Guest blogger Written by

Milla Rasanen (Sweden)

I am Milla Räsänen from Sweden studying MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology. I’ve been on work placement at the stroke rehab ward in Poole hospital since October 2017.

On my course, the university arranges placements for us. But of course, if there’s a specific place where you want to do your placement, you’re welcome to arrange it yourself. We had to rank the placements organised by the university in order of our preference and I was lucky enough to get my first choice. My placement gives me plenty of work experience, but it does mean I have to plan my studies very carefully and factor in the one day I’m unable to be at the university due to placement

My placement routine

I am on placement one day a week. All of the patients on the ward have had strokes recently and some of them are very poorly. On the ward I administer neuropsychological tests to the patients. Sometimes these are baseline tests when new patients arrive and we need to determine the level of their cognitive function. Other times I administer more complicated tests to high functioning patients. This allows me to learn about a huge variety of different testing methods. I also score and interpret the test results and then write a report based on the results. This is very independent work, but my placement supervisor is always around in case I have questions.

Learning from my placement

The ward is a great place to learn how to interact with patients and how to choose tests that are appropriate for each patient. It also makes the placement challenging because it can be emotionally difficult to work with very ill patients. However, the placement is a great opportunity to learn to deal with these difficult situations under the supervision of an experienced clinician. I have learnt numerous skills, including how to build a rapport with patients. The placement has been a great way of putting into practice the theoretical knowledge from my studies. I am supervised by a clinical neuropsychologist, which is a great benefit if you want to apply for a clinical doctorate.

Helping patients get better is very rewarding

Originally my placement was supposed to end in June, but I’ve enjoyed it so much, that I asked my placement supervisor if I could extend the placement and I am planning on staying until the end of August. The best part about the work I do on placement is getting to help the patients. Witnessing a patient improving their skills and getting better is a great feeling.

I think placements are a great way to learn practical skills that will give you an advantage when looking for jobs and I highly recommend doing a work placement if you have the opportunity.

Milla Räsänen, Sweden, MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology, 2017/18