By Meghan Linscott, Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology Trainee
In July 2016, I learned about a Health Psychology Professional Doctorate bursary opportunity at Staffordshire University and Stoke-on-Trent City Council (working across Public Health and Planning). I was excited immediately as I knew I wanted to progress to Stage 2 training but I was not in a position that supported me to do so. I had no experience in planning but after doing some research, I knew I had to apply.
I was invited for an interview at the end of July. The panel was large (with six people round the table from both Staffordshire University and the Council) but very friendly, which helped settle my nerves. One thing that stood out to me was the opportunity for a tour of the Science Centre with the Psychology Technicians following the interview. I took up this opportunity and was impressed with the facilities available. I also got a better feel for the University and knew I could be happy studying there.
I learned I had been successful on the same day as my interview and had no doubt in my mind that I would accept the offer!
Prior to starting my placement, I had always worked with individuals and small groups in roles that provided me with an opportunity to get out and about in the community. Therefore, initially, a desk based role came as a small shock! However, it did not take long for me to settle in and I was treated like an employee from the word “go”. My placement role is wide ranging. I act as a consultant, policy writer and researcher within the planning department to embed health into planning and the built environment. I also support Public Health initiatives such as suicide prevention, dementia friendly communities/cities and asset-based community development. Looking back, very few of the proposals I put forward at interview have been a part of my Prof Doc journey. This is largely because my placement role has been very forthcoming with opportunities to complete the competences whilst also going about my day job.
I am very grateful to have gained experience working at the population level and I could not have anticipated how valuable my bursary experience has been; it has widened my skill set and opened my eyes to the breadth of the health psychology discipline. I can confidently say health psychology and planning go hand in hand and I hope we see health psychology training opportunities as highly regarded as those available for clinical psychology, in the very near future.
Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology
Staffordshire University has a history of excellence in teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has active team of Health Psychologists who conduct research and provide consultancy in a range of health-related issues.
For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages: