An international student’s perspective on studying MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis

Rafaella Melo Sampaio

Find out about Rafaella Melo Sampaio’s experience of studying MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis at the IoPPN at Kings College London.

Rafaella Melo Sampaio

I am from Brazil. I came to London in September 2015 to start my MSc in Early Intervention in Psychosis. There were some differences that I needed to get used to, such as the tubes (London Underground). I got lost plenty of times! But as the months passed by, I came to love this place and I found plenty of support at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience from all the staff, as well the students on my course, which made this whole experience something to never be forgotten.

I chose King’s College London for its prestige, quality of work and teaching, location (I have family in London) and as it is associated with the Maudsley Hospital. King’s College London is a well-known institution that collaborates with prestigious institutions all over the world. I valued the combination of expertise of the lecturers, the reputation of the institution and the focus on my area of interest (psychosis).

Early Intervention involves detecting early symptoms of psychosis and addressing them promptly. Treatment is individualised and appropriate to the stage of the illness. I personally believe early intervention is crucial for preparing the patient and family for what could come and improving long-term clinical and functional outcomes.

As a full-time student, my course lasted one year and it was divided into four modules. For each of them we had a lecture coordinator experienced in the area. We also had to carry out a research project which culminated into a 10,000-word dissertation. My favourite module was Pharmacology because it built on my medical background and knowledge.

The structure of the course works well. I think that International students, due to the language barrier, should be paid close attention, such as with additional language support mandatory to all. I understand now that King’s offers some of these classes if you search on Skills Forge. Since the MSc is mainly a writing and development thinking course, these aspects are essential for the student’s performance.

The aspect I enjoyed most about the course was the opportunity to work in a mental health facility as part of our clinical placement. I learned a lot by observing patients and playing an active role in their clinical assessment; the clinical placement allowed me to put into practice the things addressed in class.

Enjoy your time on the MSc. Take into consideration the feedback about your work!!! The professors are here to help. Use all the King’s additional courses you can. The MSc passes by so fast.

After completing the MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis, I am now doing a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Paola Dazzan. The MSc helped me progress in my career as it familiarised me with the area and made it possible to meet important people in the field. It opened doors for me to work on small projects even if voluntarily and allowed me to continue my studies.

I would definitely recommend the MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis. I found it particularly interesting to learn how clinical decisions are made; to take part in group evaluations with consultants, care coordinators, carers and patients; and to participate in home visits and treatment compliance assessments. It was one of the best periods in my life as I learned tremendously, not only about pharmacological aspects of treatment but also psychological care.

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