How to prepare yourself psychologically for work placements

Work Placements

 

Update, 25/3/21 – I’ve just updated the ‘Preparing Psychologically for Work Placements‘ document to version 7. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while. I’ve added a fair bit of content and as such have updated the post below.  


Work placements are a critical component of many degrees. They are chances for students to see what working in their chosen area involves.

I remember my clinical placements in psychology as both highly nerve-wracking, but also incredibly valuable. One of the places I did my work placement ultimately became my employer after my training.

A while back I prepared some materials for 3rd year students who were about to go out on work placements. I’ve updated those materials (now up to version 7). You will find them attached to this blog post.

The document highlights 14 things you could focus on to ensure you get the most out of your work placements

They are as follows:

  1. Know what to expect
  2. Clarify what you want to get out of the placement and put things in place to make that happen
  3. Clarify what kind of impression you want to leave at the workplace
  4. Get your own health and wellbeing in check
  5. Routines – timetabling and self-care
  6. Portraying competence
  7. Plan for challenging emotions to arise
  8. The importance of communication and feedback
  9. Notice and name perfectionism
  10. Self-reflection
  11. Finding meaning and purpose, even in a placement that isn’t your interest area
  12. Networking
  13. Take the time to self-reflect on what skills you are developing on placement (work skills for the future)
  14. Ask yourself if this is a job you can imagine yourself doing

Yes this is quite a bit, but I’ve tried to be succinct in addressing these areas. I really just want to get you thinking about the placement experience in a few different ways. As such I don’t apologise for the length of the document, but I do suggest you put aside a bit of time to digest it all.

Please note: I DO NOT EXPECT YOU TO DO ALL OF THE THINGS SUGGESTED IN THE DOCUMENT. Trying to do everything outlined in the document would be counter-productive.

However, what I do hope you get from this document are some ideas about the different (and relatively simple) ways that you can prepare for your placement. Use the ideas that are helpful to you, ignore those that are not.

If you have any questions about what is written in this document, feel free to email me (gareth.furber@flinders.edu.au).

Also feel free to share this document with fellow students who you think might benefit from it.

Finally, if you have some suggestions on how to make the document better, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can take criticism 🙂

Click the image to access the pdf.

 

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