29 April 2019
So, it’s the final semester of my final year studying Public Health and you know what that means? Time for the dreaded… DISSERTA…!
You thought I was going to say Dissertation right? Well, so was I but that’s not the case surprisingly. Let me explain…
So, for my cohort, the Dissertation element of final year was replaced with the Community Experience Module. Of course, we still study research techniques throughout the course, but this change of assessment means that the focus is on employability skills. Each student has to carry out a placement in any area of interest, within Public Health, for 12 weeks. Then for assessment, we have to create a Narrated Reflective Poster outlining our placement, how we sourced the placement, our individual organisation, relevant background on the identified public health issue and the policies in place that are already in line with the placement. We also have to write a 3,000-word report about the organisation/location & critically reflect and analyse its strengths and weaknesses.
Now, you might be wondering… is that all? There’s a bit more to it. We also have to write a 3,000-word reflection portfolio outlining individual current skills, how to develop them as well as any case studies observed during the community placement for another module – the Professional Skills for Public Health 3: The Responsive Practitioner alongside this one.
Is that it you may ask? I’m sure if you’re a final year student on another course reading this, chances are that you’re rolling your eyes right now. I’ve quite a few of my friends term this module, “a blessing in disguise”. But honestly, critically analysing and reflecting on situations is not as easy as it sounds.
Here’s what I think:
This module provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge practically as well as gain new skills which is great, especially as we are all now in the process of either starting a career, applying for a Masters etc.
I did my Community Placement at the British Red Cross, Essex. I started on Thursday 31st January 2019 and finished on Thursday 28th March, 2019 and I was able to source this opportunity through the process of networking.
My role for the placement was that of a Service Support Worker. I worked across 3 projects within Independent Living in Essex. Some of my daily tasks included: visiting service users on their arrival from hospital or after being referred by other services who have identified support required to their homes, helping with practical tasks like shopping, collecting prescription & light meal preparation e.g. making a cup of tea or coffee, linking the service user into local groups or transport services to promote independence and resilience, keeping someone company etc.
I came across various case studies that opened my eyes to some of the roles in the Public Health field as well as some of the challenges that a Public Health Professional can face. My placement experience was insightful, and it was interesting to observe and understand the importance of collaboration in health promotion and in effectively delivering healthcare services to meet the individual needs of service users.
Speaking to my other course mates also emphasised the broad nature of the field of Public Health. Some of my colleagues worked with a care provider like Provide. Some others worked in local county councils like the Luton County Council while others carried out their placement in social care services like the Health Watch. Others worked in their local clinics on health promotion programs.
With such exposure, I believe we were able to get hands on experience which was incredibly valuable for us. Overall, I liked this module because it gave me the opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge as well as gain a little insight into the working world in the field of Public Health.