Health and social care - student stories
Kate Brown, Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP)
What courses did you take and what qualifications did you achieve?
I began my OU journey by studying Introducing the Social Sciences (DD101), and followed on to study An Introduction to Health and Social Care (K101). I completed my OU Level 2 modules and gained a Level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care and my Certificate in Mental Health Studies (Level 5).
I then decided I would go the whole way and continue to study for an Honours degree, so I carried on and graduated with a 2.1, Upper Second Class Honours Degree (BSc Hons) in Health and Social Care in 2016.
What have you done since you finished your studies?
Since completing my degree, I have started a Post Graduate Certificate training course in Low Intensity Psychological Interventions (PG Cert LIPI) and am working as a trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) for the Healthy Minds Psychological Therapies service in Stoke on Trent. I started this role in October 2016, almost immediately after I graduated from The OU.
Tell us more about your job
I believe this role will open up future career opportunities as well as being incredibly fulfilling and challenging for me at this point. My job is varied and includes days spent studying the theoretical aspects of Low Intensity CBT, and practising specific skills needed to carry out the day to day role of PWP.
I also spend clinical days conducting assessments and delivering treatments to clients experiencing mild to moderate levels of anxiety, stress and depression. As the course is accredited, there are exams and portfolios that need submitting, plus reflective essays and regular practice sessions with reflections on own skills.
I attend weekly case management supervisions and monthly clinical skills supervisions to ensure best practice. The team I work with are all wonderful and very supportive, and I feel privileged to be part of such a great organisation. The job is challenging at times, which I thrive on, and also extremely rewarding.
Besides qualifications, what else have you gained from studying with the OU?
I can honestly say the OU helped me get to where I am now, in not only providing some amazing academic resources, but also helping to improve my self management skills, communication, problem solving, IT skills and overall confidence and self-esteem.
The qualification definitely helped me to get my current job, but I also believe it has given me so much more than just a degree. My whole outlook has changed, I now feel confident and able to take on any challenge with a positive attitude, and I credit my studies with the OU with being a huge part of that change for me personally.
I was working as a Recovery Coach prior to my PWP training position, so I did have existing practical experience to draw on in the process. I do believe the self-management required for OU study sets us in good stead for the demands of the PGCert LIPI. I was quite lucky in securing this position as my current employers offered me the opportunity to apply and supported my application fully. Even so, the process was stressful and demanding, and the assessment day was anxiety inducing in itself!
What do you hope the future holds for you?
I hope to move forward in my career in a couple of years and apply for the CBT Training, to become a qualified therapist.
What advice would you offer to people who are considering applying for roles such as yours?
The only advice I can really give for students who would like to apply for PWP training positions would be to keep your eye out for the posts. They generally start in either October or January and are highly sought after, but I do feel my past experience of distance learning helped my application, as I was able to demonstrate motivation and discipline as well as academic ability.
Good luck to anyone who thinks of following this career path, I can highly recommend it.