Placement Advising Project: Service User and Carer Involvement

The programme has a Coordinator of Service User and Carer Involvement (Laura Lee, see Staff List|) and is committed to incorporating service user and carer perspectives into each component of training, including practice learning. For instance, a service user feedback form is required as part of the Evaluation of Clinical Competence for every annual stage of training.

For trainees on placement during their first year in Sussex Partnership Trust, an additional opportunity is available. This is the Placement Advising Project which is run jointly with the University of Surrey for trainees from both courses. Each trainee meets monthly with a service user or carer advisor from a local organisation. Topics for discussion include the trainee's work (excluding specific work with individual service users/carers) and professional development, and both parties' experiences of (working in or using) services. Advisors and trainees are both supported by programme staff to get the most out of the meetings, the aims of which are to facilitate the trainee's capacity to work in partnership and to understand the importance and contribution to the profession's knowledge base of perspectives and expertise derived from personal experience.

The placement advising project is a pilot project, but evaluation to date suggest that it is an important and valued contribution to clinical learning and personal and professional development. Two articles about the scheme are to be published in Clinical Psychology Forum. Part 1 – Getting started| describes the project, and Part 2 – Personal reflections on novel relationships| is written by trainees and gives a glimpse of their experiences of working with placement advisors. It is hoped that it will be possible to extend the involvement of service user and carer placement advisors in placements in other Trusts in the future.