Psychology Simulation Program and New Strathfield Clinic and Clinical program
Psychology Simulation Program
In 2015, the School of Psychology will be introducing simulated training methodologies to enhance the learning experience of postgraduate students studying at ACU. In health care settings, simulations allow students and workers to learn by practicing skills they have been taught before interacting with actual clients. It has the potential to help individuals and teams reduce errors and improve patient safety. While simulation-based activities are now widely used in the training of healthcare professionals from many disciplines, it is less commonly used in the field of psychology.
With the support of a FHS Teaching and Development grant, the School of Psychology has designed a six-module psychology-specific simulation training program. The program will be implemented across ACU Psychology Clinics. The clinics offer affordable mental health care to members of the public and are staffed by fifth year students who are typically completing the first of their practicum requirements. Often this placement is the student’s first experience of working with clients, and it consequently produces considerable levels of anxiety. Introducing a simulation-based training program that is completed prior to undertaking client work will provide an opportunity for students to integrate theory and practice by building on the knowledge developed in course work and providing an opportunity for them to reflect on their practice in a supportive environment.
The program has been developed in a case based format, which leads students through a range of clinical tasks associated with client work. For example, each student will be allocated a ‘client’ who they will then need to see for an initial interview, an assessment session, and a feedback session, and they will also need to produce a psychological report. At each step of the program, the students will be using the clinic processes such as the online booking system, therapy rooms and electronic record keeping system so that they will be familiar with all clinic procedures in anticipation of working with members of the public. Ultimately the introduction of the simulation training program will ensure that the practicum unit completed by postgraduate psychology students becomes more efficient and effective in preparing students to enter the profession. It will also ensure that ACU clinics continue to offer the highest quality assessment and intervention services to our clients.
Strathfield Clinic and Clinical program
The Master of Psychology (Clinical) course at the Strathfield campus accepted its first cohort of students this year. The School of Psychology already has well established Master of Psychology courses on the Brisbane and Melbourne campuses, and the commencement of the Strathfield course will help to meet the high demand for quality clinical psychology training programs in NSW. To accommodate practicum requirements in the course, the newly refurbished Mary Aikenhead Psychology and Counselling Clinic at the Strathfield campus was blessed and opened on 26th November 2014. The clinic will play an important role in providing psychological assessment and intervention services to the community and serve as a training ground for new masters students.