Student Placement, Health Psychology – Elizabeth

What University where you at and which course were you studying when you completed a placement with Breathe?

I was studying for a Masters in Health Psychology at University College London – I was quite lucky as we were guaranteed an opportunity to apply for a placement during the Masters course.

What did you do on your placement with Breathe?

I worked at Breathe for two days per week to assist with the Melodies for Mums programme – on Tuesday afternoons we attended the Melodies for Mums sessions. The other time was initially spent assisting with recruiting mums for the programme which involved finding the details of local play groups to visit, as well as health centres and post-natal clinics, where we could talk to prospective mums and provide more information. I then helped to analyse data from a survey prospective mums complete to assess their eligibility. Once the sessions were running I was involved with coordinating the sessions, checking in on mums who had missed sessions and of course singing and chatting during the sessions. This meant I really got the chance to build up a growing relationship with the mums.

 

I was involved with coordinating the sessions, checking in on mums who had missed sessions and of course singing and chatting during the sessions. This meant I really got the chance to build up a growing relationship with the mums.

Why did this placement appeal to you?

As a psychology graduate I’m interested in support for those dealing with mental health difficulties. To be able to work for a charity, really feeling like what you do each day can affect others in a positive, meaningful way is incredibly appealing. I also know that postnatal depression can affect a lot of new mums, and that support massively improves their quality of life and that of their children. These women are in such an important stage in their lives and they need as much support as possible to help them to be the confident amazing mums they can be. I’m really glad I chose to spend my placement at Breathe!

What were your highlights whilst working at Breathe?

I loved it when I was first able to introduce the programme to mums – to see the relief that mums who wanted to start the programme felt when they learned that there was something available and free which might help them to feel more in control.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, it was a real chance to spend time around people singing and chatting without feeling like you needed to rush out the door or tick off a list, it was a great chance to just enjoy everyone’s company.

Another highlight for me was how I was able to see the women grow in confidence week on week, at first a lot of them would walk in looking anxious to be around so many new faces, but as the weeks passed they became more confident, happier, and more relaxed. They even made plans to meet outside of the programme!

 

It’s been great to see the ‘patient/public’ side through my Melodies for Mums placement as it’s helped me to take the feelings and thoughts of the public into account when talking to healthcare professionals.

What are you doing now?

Now I’m working as a medical writer and account manager for a medical education/communications company. I’m only just getting to grips with what that means on a day to day basis myself! But we do get the chance to form healthcare professional education programmes about new treatments and optimal care. It’s been great to see the ‘patient/public’ side through my Melodies for Mums placement as it’s helped me to take the feelings and thoughts of the public into account too, when talking to healthcare professionals.