agreeing the placement plan rests with the trainee and supervisor (unless this is the first time that a supervisor has provided a placement on the Course, in which case the advisor will join the initial placement meeting). The contract should be copied to the Course by the trainee within two weeks of the start of the placement so that the content can be monitored.
For all placements after the first one the trainee will be expected to contact the supervisor before the placement starts, to discuss the practical arrangements and initial ideas for the placement plan. The supervisor will be expected to complete the standard Placement Contract form with the trainee, within a fortnight of commencement of the placement, and the trainee should copy this to the Course.
Half way through each placement the trainee's advisor meets with the supervisor and trainee for a mid-placement review. There are opportunities for the advisor to meet both the supervisor and the trainee alone to discuss general progress and to identify any problems that need to be addressed when the three meet together. In the joint meeting the trainee's current work and the placement plan are reviewed to identify any additional work that needs to be carried out. The supervisor is asked to give feedback to the trainee on their performance so far in the placement, making use of the headings on the evaluation form; the trainee gives feedback on supervision and any problems are addressed. There is also an opportunity for the Advisor to ask the supervisor how well they thought the Course prepared the trainee for the placement. A record of the mid-placement review is made and sent to the supervisor and trainee.
End of Placement Arrangements
At the end of the placement the supervisor completes the Supervisor's Assessment of Trainee Form and discusses this with the trainee. Trainees are also asked to provide feedback about the placement and supervision on the forms provided. This should be done after the Supervisor's assessment is completed. Trainees also need to keep a log of their clinical work. All the forms need to be returned promptly to the Placement Organiser.
In several placements trainees will have to write up some of their work for examination - either as case reports or service research projects. In addition, at the end of each placement, trainees will have to make an oral presentation about their clinical work to members of the academic staff.
If at any stage during the placement either the trainee or the supervisor is concerned about any aspect then contact is made, as soon as possible, with the trainee's advisor or the year tutor to discuss the matter. Potential difficulties can then be tackled at an early stage.