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Excellent report

In regards to the fourth requirement, I have some experience in project
management. When I mentored at Dominican College I managed class charity events
like the Barnardo’s Children’s Toy Appeal. To raise money for these events I
had to plan fundraisers. If the fundraiser was a bake sale, for example, I
would have to organise which students would bring in baked goods, who would
sell them, who would make posters to raise awareness etc. This involved setting
deadlines/goals, making sure they were met, designating work to students based
on their strengths etc. However, I have never managed a project in a
professional setting so I may need to address this area further-perhaps I could
do so by looking for placement experiences in project management.

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In regards to the third essential requirement, all the work I have done
whilst studying has been computer based in some way or another so my IT skills
are good. I have used a number of Microsoft programmes over the past number of
years, including word. I am also comfortable with SPSS as this programme is
used often in my degree. I am knowledgeable in a number of search engines, the
internet being the most basic of these, thus using it as a research tool should
cause no concern.

The next requirement listed is having 2 years’ experience of working in
evaluation, research or needs assessment. My degree is situated in a research
setting and this is an area I am interested in, however, I don’t actually have
legitimate work experience in this area. If I wanted to pursue this position I
would have to go about closing this gap and get a job in this area firstly.

I would meet the first necessity listed as the degree I am studying,
psychology, has a major research methods component.


Cancer are not currently recruiting, and have not advertised any graduate level
positions in the past year and a half. For this reason, I choose to look at the
most recent job advert for the research and evaluation department and compare
how my skills aligned as I felt this would be most up-to-date and relevant to
my placement.

2.       The skills necessary to get a job in the organisation

Health Benefit Model was developed in the 50s by Hochbaum, Rosenstock, and
Kegels, social psychologists, working in the United States Public Health
Services and to understand why a free tuberculosis screening programme had
failed. In short, the HBM says a person will take a health-related action if
they feel they can avoid an adverse health condition by doing so, thinks the
recommended action will be successful in avoiding a negative health condition
and is confident they can take the recommended action. The star model approach
to the intervention tried and achieve these feelings in participants by making
the programme seem realistic and do-able.

intervention framework was based around the Star Model. For the situation
aspect where participants were getting background or context to the situation
they were told about the prevalence of cancer, the costs of cancer, their risk
level and the impact changing their current diet, weight and physical activity
would have on reducing their risk. The task aspect outlined the exact changes
participants would need to make in their situation, in terms diet and physical
activity. Action was the steps participants actually took for example cutting
out sugary treats, exercising for half an hour each day. Action varied from
participant to participant and these were the measures recorded. Result was
what happened as a result of participants actions this was weight loss,
decreased risk of cancer etc. the thought behind using this model to guide the
intervention was get participants not to solely think about the result (losing
weight) but the steps required to do this and the reason they were doing this
(situation- i.e. breast cancer risk) so the end goal would be more attainable
and participants would have a reason to preserve and motivate themselves with
when the intervention challenged them.

I was discussing the intervention with Caroline she told me she was really
inspired by the Star Model When creating the programme. The Star Model is a
motivational theory and is typically used for job interviews but the idea of
applying it to health related behaviours was a really interesting new
interpretation and I thought this was important to look into. S.T.A.R. is an acronym
for situation, task, action, results. Situation is about setting the scene,
giving context and background to the situation, task is the exact duty required
by the situation, action (argued to be the most important part of the model) is
how you actually responded, and result is what happened as a consequence
(Galbraith, 2017).

Government statistics show breast cancer is the
most common type of cancer in women in Northern Ireland. Approximately 1,200
women are diagnosed with breast cancer in NI each year (nidirect, 2015). A
number of studies have shown a link between diet and physical activity and
increased risk of breast cancer. Most recently, Mehra, Berkowits, Sanft (2017)
found that following a healthy diet and recommended physical activity
guidelines was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. The Why
Weight? lifestyle change intervention is based around these findings.

Action Cancer specialises in breast cancer awareness,
prevention, detection, support and research. The Why
Weight? lifestyle change programme aimed to reduce the risk of breast cancer by
promoting sustained healthy lifestyles, reducing weight, and increasing
physical activity.

My data management skills were often used to carry out
these tasks as I was responsible for data handling and entering and checking
data. My statistical and analytical skills also were important as I had to be
able to examine and manipulate data in SPSS and identify and evaluate general
patterns to see what the data was saying. Computer skills were essential for
all of these tasks. Communication skills, both oral and written, also came into
play as I needed to communicate any difficulties that occurred and discuss any
uncertainties and talk through what I should do. My written communication
skills were also frequently used as I was writing up a report so had to be able
to communicate clearly and concisely, use good grammar, correct spelling and
proper punctuation in order for the report to be understandable. Being able to
follow instructions and fix mistakes were also essential in my placement as I
had to be able to respond to feedback and rework my report based on Caroline’s

While evaluating the report I was responsible for carrying
out data audits/ quality assurance checks, inputting data, analysing data,
literature reviewing and report writing. To do this I had to use some of the
skills I have from my degree.

1.       The psychological skills and knowledge that you were able
to apply

programme I evaluated was the Why Weight? lifestyle change programme. My report
and assessment would help determine the programme’s success and establish
whether it was a worthwhile use of funds.

Cancer list providing proven services that reduce risk, raise awareness, save
lives and support people affected by cancer and effectively managing resources as
two of their key principles (see strategic plan in appendix). To do this Action
Cancers research and evaluation department assess current programmes and
services to make sure they are useful. This was the role I undertook whilst doing
my placement at the Action Cancer research and evaluation department.

pressure is the main constraint on the organisation’s development. Action Cancer
is under pressure to self-fund (through donations) £3.5 million per year to
deliver their services. Action Cancer doesn’t receive government funding and
relies entirely on donations from the public. Because the organisation is
funded through donations it is important to make sure the money is being spent

Breast screening
can detect changes that might not be seen or felt during a breast examination
and is available at the Action Cancer House and on-board the Big Bus. Action
Cancer is the only charity in Europe to offer screening to women who fall
outside the NHS range of 50-70. Each screening costs Action Cancer £80 but they
make it available to the public for free. Action Cancer began screening women
for breast cancer in 1978 – this was the first-time breast screening was
introduced in Northern Ireland – and has provided breast screenings for 135,000
women since. Last year Action Cancer screened 10,787 women for breast cancer
and for every 1,000 screenings 6 women had their breast cancer detected (Action
Cancer, 2016).

Cancer place specialises in breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common
cancer in females: approximately 1,300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer
every year in Northern Ireland and roughly 340 of them will lose their lives to
it (breast cancer care, 2015). Regular screening and breast awareness are the
best ways to reduce these numbers.

During my
placement, I worked in the professional services sector, more specifically, in
research and evaluation. My placement mentor, Caroline Hughes, is a research
and evaluation officer and director of research and evaluation and health
promotions. I worked with Caroline and alongside the health promotions officers
and students in the health promotions department.


3.       Professional

2.       Corporate

1.       Fundraising
and Communications,

There is a total of 82 members of staff/students employed at Action
Cancer. The organisational chart I received during my induction in week two
detailed the organisations structure. Action Cancer is comprised of three broad


services are delivered through the Action Cancer House, where I was situated,
and on the Big Bus, which travels to over 200 locations in Northern Ireland each


Campaigning and lobbying on cancer-related
issues to develop legislation and policy in Northern Ireland e.g. the bowel
cancer screening campaign in 2006 and the no smoking in cars ban in 2010.

research into cancer

health promotion programmes

education and prevention programmes

information and advice on cancer, health, and
general wellbeing

peer mentoring

therapeutic services such as counselling,
coaching, and support groups

complementary therapies and pain relief

M.O.T. health checks for both men and women over

free mammograms (digital breast screenings that
detect early-stage breast cancer)

Some of
the services provided by Action Cancer are:

Cancer was founded in 1973 by oncologist, Dr George Edelstyn and is Northern
Irelands leading local, cancer charity. Their mission is saving lives and
supporting people and they do this through cancer awareness, prevention,
detection, and support. Every year Action Cancer helps save and support 50,000 people
across Northern Ireland through the delivery of their services.

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