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What makes the Postgraduate Certificate and the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner in Specialist Adult Mental Health at Worcester special?

These Programmes are designed to equip students with the clinical competence to work in specified NHS mental health positions. The programmes will prepare Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioners (MHWPs) to work alongside multi-disciplinary team members to co-ordinate care, supporting collaborative decision-making about care and treatment. MHWPs will also be enabled to deliver a set of wellbeing-focused psychologically-informed interventions, aligned to cognitive-behavioural principles, based on the best evidence available, that address problems often experienced by people with severe mental health problems.

Through the completion of a programme, MHWPs will be empowered to work collaboratively with carers and families as appropriate to enable connectedness and informal support. The programme will further enable MHWPs to share decision-making and deliver interventions that are underpinned by generic therapeutic competencies within the NICE-recommended interventions for severe mental health problems. These programmes has been co-produced with NHS mental health services and service users across the Midlands and follows a nationally agreed curriculum and assessment strategy set out by Health Education England. 

Overview

Overview

Key Features

These courses seeks to enable practitioners to:

  • Demonstrate the clinical and professional competencies required to practice as Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioners within the NHS
  • Develop the core clinical competencies required to engage with and support people experiencing severe and enduring mental health difficulties
  • Apply clinical competencies in identifying appropriate goals, care planning and coordinating care in collaboration with people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties, their carers/family/partners and other multi-disciplinary team members
  • Be proficient in delivering psychologically-informed interventions based on the best available research evidence to improve psychological well-being in collaboration with people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties
  • Contribute to a culture of providing person-centred, recovery-oriented, trauma informed, and evidence-based psychological care in close collaboration with service users, their carers/family/partners and other mental health professionals within the NHS
  • Reduce inequity of access and outcome among those from minoritised groups accessing mental health services
  • Seek to eliminate all forms of discrimination from the experience of the mental health service users and staff
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry Requirements

A typical applicant will be able to demonstrate:

  • For PgCert Entry: Achievement of a degree at 2:2 or above in a relevant discipline
  • For GradCert Entry: Evidence of recent successful study at Level 5
  • Sufficient numeracy and literacy to meet the requirements of the course, for example Maths and English at Grade 4 and above. University of Worcester GCSE Maths and English equivalency tests will be accepted. See Admissions Policy for other acceptable qualifications.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency and must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, IELTS level 7.0 with no element below 6.5.
  • A strong interest and understanding of the breadth of the values, role and the skills required to be a Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner.
  • An offer of employment as a Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner in an NHS mental health service.

Further Entry Requirements

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requirements

Applicants will need to have completed DBS clearance through their employing organisation. The employer will be asked to provide evidence of the applicants DBS certificate number. 

 Interview

Applicants will be invited to a values-based selection event facilitated jointly by the employing NHS Trust and a member of the course team. This involves a series of activities and an interview facilitated by the academic team, practitioners/ employers, and service users, allowing applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and values, numeracy and literacy skills, and a commitment to succeeding on the programme.  

The University aims to provide fair and equal access to education for all those who have the potential to succeed or benefit from it. The Postgraduate Certificate and Graduate Certificate: Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner are only open to applicants who are already employed, or who have an offer of employment within mental health services as a Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner. This will include those who are experienced in working alongside service users with severe mental health problems, families, carers, and multi-disciplinary team members and those new to this area of practice who wish to increase their learning to a more advanced level and who wish to engage further with mental health and wellbeing through research and wider understanding of the issues involved.   

These programmes are not open to international students and those not in employment with the NHS in a Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner role. Applications are initially screened jointly by UW staff and employing NHS Trust colleagues to the below academic, experience and values-based criteria. Shortlisted applicants are invited to a joint interview to assess academic, clinical and values-based suitability involving academic and administrative staff from the University of Worcester and practice partners from the employing NHS Trust.

Course content

What will you study?

Mandatory Modules

  • MHWP4101 - Engaging and assessing people with severe mental health problems
  • MHWP4102 - Care planning in partnership
  • MHWP4103 - Wellbeing-focused psychologically-informed interventions for severe mental health problems
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching

Students are taught through a combination of online teaching days, on campus clinical simulation skills days, enhanced work-based learning days and guided study time. Online teaching days will include a blend of ‘live’ or synchronous lectures and group-based working alongside documents or recorded videos (asynchronous) guiding the students for their independent study. The on-campus clinical simulation skills days involve live clinical practice and feedback from tutors to facilitate clinical competence development.

In addition, students will have a minimum of four meetings with their Personal Academic Tutors, timed to coincide with key points such as induction or assessment, which enables on-going monitoring of competency development and attainment of the required clinical and supervisory hours.

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip them for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support from Student Services and Library Services, and also the Personal Academic Tutoring system enables students to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will help them to flourish and be successful.

 

Contact time

Before the course formally begins, a one-day university induction will be provided and the NHS employer will also provide a trust induction if required. Taught content takes place over two 12-week semesters with the remaining time being spent in clinical practice, supervision, and completing assessments.

The first module provides the students with the basic skills and knowledge to begin clinical practice. This module will therefore be block taught for three days per week for the first three weeks, including six online teaching days and three on campus clinical simulation skills days. The second and third modules will then commence, with a typical week including one day of online teaching and four days of employment. Every fourth week, two days will be spent in on campus clinical simulation skills days to provide an intensive experiential learning experience. Tutor support for assessments will be ongoing.

Work based learning

Student learning also takes place predominantly in their employing organisation, where students engage in practice-based learning, such as role plays, observing live clinical sessions and conducting assessments and interventions under supervision. This involves clinical skill development, practice and feedback.

Students spend three to four days each week in their place of employment (depending on the balance of their teaching) in an NHS adult mental health service, working under supervision to conduct case assessment and formulation as well as delivery of psychologically informed wellbeing interventions. Supervision lasts for the full 12 months of the course and will consist of weekly case-based supervision to ensure patient safety, as well as fortnightly skills supervision from an NHS-employed Practitioner Psychologist or British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies-accredited practitioner in the service. Students are employed within the NHS service and remain there for the duration of their programme. The Placement Support Team co-ordinate and manage the work-based learning. Enhanced work-based learning days, typically half a day per week, take place in clinical practice and provide opportunities to consolidate learning, reflect on experience, and engage in inter-professional learning opportunities with support to promote inclusive learning in the practice setting.

All NHS-based clinical supervisors will undergo bespoke training via a Continuing Professional Development workshop delivered by University of Worcester course tutors. Supervisors will then meet with course staff on a quarterly basis to ensure a consistent alignment between course delivery, work-based learning activities and assessments. Student competency development will be monitored by the Personal Academic Tutor in close liaison with their NHS-based clinical supervisor.

In order to pass the programme, a minimum of 80 clinical contact hours must be completed in their NHS employment, of which 40 clinical hours must have involved the delivery of the specified psychologically-informed interventions. Students must also demonstrate a minimum of 40 supervision hours (including 20 hours of case management supervision and 20 hours of clinical skills supervision) in order to pass the course. This requirement forms part of the final assessment for the course in module MHWP4103.

 

Clinical Supervision

Regular support for students on this course comes from the two forms of supervision which occur on placement every week. The programme benefits from close working relationships with all of the involved NHS Trusts and supervisors. All NHS supervisors will have completed MHWP Supervisor Training with the University of Worcester and will therefore have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to ensure that students have a coherent and positive learning experience across teaching and practice. There is a named co-ordinator for placements within the UW course who has a background in clinical practice and University lecturing, to ensure that students are supported from both sides, and all placements involve clear contracting with the student and supervisor around expectations to ensure transparency. The placement co-ordinator meets regularly with placement supervisors and students to review progress and the placement experience.

There is a clear process in place for students to raise any supervision concerns with the course team. All students will have an allocated NHS-based case supervisor, who will be a suitably qualified mental health practitioner working within their placement. They will meet with the student weekly to review their entire caseload, discuss risk, support skill development and discuss care planning. Every fortnight every student will also have fortnightly individual or group supervision with a qualified Clinical/Counselling Psychologists or British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies registered therapist, which involves ongoing formative activities around clinical competence development (e.g. role plays, feedback on recordings of actual sessions, observing supervisor and being observed in practice, theoretical discussions). Supervisors will also provide pastoral support and signposting where helpful. By having support from both the University and the NHS, students will have access to a  range of support services, such as Occupational Health within the NHS including counselling services, physiotherapy and health assessments. Additional support is available for students from the wider University for the duration of their studies with the Firstpoint services.

Independent Study

It will be an expectation for employing NHS trusts to provide half a day per week in employment as study time for students to engage in reading, self reflection on practice, seek tutorial support, work on assessments and course documentation. Independent study is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching Staff

Students will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes Lecturers and Senior Lecturers in Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and where appropriate from a range of associated practice backgrounds including Clinical Psychologists working in the NHS, people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and multi-disciplinary NHS mental health staff. Teaching is informed by research and practice, and all of the lecturers on the course have or are working towards a higher education teaching qualification, or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Assessments

The assessment strategy for this course is specified by Health Education England requirements. Students complete two assessments per module, which are closely aligned to the knowledge- and competency-based learning outcomes for the programme, with a final additional Practice Outcomes Portfolio signifying demonstration of competence. All assessments are graded as pass/fail using adapted versions of the University of Worcester Level 6 Grade Descriptors and the University of Worcester Level 7 Grade Descriptors as checklists or HEE-dictated competence assessment scales. Three of the assignments are reflective and case study-based essays, within which students demonstrate their theoretical knowledge from the learning activities and practice-based learning in the context of specific cases. Further assessments include a formally assessed role play and a recording of an intervention session. These are assessed using standardised practitioner-competence assessment tools, during which students are required to demonstrate procedural clinical competencies in undertaking set clinical activities. The portfolio assessment directly assesses completion of the required competencies and supervision hours during their NHS employment via a clinical logbook and supervisor report.

Formative assessments provide early opportunities for demonstration and development of learning, and form part of the curriculum for each module, such as reviews of early drafts of reflective essays, course tutor monitoring of logbook progress, and the opportunity to engage in formative role play of clinical techniques with the NHS-based clinical supervisor.

Assessments:

Role Play

Reflective Essay

Case Report x 2

Portfolio of Collaborative Care Plans

Assessed Recording of An Intervention Session

Practice Outcomes Portfolio

Programme Specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the PG Cert  or the the latest programme specification document for the Graduate Certificate.

Careers

Where could it take you?

Students on this course are employed within the NHS at Agenda for Change Band 4 for the duration of the programme, and upon completion are guaranteed a position at Agenda for Change to Band 5 as a Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner within their employing organisation service.

All graduates of the programme are guaranteed paid employment within the NHS as a Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner, in the service in which they were on placement. Graduates of the programme can develop in these roles further, such as becoming a supervisor, lecturer and team leader. Graduates may also pursue further training in relevant professions such as Clinical Psychology or as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.

This course provides a clear employment route and subsequent progression opportunities into an NHS career. It achieves this through the close relationship it holds with NHS colleagues and modern practice trends through the on-going provision of the work-based learning placement and associated activities.

Costs

How much will it cost?

This is a funded course and applications are limited to people who are offered a position of employment as a Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner in an associated NHS Trust. This is a full-time, salaried position during which students undertake this course.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Admissions/selection criteria

Applicants for this course apply for advertised Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner job vacancies in the NHS (via NHS Jobs or similar websites), which is an application for the job role and for a place on the course.

 

Applications directly to the University for this course are not possible as the programme is only available to those with an offer of employment as a Trainee Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner. As well as meeting academic entry requirements for this course, all applicants must have a broad understanding of the role of the Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner and demonstrate their ability to meet the requirements for study at Level 6 or Level 7 depending on prior academic experiences.

Get in touch

Dr Alastair Pipkin

Joint Course Leader

Joanne Augustus

Joint Course Leader