Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
neuroPsy
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Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by neuroPsy » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:18 pm

Hi, I'd like to apply for the next round to the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology but since I'm not British (I'm an EU), I've never applied before and it's a long and demanding process, I'd like to have an honest evualuation of my chances from you guys--experienced forum users. The goal is to understand what I need to do in your opinion to get my chances higher.

I'll try to be concise:
I'm a PhD candidate in Cognitive Neuroscience, I have graduated with honors both in my bachelor and master in Psychology and I have already been recognized by the BPS. I have publications, my grades are good, so far so good.
My main concern is the experience: I've been shadowing a clinical psychologist for two years during my master (so really a long time ago) while I was doing a paid traineeship at the local hospital. The psychologist was alone in the huge hospital, so that her patients were many and different and I was actively involved in everything: children with learning disabilities, adults in emotional distress after a heart failure, elderly affected by severe neurological impairments and so on. She would make diagnosis, therapies etc. Additionally, she used to participate to research activities in collaboration with the hospital and with the university, so that by shadowing her, I was involved also in data collection, analysis, basically all the research-related stuff. After that, I started my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, and my research focus is indirectly related to Clinical Psychology since I've been doing fundamental reasearch on vision and I don't have contacts with patients, so I really don't think that it will make a difference.
During my PhD I continued on a voluntary basis to shadow for few months a Neuropsychologist in the local hospital following the assessment of patients before and after brain surgery, and subsequently a Clinical Psychologist that works privately in order to get a grasp of the private practice. Occasionally, I volunteer as clown therapist in the local hospital and hospice, mainly 'entairtaining' sick children, but that's all.
I believe that reviewers are looking for people with 'fresh' experience that would have done a paid traineeship as social worker for example while doing their PhD and unfortunately I literally didn't have the time, so what do you think about my chances? do I need to have experience with NHS' job? Of course, taking for granted that Brexit will not affect my decision and chances to apply.

Thank you for your time to whomever will answer!

neuropsy

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miriam
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by miriam » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:14 pm

I think the challenge for UK training, is that you haven't lived or worked in the UK or the NHS (which funds training), so you won't have that kind of cultural awareness of the context in which services are delivered here. It also seems that your experience has all been of shadowing services, most of them using a medical model (that has led you to use a lot of pejorative and medical terminology). That doesn't really compare to the applied experiences of actually contributing to delivering care, or relate to the biopsychosocial models that are more dominant in UK clinical psychology. That said, a PhD can itself be considered relevant experience, and research experience is equally valued, so it isn't so much whether you can tick the right boxes as whether you can reflect on your experiences and think like a psychologist that counts!
Miriam

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neuroPsy
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by neuroPsy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:19 pm

Hi Miriam,

I’m glad you took the time to answer, your comment might be representative of the evaluation I would receive during the application, in addition to be the start (I hope) of an interesting conversation. Your point on cultural awareness is totally fair to the extent that I’m not familiar with the british culture, although the doctoral training should exist in order to be trained on different practical aspects of the clinical profession, so it should cover this matter especially because of the biopsychosocial approach you mentioned, and it’s quite hard to understand why it shouldn’t, especially when it comes to big cities such London. But if it’s a matter to familiarity to the the NHS, well, again, shouldn’t this be part of the training as well? I think that would be clearer if you could delineate the profile they want for their training, and what type of experience would fit into their standard if shadowing is not the case.

Finally, I didn’t understand what you mean when you say that my terminology was “pejorative”, or that thinking like a psychologist is what counts; perhaps you could elaborate more on what do you mean with psychological mindset and pejorative language.

Thanks again, you’ve been really helpful Miriam!

neuropsy

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by miriam » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:22 pm

There are wiki entries on most of these topics, neuropsy, so do check out the existing content on the forum.

As to the rest of your post, I think it is quite unrealistic to expect a clinical psychology training course to train candidates about British culture, the structure of British services, and the nature of the NHS. The NHS is funding these training places, and it is not unreasonable to expect those who attend them to have lived and worked in the UK long enough to know how things work here, and to select those who intend to continue to live and work in the UK after qualification. That's a criteria applied equally to every applicant.
Miriam

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neuroPsy
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by neuroPsy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:19 pm

I'm sorry Miriam,
from what you're saying it looks like that the doctoral programme prefers uk candidates. This information is clearly not stated anywhere, there is no mention at all about the criteria of being familiar with the British culture and NHS, or being British only. Do you have any official reference? Otherwise it looks like an info from someone with inside knowledge.

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by Geishawife » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:29 pm

neuroPsy wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:19 pm
I'm sorry Miriam,
from what you're saying it looks like that the doctoral programme prefers uk candidates. This information is clearly not stated anywhere, there is no mention at all about the criteria of being familiar with the British culture and NHS, or being British only. Do you have any official reference? Otherwise it looks like an info from someone with inside knowledge.
This is absolutely not the case. My cohort had people from the UK, the USA, Italy and Gibraltar! What we all had in common was knowledge of the UK health sytem and how it operated. You do not need to be British to be able to develop this understanding, but you DO need to have had some exposure to and gained familiarity with the NHS. The best means of developing this is to work within it. I think you are completely mis-understanding Miriam's comments. She never mentioned preference for UK candidates, simply a preference for people who understand the NHS and would be committed to giving something back to it after training.

neuroPsy
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by neuroPsy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:39 pm

Again, is there an official reference clearly stating that you must have some exposure to and gained familiarity with the NHS?

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by Geishawife » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:47 pm

Direct quote from the Clearing House:

International experience
It is a good idea to have experience of how services operate in the UK if you are applying for NHS places. (People currently training as clinical psychologists are employed by the NHS.

Taken from the "International Students" section of the Clearing House website.

Siogamue
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by Siogamue » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:06 pm

Hi neuroPsy!

Thank you for sharing your experience thus far and reaching out to the community for advice. I completely understand your reluctance to apply before fully vetting the process because the application can be stressful and indeed takes a long time (I think for me, it was 8 months from application hand-in to my final decision).

I think that different universities look for different criteria to be honest, and the best thing to do is to trawl through their individual sites to get a feel for their ethos!

I have very little NHS experience (not through lack of trying but AP posts are arguably more competitive in some areas than the course!) but was successful on a course where diversity of experience and background were valued highly. The courses that hold the shortlisting tests are the best to go for I think if your experience is not as strong as research or vice versa. Most of these allow you to take the exam if you reach their minimum criteria (high degree classification, BPS accredited degree, at least 1 year of relevant experience, satisfactory references etc.) and they will generally interview the highest scorers.

Alternatively, there are some degree courses that seem to place a higher emphasis on research over vast amounts of direct AP experience (looking at experiences of successful candidates on the Manchester course for example, many completed PhDs a couple of years ago - but this may be coincidence).

There are also some courses like the Liverpool one however, that explicitly state that NHS experience is preferable - meaning that they likely have a few points scored in their criteria for this and because many courses use a points system, not having experience would put you at a disadvantage here.

I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.

I do hope this all makes sense?

All the best for whatever you decide to do :)

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by miriam » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:15 am

neuroPsy wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:19 pm
I'm sorry Miriam,
from what you're saying it looks like that the doctoral programme prefers uk candidates. This information is clearly not stated anywhere, there is no mention at all about the criteria of being familiar with the British culture and NHS, or being British only. Do you have any official reference? Otherwise it looks like an info from someone with inside knowledge.
neuroPsy wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:39 pm
Again, is there an official reference clearly stating that you must have some exposure to and gained familiarity with the NHS?
The courses are funded by the NHS! Of course they want people who have a commitment to stay and work in the NHS and are familiar with how British services work. This should not be a surprise to you. I wouldn't expect to turn up in the USA and train to work at doctoral level there without any local experience!

And the information is absolutely clearly stated. Just read the very first section of the clearing house information about experience:
Relevant experience
You should gain some relevant clinically-related experience before applying for clinical psychology courses. This helps to establish that you know what you are applying for, what clinical psychologists do, the settings they work in, and the clients they work with. It also gives you the opportunity to work in the field before committing to a career in clinical psychology, and to gain an idea of what work with clients actually involves.
It is a good idea to have experience of how services operate in the UK if you are applying for NHS places. (People currently training as clinical psychologists are employed by the NHS). So, for applications for NHS places, experience from other countries should preferably be supplemented by experience in the UK.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by HWoody » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:46 am

I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.
I found your reply useful Siogamue even though I'm not applying internationally, as I live in the UK.

I was interested in the above about being local (presumably working/living locally) to the university you're applying to going in your favour for some universities.

Do you know whether it is possible (and if so how) to find out which universities favour local applicants? Do they just mention it on their website if they do? It's not something I've come across so it's possible the universities I've considered do not have a preference for local applicants.

Thanks for your help :-)
Woody

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by ell » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:13 am

Siogamue wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:06 pm

I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.
Can I ask if you have specific knowledge of courses doing this, or if this is something from the rumour mill?

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by Ekorn » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:11 pm

ell wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:13 am
Siogamue wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:06 pm

I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.
Can I ask if you have specific knowledge of courses doing this, or if this is something from the rumour mill?

I came across this on the clearing house page for University of Hertfordshire.
"Candidates must have a commitment to working in the NHS, ideally within the local regions of Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. It is important that those who accept places on the course are prepared to travel to placements, which are sited across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex."

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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by ell » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:41 pm

Ekorn wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:11 pm
ell wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:13 am
Siogamue wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:06 pm

I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.
Can I ask if you have specific knowledge of courses doing this, or if this is something from the rumour mill?

I came across this on the clearing house page for University of Hertfordshire.
"Candidates must have a commitment to working in the NHS, ideally within the local regions of Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. It is important that those who accept places on the course are prepared to travel to placements, which are sited across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex."
This is saying they expect people to live close enough to the course centre and placement locations while they are employed as trainees on that course, which is a fair enough request. It's also asking for commitment to the NHS after training, and ideally to the trusts who paid the thousands to train you. But there is no contract for this (which is better than a fair few of the PWP training contracts). To say that those who live in the area are favoured over those that don't is a bit of a logical jump.

The reason I'm picking at this one is that there are a lot of rumours that don't help those who are applying for training, and I wouldn't want people to have unnecessary worries about where they live being taken into account. I'm happy to be corrected though, if anyone has seen any shortlisting criteria that state those in the area get extra points.

Siogamue
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Re: Should I apply for the next intake - Part II

Post by Siogamue » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:21 pm

Hi Woody,

I went to a pre-qualification group information day (for DClin applicantions advice) where A number of university screening staffs spoke about their process. Leicester stated that they allocate a small amount of points for living in the local area for the purpose stated above. Although we were made aware that more universities were doing this, we weren’t told how many or which ones. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of a stir in the room - we were reassured hat the points allocated were minimal but did help the university decide between candidates with very similar experience.

HWoody wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:46 am
I think there is a debate on the whole “close to base” issue as some courses give points for being local to the area, putting applicants who live further away at a disadvantage. With the current funding issues and experience of the types of areas with difficulty employing a rounded psychological workforce, I do understand why some courses are doing this - people from the area are likely to stay there and work for the local NHS, rather than those from further afield, who after receiving that area’s funding to train, are more likely to return to where they are originally from to work at higher levels for the remainder of their working lives, leaving said areas with substandard levels of staffing.
I found your reply useful Siogamue even though I'm not applying internationally, as I live in the UK.

I was interested in the above about being local (presumably working/living locally) to the university you're applying to going in your favour for some universities.

Do you know whether it is possible (and if so how) to find out which universities favour local applicants? Do they just mention it on their website if they do? It's not something I've come across so it's possible the universities I've considered do not have a preference for local applicants.

Thanks for your help :-)
Woody

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