Dermot Fitzsimons lives in Glasgow. After completing a BA Joint Hons degree in Russian and Psychology, Dermot went on to do an MRes, whilst also teaching Russian language to undergraduate students. On completion of the MRes, he began working at the BBC writing subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. He did this for eight years until he decided to apply for the MSc Speech and Language Therapy. 

Why did you decide to do the MSc?

I've had a deep personal and academic interest in language and linguistics for a long time; my move to the BBC allowed me to provide access to people with disabilities and it made me want to pursue both elements more deeply than that job would allow. I had had experience of social care and volunteering with the Children’s Panel and the volunteering experience I had shadowing SLTs at both the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow and a care home for army veterans led me to want to try something new and challenging, but also to use the skills I’d developed in a productive way.

Why did you choose QMU?

I investigated Speech and Language Therapy courses around the country and QMU’s two-year course was ideal, as I didn’t want to go back to undergraduate level to study.

How did you find the course?

The course was intensive, varied, rigorous and very enjoyable. It was hard work, but that’s to be expected. The staff were always happy to support you in any aspect of the course that you’re not sure about or need further work on. They are very flexible in terms of the method of teaching they provide - they’ve offered revision classes and are quick to respond when there’s an issue you need to discuss. I’d say the best part of the course was the placements, both clinical and non-clinical. Being able to start applying and amassing more knowledge and experience out in the community almost immediately is daunting at first but the therapists I met as a student were completely supportive and sympathetic to someone coming in to a new field. You learn so much on placement – it’s a really valuable and necessary aspect of the course.

 

 

"It's a comprehensive and well structured course taught by very skilled staff; it gives you a firm grounding for your first years in the job, whether you end up working with adults or children, in community or hospital settings."
Dermot Fitzsimons

What have you done since you graduated and has the course helped you?

 Since I graduated, I've had a lot of different role and experiences. I am now a paediatric community Speech and Language Therapist in Glasgow, working in an area of high social deprivation. On top of this, I'm in the final stages of writing up my PhD research project examining gain young offenders' views of their own language and communication abilities. I am also a member of the Justice (Scotland) Clinical Excellence Network and am working with colleagues in the RCSLT on a Scottish Government funded project to improve outcomes for vulnerable witnesses in the Scottish Justice system. I'm also an Assistant Lecturer teaching on both the MSc and BSc courses, so I feel like I've come full circle from 2010.

 

Would you recommend the course?

 Yes, highly. It's a comprehensive and well structured course taught by very skilled staff; it gives you a firm grounding for your first years in the job, whether you end up working with adults or children, in community or hospital settings.

 

Do you have any top tips for people thinking about doing this course?

 Try and get some volunteering experience first. It's invaluable. Be prepared for just how intensive the course is and for the amount of work involved. You're training for a professional qualification, after all.

 

Story updated 2018