Staffs Student Stories: My Placement Year Experience: Pros and … Pros!

My name is Meredith Danks and if you’re reading this, I guess you might be wondering whether a placement year is for you?

Well I can only begin by saying YES – deciding to complete a placement year was, without a doubt, the best educational decision I have made. Over the last 6-8 months I have gained invaluable experiences, that will guide me through both my working and academic career.

However, hindsight really is a wonderful thing; if you had asked me the ‘placement’ question a year ago I would have shared my doubts. My biggest worries were whether I should take a year out and if it would be worth it? If you are feeling like this now my advice would be to make sure that you find a placement that suits you and it will be 100% worth it!

Now, finding the right placement can be a tricky business. I wanted to benefit from a year out by finding a placement that offered the experiences that I was looking for. I contacted over 30 organisations(!) to try to find a suitable placement, with the majority of them ignoring me. This was a tough time, but you need to persevere! It wasn’t until a guest lecturer mentioned “Midlands Psychology CIC” that I actually had some luck in finding my placement! So, I guess the moral of the story is to always listen during lectures!!

During my placement with Midlands Psychology CIC I had the opportunity to gain experiences that an undergraduate student could only dream of. I shadowed and worked closely with some INCREDIBLE clinicians, who have taught me more than I ever thought possible. Furthermore, I gained experience within the Looked After Children Service and Supported Living Service. Working with these services has given me many fond memories and broadened my interests beyond the fields that I already knew.

I also spent time working in the admin team, this was invaluable at showing me the other side to Psychology, whilst developing my confidence and resilience. In addition, I attended various courses and workshops which have helped to extend my knowledge in preparation for 3rd year and beyond!

For me, the best thing about my placement was, of course the invaluable experiences, but also having the chance to work within an incredible team of professionals. They have taught me so many things that I will never forget. I am truly so grateful to them all.

So, my advice to you?:
1. Considering a placement year? You might be delaying graduating by a year, but the experiences and skills that you gain outweigh this concern one thousand times over!
2. Looking for a placement? Be patient, do your research and don’t settle for something if it’s not what you want.

A year might seem like a long time, but when you’re on a placement that you love, it flies by and this was definitely the case for me!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Staffs Student Stories – Meet Mikki, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology

About you

Mikki
Mikki, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology student

My name is Mikki and I’m a full-time third year Psychology and Criminology student. At first, I only wanted to go to University for the experience and I had no solid career path in mind but knew that I wanted to go down the route of something to do with Criminology! Looking back, my time at Staffordshire University has been some of the best years of my life and I’ve met the most amazing people on my journey – I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me!

Why did you apply and how did you get a place on the course?

I applied to study Psychology and Criminology at Staffordshire University because I’ve always had an interest in Criminology and had some previous knowledge of Psychology so I liked the idea of combining the two! Staffordshire University not being too far from home was also a bonus as I was super nervous about moving away. I applied for the course via UCAS and was offered an unconditional place a couple of weeks later.

What has been the best part of the course?

For me, the best part of the course has been getting to choose my option modules. There were a variety of modules available for us to choose from and it helped me tailor my experience on the course to be specific to the topics that I was interested in, which then allowed me to gain a wider knowledge on some of my biggest interests.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome and how have you overcome them, while studying with us

Helpful and understanding staff

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome whilst studying at Staffordshire University was coming to terms with the workload and how to manage my time effectively. Coming to University straight from college was a big jump for me and I didn’t realise just how different the workload was and just how much would be expected of me. It took me a couple of weeks to adjust, but all of the staff were so helpful and understanding which made things a lot easier and much less daunting for me.

What are your next steps and plans for the future?

After studying Psychology and Criminology for the last 3 years, I’ve actually had a huge turning point in my mindset for the future and have decided to progress onto a Masters in Education. Despite my change of career path, the past 3 years studying Psychology and Criminology have prepared me for my plans for the future and has given me confidence that I wasn’t even aware I had.

Would you recommend our course to others?

I would 100% recommend this course to anyone interested in Psychology and Criminology! My 3 years studying at Staffordshire University have been 3 of the best years of my life – I’ve made some of the most amazing friends, met some of the most caring staff in the Psychology department and it has also increased my confidence and knowledge in a field that has held my interest for years. I can’t recommend this course enough!


Interested in studing with us? Find out more about our courses:

The Science Centre

Student Blog: The importance of incorporating public and patient involvement in my MSc Research

One of our current MSc by Applied Research students, Sophia, blogs about her MSc dissertation project which is incoporating public and patient involvement into a study of experiences of local mental health services:

My current research project has been developed by myself and a team of lived experience advisors as part of a public and patient involvement (PPI) strategy. Our aims are primarily to explore the experiences of mental health service users in Stoke-on-Trent and provide a service-user perspective of these services at a local level. Secondly, we aim to add to the literature surrounding the implementation of PPI strategies and co-production in mental health research.

A PPI strategy is a plan to engage with the public and /or patient groups, depending on your research question, with a view to enhance the quality of the research. PPI teams generally offer their experience, perspective and advice through roles such as ‘advisory’ or ‘steering’ groups. But consider this. If I told you that someone I have regular contact with has helped me to develop the proposal, ethics, interview questions, participant information, analysis, dissemination plans, plain language summary, presentation, and once even provided tech support, would you describe that as an advisory role? Perhaps a co-producer is more accurate.

My area of interest is mental health; historically outcomes of importance in this area have been identified by clinicians and researchers. This has led to much research focusing on eliminating symptoms and assessing the effectiveness of psychopharmacology; and although these areas are important, outcomes such as improved quality of life are neglected and clinical trials concerning talking therapies are kin to unicorn sightings. Consequently, strategies such as that adopted by the National Institute of Health Research asking researchers to provide a plan for PPI work alongside applications for funding have become more common. However, PPI work isn’t just the concern of the NIHR. Involving the public and patient populations in your research no matter what level you are at, undergrad, MSc, PhD, or full-blown professorship with bells on, helps you to keep your research focused on population relevant questions and outcomes. That is, it allows you to investigate the things that are important to the people you are trying to help. Further to this, it provides dialogue between patient populations and researchers, allows for the exchange of knowledge and experience and develops trust in the community. It demonstrates that the research is being done, that we do care what you think about what you have been through and together we can make things better.

As students, we can contribute to a better way of conducting research and set precedents. Eliminating tokenistic steering groups and sitting down with our gran/neighbour/kids/patient/pilot participant, asking them how something was for them, really listening and making co-production the norm. I know that’s what the public and patient group I’m working with want, because I asked them.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For further information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Body Esteem & Social Media use: StaffsPsych Graduate Hollie publishes her undergraduate research!

By Dr. Alison Owen (Lecturer in Health Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research).

As you’re probably already aware, social media is widely used nowadays. For example, the last recorded statistics of this year showed that Facebook alone had 2.27 billion monthly active users and one billion people were using Instagram in June 2018.

Researchers at the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research decided to look into whether using social media has an impact on a person’s feelings towards their body. Staffordshire University Undergraduate student Hollie Ormsby, along with her supervisors (Dr. Alison Owen and collaborator Dr. Manpal Bhogal from the University of Wolverhampton), surveyed 100 students, with participants completing measures of social media use and body esteem. The body esteem measure looks at how people feel about their body, and includes statements such as ‘I am proud of my body’. Hollie and her supervisors found that social media use and intensity of use (the amount of time people spent on social media) did not predict a person’s body esteem. However, they did find that the women had significantly lower body esteem compared to men. Whilst it might seem disappointing not to replicate previous studies’ findings in relation to body esteem and social media use, this study provides useful evidence indicating that the assumed negative effects of social media use may be more complicated than previously thought, especially in relation to body esteem.

Hollie and her supervisors have recently published their findings in the journal Current Psychology (click here to view the paper) and Hollie is progressing her studies at Staffordshire University on the Department of Psychology’s new MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology course after completing her BSc (Hons) Psychology degree in 2018.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

 

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Fozia (BSc Hons Psychology)

As part of our series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Fozia who completed her BSc (Hons) Psychology degree here at Staffordshire University. Find out about Fozia’s experiences on her course and her plans for the future:


What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Great course offer, great friendly teaching staff and great student population. I also wanted somewhere not too far from my home town of Birmingham so Stoke-on-Trent was a great location with fantastic transport links. The surrounding area was quiet and friendly.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

Student life as a whole – studying aspect, socialising, great resources to support studying and living, great community of people to make me feel safe whilst living away from home

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs? 

How small the campus and city of Stoke-on-Trent is so I was able to get about easily compared to living in a busy large city, feeling safe as well as independent. When studying late in the library or on campus, my living accommodation was only few roads away so I was able to walk in the dark very late at night without the fear of anything happening. The security staff/fellow students were happy to walk with me a short distance if they were able to.

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

Lots of work experience and employment. Studying MSc in Health Psychology and then going onto do my PhD which I was awarded in 2013 from Aston University. Alongside my PhD I completed my BPS Chartership Stage 2 in Health Psychology qualification and am now continuing with my HCPC membership as a Registered Psychologist.  I have had many clinical roles mainly in smoking cessation and acute health, embarking on project management at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as a Research Fellow and Project Manager for the CLARCH 1 project. I then moved on to Primary Care Transformation Team Project Manager working for HEE. I now work as the Clinical Engagement Manager for Wolverhampton CCG/WMCA on an innovative health led trial testing IPS employment support in primary care.

What are your plans for the future? 

Continue to work on health led trials and develop my leadership skills within NHS/WMCA

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Do it! No matter what background you are from or whatever the situation you will be able to develop yourself as a person at your own pace with plenty of support. Studying at Staffordshire University gave me my first opportunity to learn about health psychology and I have never looked back. My passion and dedication to health psychology has surfaced in all the different roles I have had since leaving Staffs clinical as well as none clinical, and I have been able to keep up with a lot of the new innovative ideas in health promotion as it all stems from health psychology i.e. behaviour change. I may not be working as a Health Psychologist as I once aimed for, but I am working in a role where I can use my health psychology knowledge and PhD skills to work to the best of my ability and to help to tackle wider determinants of health and achieve better health outcomes.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs? 

I started off as a very quiet and introverted person contrary to my character as I was in a new place for the first time on my own. However by the second year I gained the confidence to socialise more as well as working with others to study harder and efficiently. I became better in decision making and problem solving as well a financial more savvy! My times at Staffs was a huge step for me but one I have never regretted!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Szilvia (MSc & Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology)

As part of our series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Szilvia who completed her MSc in Health Psychology and her Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology here at Staffordshire University. Find out about Szilvia’s experiences at on her course and her plans for the future:


Before studying at Staffordshire, I had completed previous Psychology-related courses and obtained various certificates, such as a BSc in Psychology (in Hungary), PGDip in Psychodrama and Creative Counselling. I then worked as a health care assistant in Staffordshire before starting my Health Psychology studies here at Staffordshire.

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I was interested in Health Psychology, and Staffordshire University offered the MSc and Professional Doctorate courses in Health Psychology which other universities in the region didn’t offer.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

I really loved the interactive aspects of teaching; we received a great amount of support from the lecturers. The lecturers were always friendly, very well prepared and made the sessions enjoyable. I learned a lot about research methods during the MSc in Health Psychology, and because of that I felt confident to continue with the Doctorate in Health Psychology. Thanks to these good foundations, my critical analytical thinking and problem-solving skills have further developed during the doctorate. I found that these things are super important for people who work in health-related jobs, as science and societies are changing constantly. Also, the other major ‘best part’ was being with like-minded students, I made some friends for life at Staffs.

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs?

To work and study at the same time, but I was given lots of support and advice how to work with these difficulties (e.g. book blocks of time off), so it all worked out at the end.

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

Because I became very interested in health behaviour interventions and I worked with insomnia patients during the doctorate, I enrolled into a graduate part-time course in Sleep Medicine at Oxford. Through this course I met Prof. Colin Espie (who is one of the directors of the Sleep Medicine Centre at Oxford) who developed the evidence-based CBTi – cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia patients. We talked about a possible research project in which I could utilise his CBTi approach and apply it to develop a new form of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for insomnia patients. Also, I’ve spent a week training retreat in Massachusetts with Jon Kabat-Zinn (the developer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme). In terms of work, currently I’m working bank hours for an agency, which is part of the NHS, I’m in the process of relocating to New York.

What are your plans for the future?

In about five years I would like to take the ‘somnologist’ exam (sleep medicine specialist). Also, I would like to write a book about how to use Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for sleeping difficulties.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

There are lots of different kinds of support to help with literally anything. For example, there are lots of materials and even seminars to help with academic writing. Make sure to use those and listen to tips about time management and so forth.


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.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Grace (BSc Psychology & Criminology)

As part of our series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Grace who graduated from our BSc (Hons) Psychology & Criminology course in 2018. Find out about Grace’s experiences at Staffordshire University and her plans for the future:


Before coming to Staffs I had worked as an Auditor for a building society for nine years. I took redundancy after having my little boy and then became a full-time mum. My little girl soon followed, and when the children were 3 and 1, I decided to get back into studying to fulfil my ambition of working within the criminal justice system. I completed an Access to HE course which enabled me to continue into university.

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I knew that Staffs had always had a really good reputation particularly for Psychology, I attended an open day, completely fell in love with the place, and as I only lived 20 minutes away it made perfect sense.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

I have honestly loved every part of studying at Staffs and I would do my degree again in a heartbeat! If I had to pick best bits, I’d say the lecturers are all brilliant! Always there to help no matter how busy they are! The facilities at Staffs are excellent and the Psychology technical staff are so friendly and helpful, especially when it comes to doing your final year project!

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs?

With having two small children, I really learned how to juggle my time, keep organised whilst remaining focused on my studies. I learned a lot about myself during my degree and if you stay focused, organised, and determined, you will have no problems getting a first class degree!

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

Since graduating I have continued with my volunteering with young offenders, spending time with my family and getting ready for my next venture at Staffs which obtaining my degree has helped me to achieve.

What are your plans for the future?

I am returning to Staffs in September to do my Masters in Applied Research, which I am very excited about! After this I plan on building my dream career working within the criminal justice system….however I do plan on doing my PhD in the future!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Just go for it! It really will be the best decision you make, the knowledge and experience you gain along with personal growth and confidence will all be worth it and will open doors to an amazing future!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs?

I wish I could do it all over again!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Staffs Psychology – 2018 Graduation Gallery!

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University held our Annual Graduation Ceremony at the beautiful Trentham Estate in July 2018. A selection of images from our Graduating Class of 2018 can be viewed below:

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Highlights from the Psychology graduation day and ceremony can be viewed below:


Thinking about applying for a Psychology degree at Staffordshire University via Clearing?

Visit our clearing pages for details of available places starting in September 2018: https://clearing.staffs.ac.uk/


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Student Blog: Advice on how to manage your Final Year Undergraduate Research Project

By Sophia Fedorowicz, BSc Psychology & Counselling student.

My level 6 project explored the effects of listening to poetry on undergraduate stress because of the increasing need for stress management techniques and my personal love of the creative arts. I measured heart rate and skin responses to show stress levels in my participants and I also asked them to give a likability score for the poem they listened to. My results showed that participants who listened to the rhyming poem gave higher likability scores and there were some indication that the poems had an effect on the participants skin responses and heart rate. I hope to continue to explore a potential relationship between the level of likability of a poem and its potential as a stress management tool as my MSc by Applied Research project.

In order to conduct my study I recorded poems, using Biopac equipment to measure skin responses and heart rate, and BSL software to analyse those measurements. I worked with the Psychology technical team a lot, especially Paul Gallimore, throughout the designing of my study, data collection process, part of the analysis, and their support was boundless. If you decide to use the technical equipment for your study you will receive full training and this same support, so do not be put off and set up a meeting.

Secondly I must mention my tireless supervisor Dr Michael Batashvili who, despite being super busy with a million things, always had time for a meeting and never failed to reply to my emails, of which I sent a lot. Throughout your project maintaining communication with your supervisor is key. Tell them when it’s going well, tell them when it’s going wrong, tell them when you’re having an existential crisis. They will support you and help you to work out the best way to get your project finished.

And finally, enjoy it! Choose something you find interesting, do the reading and go for it. I am happy to answer questions or chat about my project any time:

sophia.e.fedorowicz@gmail.com

@FedorowiczS


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Laurna (BSc Psychology & MSc Health Psychology)

As part of our series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Laurna who graduated from our MSc Health Psychology course in 2016 after studying her BSc (Hons) Psychology here at Staffordshire University.

Find out about Laurna’s experiences at Staffordshire University and her career after completing her Master’s course:


I grew up in Staffordshire and studied down the road at Newcastle-under-Lyme College. I studied Psychology at GCSE and A-Level, and loved the subject so much that completing a psychology degree was a no brainer!

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

After my A Level results I entered Clearing. During this uncertain time, I knew that my first choice of potential universities was Staffordshire University. Throughout the clearing process I had an excellent experience talking to the staff in the Psychology Department, and they made the process so easy and straight forward. The helpfulness of the staff, in addition to the open day confirmed my decision that Staffs was for me.

Following my undergraduate degree, completing the Health Psychology Master’s degree at staffs, the home of health psychology, was an easy decision. The excellent teaching staff, with research and practice experience in various areas of Health Psychology affirmed my choice!

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

The whole university experience was great, especially living with my friends and spending many hours in the Ember Lounge and LRV for gobble on a Wednesday night. During the Health Psychology Master’s Degree I was fortunate to be around a bunch of lovely people that over the year became great friends! The highlight of the whole experience was graduating with a First Class honours at undergraduate, and a Distinction at Master’s degree in the Italian Gardens at the Trentham Estate surrounded by my fellow students, friends, and family.

What have you done since leaving Staffs? How did your course help you with this?

During my undergraduate degree, I realised my passion for improving the quality of life of those living with neurodegenerative conditions. I volunteered at a dementia charity during my Master’s degree, and worked as a Clinical Studies Assistant at South Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where I helped with many mental health and neurodegenerative research projects.

Following the Master’s degree I started my PhD in pain for people living with dementia at Keele University. Both my undergraduate and Master’s degree gave me the perfect foundation to start a PhD, both in relation to the research skills that I learnt, but also the encouragement and support provided from my tutors in the Psychology Department.

What are your plans for the future?

Following the PhD, I wish to work on research projects in the domain of health psychology, focusing upon those living with a neurodegenerative condition. At the moment however, I intend to focus on my PhD!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I would advise to all of those that are interested in either a psychology degree or health psychology Master’s degree should attend one of the Staffordshire University open days. This day will allow you to talk to the psychology staff, and look at the facilities on offer.


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.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages: