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Hostel Support Worker
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

In order to continue my academic career at University, I am required to gain over 600 hours of care experience. The opportunity of completing a funded placement enabled me to earn money whist gaining experience within a varied care environment.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through family or friends

Application process

The application process was fairly straight forward. I sourced my placement myself. A friend who have previously completed work experience for St Anne's recommended it to me . I met with the managers and spoke about what experience i could gain, I completed an application form which was approved.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

Homelessness is a growing problem despite the governments pledges to tackle the crisis, having personal experience of people I know dealing with the devastating events around homelessness and living in hostels, I understand the importance of the availability of sheltered housing and the support and guidance provided by them. Having good network of support myself I recognise the importance of the local community and would like the opportunity to give something back. The organisation helps homeless men who often have more complex needs such as substance misuse, mental health issues and other health complications. The opportunity to work alongside health professionals in this setting was another basis for choosing this placement.

Main responsibilities

As part of my placement I carried out many administration and clerical duties. I answered the telephone and dealt with incoming queries, in carrying out these duties, I gained a deeper insight of how the hostel was ran, how service users accessed St Anne's and what other help was available to service users.

Typical day

Everyday at St Anne's was different, however some activities were the same. Each day I would carry out important building checks, to check there was no damage to the building, the building and all service users were safe and present and well and that no illegal activities were taking place. Each day new applications would be made for possible service users, I was expected to read through the applications and circumstances regarding the possible client and access if he was suitable for the setting, giving my opinion and explaining the reasons why, using the knowledge I had gained through accessing the current clients files and the information I had learnt from the support workers.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

During my placement I was given the opportunity to observe service user/support worker appointments, I was able to join in meetings and form a support worker/client relationship, which gave me a sense of being able to help and make a difference. I enjoyed shadowing the substance misuse worker and being involved in the weekly G.P surgery. These opportunities gave me more of an idea of the complex health of service users and medications prescribed.

Challenging aspects

There are many challenging aspects of working within a hostel for homeless men. Substance misuse was rife and with that there was some episodes of threatening behaviour, luckily this was not directed at me. Although usually service user treated members of staff with respect, sometimes giving warnings for behavour or rent arrears would be challenging,

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I think the main skills I have taken from completing my first year at university and my course is to be inquisitive, open minded, non discriminatory and to recognise inequalities in health. It has given me the desire to learn and be educated.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

I am still undecided on my future career however mental health and substance misuse are something I am interested in learning more about. The placement did make me realise that a career patient facing would suit my personality and previous customer service experience.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

I aim to gain as much varied care experience as I can in year 2 and 3, to give me a better idea of which post graduate degree to continue my academic career with.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

I would recommend a work based placement and would advice students to take part in placement schemes to help them gain relevant experience and gain confidence. I would advice to aim for diverse placements as its something you may not get the chance to take part in after graduation.

Form completed: 29 Aug 2019

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