Featured job: Support worker

A vacancy with South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT).

Lynn McGhee, Senior Nursing Officer in Adult In-Patient Mental Health, tells me: ‘Our patients make the work enjoyable and rewarding. It’s sometimes challenging but they make it all worthwhile'.

These roles are part of a new initiative which meets the huge need for first degree psychologists to get clinical experience before going on to further clinical study. ‘My manager worked at a private hospital where they recruited first degree psychologists into certain support worker roles. He feels that means you get fabulous, highly motivated support workers and the successful candidates get rare and much-valued hands-on experience. It’s thus a win-win. The successful candidates will do day-to-day ward work as well as some basic group sessions, one-to-one therapeutic work and leisure activities – playing board games and the equivalent. The latter give you a real chance to get to know a client, to learn good listening and empathetic skills, to work on treating people as just that, people rather than cases. The successful applicants will do our mandatory training then get the critical experience of working with a multidisciplinary team. They’ll work for a ward manager and with a variety of other nurses, as well as support workers who are not psychologists. Then there’s the invaluable experience of observing consultants, junior consultants, occupational therapists and physios on the job. And, of course, they will be in a good position to observe our qualified psychologists at work, which will be invaluable for their future development.’

The role involves shift work and each shift is quite long. ‘It’s a three-day week for three weeks then four days in the fourth week rota. Day sessions are 7am till 7.30pm; nights from 7pm till 7.30am. Because of this we need people who can get to their work fairly easily.’

What are you looking for in a successful candidate? ‘Certain personal qualities. They’ll need to be energetic, empathetic and have naturally good listening skills. They must want to learn rather than be know-it-alls, particularly with their colleagues from different disciplines. And they must have a real commitment to putting patients first. In return we give them what I believe will be really invaluable practical experience of working with people.’

To apply for the post please visit www.jobs.nhs.uk quoting job reference 364-6006JO

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