June 16, 2016, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Over-prepare and then go with the flow!

Laura completed a placement in Public Health with Nottingham City Council and we asked her to tell us about her experiences.

Laura-Dunkley---For-blog-My placement was with the Public Health team at Nottingham City Council and one of the great things about it was that they allowed me to get involved in different things I was interested in, even if they weren’t directly related to my main project. So one piece of advice I’d give to future placement students is to have an idea of the kind of areas that you would ideally like to get involved in beforehand, whether it’s particular skills or a particular area, as the team will generally try to give you exposure to those if they can. At the same time though it’s important to be flexible depending on the projects that are actually going on at the time of the internship. So basically – over-prepare and then go with the flow!

[The placement] gave me more of a ‘genuine’ experience of working in public health

In my case, the original project to work on an 8 week stakeholder engagement project on substance misuse services couldn’t go ahead, but in many ways this turned into a positive outcome as it gave me the opportunity to become involved in a wider range of things and gain a broader understanding of the work that the public health team do. For example, I attended symposiums such as a Knife Crime Forum and ‘Addicted to Medicines’ meetings, and generally I learnt more about mental health, substance misuse, e-cigarettes, musculoskeletal services, physical impairment and addiction to medicines. I think it gave me more of a ‘genuine’ experience of working in public health – both because people work across multiple areas, and because projects and deadlines do sometimes change at short notice.

The background research and data collection I did during my placement culminated in me putting together a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) on musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions; which gave me a clear output to show from my placement despite the diversity of projects I was involved with. It also gave me an opportunity to put into practice some of the skills I learnt on my master’s course.

The team I was placed with were very friendly and helpful all the way through. They were always willing to explain the different aspects of their work to me and never made me feel like they were too busy to answer questions; even though I know they had a lot on! That welcoming attitude really allowed me to gain greater insight into the work that they do.

If you’re interested in doing a postgraduate placement visit our webpage for more information, or check out current opportunities at the Placements Portal.

Posted in Placements