Corona Virus

As of the 18th of March 2020, I have been self-isolating as a result of the very contagious Corona Virus currently spreading across the world. The decision to self-isolate was very difficult as I was really looking forward to completing my 50 hours of work experience at the Sunflower Centre. I enjoyed the hours I did work and was excited to continue as I believe that the service that they offer is really important and beneficial to so many women. However, I am still recovering from surgery that I had at the end of February, that combined with my already weak immune system means that I was incredibly anxious about going outside and dealing with a lot of members of the public. I also needed to consider my loved ones as my partner has asthma so is high risk, and his nan is also very high risk, so I did not believe that it was the right thing for me to do to continue going to my work placement.
As I write this blog post, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has just ordered people that are not key workers to stay indoors so stop the spread of this virus. Therefore, even if i hadn’t made the decision to self-isolate, it would have been taken out of my hands very quickly.
I emailed my placement supervisor to inform her of the decision that I had made and she was incredibly understanding and told me that I had to make the right decision for myself and my loved ones. She has told me that the door is still open for me to return once this has all blown over.
I also voiced my anxiety, which has gotten incredibly bad as of late due to the current circumstances, to my Placement Tutor at Uni. I have been reassured that this will not affect my assessment and that because many of us are in the same boat that there will be measures put in place to make sure that everyone can complete this module to the best of their ability. This has helped calm me down somewhat, but I am still unsure of what is going to happen.

I have completed some of the paperwork but not all of it so that is worrying me also.

As of the 25th March, there has been an alternative assessment offered for those who do not feel that they have sufficient hours to complete the original assessment. I am completely unsure of which one to complete and will need to discuss it with my tutor over the coming days. Over email of course!


17th March

Since I wrote my blog post about my first day, I have been reflecting on my lack of knowledge and understanding of art as a therapy.
I have come to realise that I view therapy as a way of providing me or anyone who has therapy with a set of tools to help them cope and manage whatever is going on in their lives.
Art therapy is just another set of tools for people to use and viewing it this way makes me look at it in a completely different light and although I do not think I would benefit from Art therapy, I now understand why it is such a useful and important thing.
I am enjoying thinking about these different views and techniques that people have and being able to adapt my own way of thinking.

After My First Day

13th March 2020

I arrived at 9, as agreed upon in my initial meeting and induction – at first there was a lot of discussion about the Corona Virus outbreak currently happening – I was expecting this as businesses, employers and employees all need to be considering the actions to take that are best for everyone. If the government instructs closures of places then that is something that needs to be worked out. This was an interesting conversation for me to be able to be involved in as it gave me an insight into what businesses plan in these instances – if I had done my placement at another time without this problem going on around us, then I would not have been able to experience these discussions and different people’s thoughts on what should be done. Because of the service that Sunflower offer, there was a lot of factors that need to be taken into account so it was really interesting for me to hear so that if needs be, I can put the information I gathered into practice in the future. I was worried though at this point on how this virus will impact on my placement but until we have more understanding of the protocols being put in place, I just need to hope for the best.

I was able to meet with my supervisor and go over the last couple bits of paperwork that I needed to finish and also to quickly discuss again what I wanted to get out of the placement so that I can benefit from it the most – this was helpful as I was able to tell my supervisor my aims and objectives and we were able to come up with some initial ideas on how I could start working towards them.

I was also introduced to everyone and each of them explained their roles in the business – this was helpful as some of the employees who had roles more in line with what I am interested in told me that they were completely happy to speak to me if I had any questions or queries.

After the initial meeting in the morning, I was allowed to sit in on a drop-in session of Pebble Art – a arts therapy of sorts that is offered to any women that would like to drop in and paint a pebble. This was another really interesting experience for me – as completely uncreative as I am – I began to understand that it was not about doing the best art or anything like that – it was a place for women to go to have a distraction or just to talk and socialise with others. Painting pebbles – for whatever reasons – is very therapeutic and enjoyable. I enjoyed just being part of an environment where women felt comfortable talking about various different things – and to hear what people get out of art therapy and how it has helped them the more they do it. Because of my own personal experience, when I think of therapy, I think of talking therapies so that insight into other forms of therapy that people find more effective was brilliant for me. It was also an environment that allowed me straight away to start building my communication skills and my confidence in talking to people – as it was my first day for work experience, everyone was very interested in what I was doing, why I was doing it, my degree, what I wanted to get out of it and so forth, so I was able to engage in conversation with lots of different people about both them and me – which is one of my biggest aims for my placement.

On Friday Afternoons, there is a drop in sessions for new referrals to Sunflower – I started by shadowing another student who has been working there for about 5 months as she helped each new women with their referrals and working out which courses that Sunflower offer were best for them due to their experience. After being able to watch and shadow on a couple, I finally did one by myself – with the encouragement and reassurance from all the people in the office. It was rather nerve racking as there is quite a lot of information to give and I wanted to make sure I got everything right. I believe it went well – I did give slightly wrong information but my supervisor reassured me that it was totally okay and that it was only my first try and that I can just learn from it and move on. I took that on board and have tried not to worry about it obsessively, which is quite hard for me but I am trying. Again, this was another experience where I was able to work on my communication and confidence but I was really proud of myself at the end and the lady I was talking to could tell I was nervous and as she left, she told me that I did a great job.

After the drop-in session, I was able to ask the people that worked in the office about various things and questions that had arisen as I went through the day. – I learnt about a lot of the programmes that are offered, the processes and various steps that happen within their organisation and how some things are conducted within the larger area – not just the organisation but their place in the local area.

At the end of the day, I helped some of my colleagues carry supplies up the stairs which they were really appreciative of and that made me feel good about myself and was able to let me finish a good day with a good end.

Overall, it was a really good first day. Of course I was nervous but I completely threw myself into it as I believed that would be the best way for me to learn and make the most out of my placement. I am very pleased with how the day went, especially as I was able to complete a referral all by myself on the very first day.
The Corona Virus is a very black cloud hanging over us at the moment, and I am both anxious because I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want it to effect the centre and all the good it does for vulnerable people. But slightly glad as it will be give me extra knowledge on what the protocols are in these situations.
I hope my next day goes as well as my first one did and that each and every time I go in, my confidence and communication skills will just keep improving.

Total Hours on Placement: 7.5

Before My First Day

13 March 2020

It is my first day at Sunflower Women’s Centre today.

What I hope to achieve today:

  • I hope to meet the whole team that I will be working with during my placement and get to know them a bit better so that I know who each of them are and what each of them do within the Centre
  • I hope to gain a little more understanding of the opportunities that I am able to be part of during my placement
  • I hope to gain more details of what exactly the centre does and offers – I know some from my own research and my initial meetings with my supervisor but more time and the chance to talk to more of the people who work there will hopefully allow me to do so
  • I need to fill out some paperwork with my workplace supervisor and go over some bits that I will need as part of my assessment – this is so that I can keep on top of all the separate forms that need to be submitted at the end of my PYCD90 module

What I need to be mindful of:

  • The Centre is a place for vulnerable women (and their children) to seek support and therefore I need to be constantly mindful of that, not just on my first day but every time I enter the Centre
  • I also need to be mindful of the fact that confidentiality must be kept at all times and therefore, when reporting what I have learnt/done on my placement, I must not reveal any identifiable information or share any personal details anywhere but with the other staff members
  • I need to be mindful of all health and safety rules (especially as there are children in the building)

Other thoughts:

As it is my first day, I believe it will probably be mostly about learning the ropes – who is who, how things are done and therefore I just need to go in and be completely open and ready to learn, which I am, no matter how nervous I may be. I plan to keep in mind my reflection essay so that when it comes to writing it once I have completed my 50 hours, I am completely prepared with all the right information that is relevant.

Aims & Objectives

I have been offered a work placement at Sunflower Women’s Centre in Plymouth, which is a women’s only well being hub and provides for any women who needs help. They offer support in addressing and resolving substance abuse, childhood trauma, criminogenic behaviours, domestic violence or poor mental health (as stated on their website

My Overall Aim:

  • To gain experience and insight into an organisation that offers help and support to vulnerable people
  • To understand the various types of help and support that is offered in different situations

My Objectives:

  • To improve my communication skills with both colleagues and those that come into the Centre
  • To improve my self confidence – from being in a work environment and around colleagues who have the same career interests as I do
  • As identified in my preparation portfolio, managing conflict is a weakness of mine that I feel is very important in the career I would like and therefore my aim is to focus on how trained people do this so that I can work on my own skill
  • To gain knowledge about this career path – find out from the people that work there the good things and the bad things about this line of work.
  • I aim to find out what steps they had to take to be able to work as what they do (such as qualifications, courses etc)