Ryan Carter and Rameen Haq
University of Leeds placement students September 2021 – June 2022
Between my second and final year of my undergraduate degree, I undertook a placement at YQSR for 10 months as a Research and Implementation Assistant. It was refreshing to take some time out from my studies and experience the workplace setting, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to die down. My placement year at YQSR involved various skills that I built on and developed, and meeting some of the loveliest supervisors and colleagues that I learnt a lot from and hope to keep in contact with. The placement was an excellent opportunity to learn about the areas that current research is focusing on, including NHS staff and patients and introduction to healthcare interventions to improve patient safety. Getting to work alongside researchers with various backgrounds was a great way for me to learn how different people approach the research field.
My perception of patient safety has also been enriched, thanks to the numerous projects I worked on. For example, one project which I really enjoyed explored how the pandemic affected local underrepresented communities in Bradford, which found that culture and upbringing were major determinants in accessing healthcare services. Furthermore, in the Redeploy project Ryan and I worked on with Hannah and Alice, we found that occupational relationship dynamics and job training were important for nurses and nurse managers during redeployment in the beginning of lockdown, which had a domino effect on patient safety.
Another key moment was producing preliminary research for a new research theme opening at the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC. This involved collecting stories from Care Opinion about inpatient mental health service experiences and exploring important themes across the stories using thematic analysis. This was the largest piece of work Ryan and I conducted over placement, and was a privilege as I experienced what it was like to conduct health research independently (with supervision from Rebecca Lawton!), especially before embarking onto my final year dissertation project where I now feel more confident.
My time at YQSR wasn’t just a 9-5. About a month into placement, I attended a workshop where I networked with PhD students and other researchers from the PSTRC and heard about their ongoing projects. I also had the opportunity to attend the PSTRC’s joint symposium in June 2022, where I met researchers from other PSTRC branches and heard about their current or upcoming research areas. This was indeed a lovely way to conclude my placement and learn extensively about what I have been working for, for the past 10 months. My placement at YQSR was valuable and insightful. I put my skills and values to use in a research setting, allowing me to know my strengths and weaknesses as a current student. I enjoyed the placement not just for what I worked on, but also creating a network with credible people, and I hope that what I’ve learnt will be useful for any future roles I’ll take on.
I started working at YQSR with Rameen in September 2021 and formally finished in June 2022. The placement was part of our BSc Psychology (Industrial) degree. During the placement I developed an insight into how psychological research is practiced in the real world. This was my first time in a professional setting, and I couldn’t have felt more welcome. Before I launch into this blog, I would like to thank everyone at YQSR for establishing a warm and open environment. I felt included, my contributions valued, my strengths encouraged and fostered. It was lovely to share an office with Sobia, Lucy and Rameen and I cherish the conversations we had. Jane & Raabia I really appreciated our supervision meetings, it was nice to know you had our back.
On to the blog…
Rameen and I got to work with a lot of the team on numerous projects. Ranging from medication use in dementia to experiences of nurses during the COVID pandemic (a real eye opener). Here I would like to share two key experiences with you.
Experience 1: Rameen and I were involved in an independent project exploring the experiences of inpatient mental health patients. Our source of data was Care Opinion, an online source where anybody can share their experiences of health services. Here we were tasked with writing a qualitative report, that mirrored the process of research report writing. We collected data from care opinion, examined what data was relevant, and then began the process of analysing the data using thematic analysis. Throughout this project it became apparent to me that qualitative research has a real strength in attempting to capture the lived experiences of people, something I believe quantitative data fails to capture. I found the supervision really helpful, a perfect blend of guidance with trust of mine and Rameen’s skills and ability. It was daunting to deal with sensitive and challenging subjects, I found this project emotionally demanding, but I was allowed to share these emotions with my supervisor who encouraged me to write a reflexive diary. Overall, this experience developed my qualitative skills and provided me with some insight into the experiences of mental health inpatients.
Experience 2: I think this project was my favourite and was exploring how seldom heard communities looked after their health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project was extremely emotive and dealt with traumatic experiences of accessing health care services. It was a real insight into my privileged position as a white male, and a necessary insight into real lived experiences of barriers persons from seldom hear communities face in accessing health services. The team on this project were fantastic and extremely passionate about the issues presented. It was a real privilege to work on a project like this. Gemma, you really inspired me to practice reflexive thematic analysis, and I have chosen to use reflexive thematic analysis in my dissertation.
For me, my education at university has turned me away from academia, but the research done at YQSR has made me appreciate the value of research in making practical differences in health care. I would strongly recommend YQSR to psychology students. You get to see research applied in practice, and entering your final year you feel more confident for your dissertation (especially if you chose a qualitative project).