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Launch of HSE-SECH UCD Trainee Psychologist Initiative

Launch of HSE-SECH UCD National Trainee Psychologist Initiative

Posted 19 February, 2024

HSE UCD Launch 2

HSE UCD Launch Photo

Pictured in the Springhill Hotel, Kilkenny at the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s official launch of its Trainee Psychologist Initiative between SECH and University College Dublin (UCD) were (from left to right): Dr Joyce Senior (Director, Doctorate in Educational Psychology, UCD), Dr Tom Pender (Principal Psychologist Manager, HSE/SECH Waterford), Sarah O’ Flanagan (Placement Co-ordinator, D.Ed.Psych. UCD), Prof. Gary O’ Reilly (Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, UCD) and Keith Cregan (Psychologist in Clinical Training, UCD).

In early 2023, each HSE region through their Chief Officer committed to a national increase in Psychology Trainees of 74% by September 2025, starting from September 2023. Following the launch of the National Trainee Psychologist Initiative and through collaboration with the UCD Educational Psychology Doctoral Programme, the HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH) will fund 15 additional trainees over the coming five years. Five newly SECH funded trainees commenced in September 2023 and UCD and SECH are currently working to select the next five trainees for September 2024. As part of this, all funded trainees have a HSE contract and the HSE also funds a large portion of the trainee’s university fees. SECH, in close collaboration with UCD, also provide a coordinated approach to the trainees’ placements that reflect each trainee’s individual learning needs as they evolve across the three-year programme. The result of this collaboration is highly qualified and highly skilled Psychologists ready to work in the HSE once their training is complete.

Welcoming attendees to the launch in Kilkenny, Dr Tom Pender (Principal Psychologist Manager, HSE/SECH Waterford) said: “This impressive achievement would not have been possible without the support of the HSE’s Psychology management nationally, the Psychology courses in UCD, and a decisive and committed management team here in HSE/South East Community Healthcare. Both of our most recent Chief Officers Kate Killeen White and Grace Rothwell were great supporters and ensured the Memorandum of Understanding with both UCD courses were in place. These documents detail the exact workings of SECH’s collaboration with UCD and firmly commit SECH to the UCD Psychology Training Programmes in the longer term.”

Commenting on the National Psychologist Initiative, Dr Joyce Senior (Doctorate in Educational Psychology Programme Director) said, “The launch of the HSE-SECH National Trainee Psychologist Initiative with the School of Education marks the culmination of very positive and fruitful discussions over the past year. As a School we are very pleased to be able to respond to the national shortage of psychologists and contribute to the target of a 74% increase in Psychology Trainees by September 2025. The funding marks not only financial equity but increased access and equality and diversity among the profession which aligns with our programme ethos. While it is an important partnership in terms of funding, it more importantly strengthens existing collaboration in relation to professional training and facilitates increased opportunities for strategic research alliance.”

The launch in Kilkenny also provided an opportunity for a Psychology Research Day where through a variety of poster presentations and a number of presentations, SECH Psychology services shared their research achievements across a wide range of research topics, demonstrating the importance of using research to inform clinical practice.

School of Education

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