Need some advice please: hate support work

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maven
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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by maven » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:47 am

Its a shame you didn't feel permission to admit not enjoying a placement, Geishawife. On my course we had a sort of rule of thumb that you'd probably love two placements, think two were alright and have at least one that just wasn't your thing or where you didn't get on with the supervisor (either in terms of personality or their way of working). I found the slow pace in LD frustrating, and the decline and isolation in OA kind of depressing, but I found a niche that I enjoyed :)
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Geishawife
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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by Geishawife » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:21 am

maven wrote: the decline and isolation in OA kind of depressing
Interestingly, I have never felt this way. Whilst I can understand that the cognitive decline associated with, for example, AD could be seen as depressing, I've always found real fulfilment in helping people make the best of life in spite of cognitive decline. Just proves that old line of different strokes for different folks.
maven wrote:Its a shame you didn't feel permission to admit not enjoying a placement
I think it was because it was a child placement! We had "permission" to not enjoy placements, but It was almost as if child work was the one "no go" area because EVERYBODY wants to work with kiddies, don't they..... Had I not enjoyed LD or AMH I'm sure people would have been more sympathetic. I never really understood why I should HAVE to like working with children and my cohort couldn't understand why I didn't understand!!!

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firegal
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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by firegal » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:35 am

On top of the valid points everyone else has made, I have to say I have a fair bit of experience working with children with Autism and with children with LD, both of which I enjoyed. Then I went on to working as an AP with adults with LD and one of my recurring thoughts was "I would hate being a support worker here".
I've done support work before (physical disability inc ABI) but something about the setting I was in and the particular group of adults I was with (LD with challenging behaviour and/or mental health needs) just said to me "no way I could do that job" but I still enjoyed being an AP with that group.

Just kind of wanted to point out that support work and AP (and presumably CP) are very different roles. For example, where I was, the Support Workers were often the ones getting the brunt of aggressive behaviours. As an AP I wasn't the one who had to try and convince Service Users to have a bath, or to eat their lunch, and I wasn't allowed to get involved in restraints. My role was much more to do with observing these incidents and helping the MDT to develop care plans. When I was doing 1-to-1 work with Service Users, if they started to become distressed then a lot of the time I was able to say "OK, so we will just do this later instead", something which Support Workers weren't at liberty to do.
Basically, just because you haven't enjoyed doing support work with this group, try not to let it influence your attitude too much if you come to work with this group again later on in a different position :)

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by Loula » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:04 pm

Geishawife wrote:I think it was because it was a child placement! We had "permission" to not enjoy placements, but It was almost as if child work was the one "no go" area because EVERYBODY wants to work with kiddies, don't they..... Had I not enjoyed LD or AMH I'm sure people would have been more sympathetic. I never really understood why I should HAVE to like working with children and my cohort couldn't understand why I didn't understand!!!
I was the same! I think it was also because I had really lovely supervisors and colleagues- so I couldn't even say it was because of them. It was just that I didn't really enjoy it and at times was incredibly bored (I still feel guilty even acknowledging that!). Thankfully my supervisors and my clinical tutor were very understanding, but I did find it hard when everyone else was loving their placements. I think some of that is to do with it being child- I seriously used stickers to survive my way through. I also think some of it was to do with having a more clinic-type set up with quite a lot of primary care cases and the service had a high rate of DNAs. I've since learnt that I much prefer being out and about and that complex clients with lots of MDT working and risk is my thing- which is probably why forensic/ rehab services float my boat. I suspect I wouldn't like primary care adult, despite liking secondary care services.

I still have very mixed feelings about my OA placement. It was my middle placement, so I think that's a tough time anyway thesis/ course-wise and I found it incredibly challenging and emotionally draining, which wasn't helped by having quite a bereavement-heavy caseload which also pressed a few personal buttons and a change of clinical tutor midway. I came out of it thinking OA wasn't for me, but 3 years on I think it was possibly the core placement I learnt the most from, and certainly the one I learnt most about myself.

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Re: Need some advice please

Post by Victoriomantic » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:50 pm

ChipChip wrote: This forum could do with a challenging behaviour support group thread!
I am very much down for that, it sounds like a great idea! :D


SarahAshley, I'm not sure I can add much to this, except that I agree with what many of the others said. I'm also in a support worker-esque role (except the company prefers the term "youth worker"), and some days are similar to how you described, and other days are wonderful. I think all support worker roles are different depending on the service user groups, and the company. I work in a very supportive environment where the staff and management teams really believe in the value of the role and staff looking out for each other. If you're really unhappy and dreading going into work every day then it may be worth finding something else; at least if you stick it out long enough to get that qualification I'm sure it can help you get into other roles in different companies or services. I hope that you are able to find something soon, or find a way to make the work you're doing seem more rewarding--either through building relationships with your service users, or by asking for (and receiving!) more companion-based and community accessing-based work. I definitely agree that providing personal care can still be a wonderful platform for building rapport. But I know it can wear you down--I have days at work where I spend far more time with behaviour management than helping my service users develop skills and have fun with their activities. It's all about catching those small moments and running with them, and also bearing in mind that it can take a long time to develop close relationships with your service users, particularly if they have autism.

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by SarahAshley29 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:56 pm

I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for their replies. I have taken on board everything that you have all been saying, explained that it wasn't for me before giving notice, and had my last day as a support worker for that company a week ago. I have straight away found a job as a 'Student Support Worker' at a local large college, where I will basically go from class to class as a learning assistant supporting students with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or those with mental health problems in whichever course they may be doing (GCSE's, A levels, uni courses etc). I start this job next Monday and cannot wait, as this seems way more up my street. Like some of you have pointed out, it may not have been the client group of LD that made me hate that job, but more so what the role entailed, the lack of support I was receiving, and management (they were terrible!).

So again, I'd like to thank you all, and I am pretty certain that I made the right choice leaving that job as I feel relieved to not have to force myself to go in every morning!

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Geishawife
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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by Geishawife » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:27 pm

Well done for taking the decision to leave and for finding another job so quickly. Just wanted to add that, now you are out of that environment, you might well look back and be surprised at what you learnt from it. Prior to starting training I spent a year working in a "big bin" that was nearing closure. Had THE WORST manager, the job was nothing like what had been described to us at interview/induction and the place itself was now running on staff that were at least as, if not more, institutionalised than the remaining patients. It really was a horrible year. But, when I finally left and looked back I had learnt SO much (mostly how NOT to do things!) and was eventually grateful I'd done it. So you could find this recent post wasn't a waste. Enjoy the new job!

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workingmama
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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by workingmama » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:29 pm

I like children because they make me laugh more often than adults do. I think that's a perfectly acceptable rationale for a specialism choice :lol:
Fail, fail again, fail better.

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by Prosopon » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:55 pm

SarahAshley29 wrote:I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for their replies. I have taken on board everything that you have all been saying, explained that it wasn't for me before giving notice, and had my last day as a support worker for that company a week ago. I have straight away found a job as a 'Student Support Worker' at a local large college, where I will basically go from class to class as a learning assistant supporting students with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or those with mental health problems in whichever course they may be doing (GCSE's, A levels, uni courses etc). I start this job next Monday and cannot wait, as this seems way more up my street. Like some of you have pointed out, it may not have been the client group of LD that made me hate that job, but more so what the role entailed, the lack of support I was receiving, and management (they were terrible!).

So again, I'd like to thank you all, and I am pretty certain that I made the right choice leaving that job as I feel relieved to not have to force myself to go in every morning!
I'm glad that things seem to working out for you and that you feel you made the right decision. Your new job sounds fantastic! Best of luck with it.
"Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by Felicity75 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:05 pm

Hi Sarah, I saw your post and I can totally relate to everything you've mentioned. I have previously worked in very similar setting and absolutely hated it. Although I have a sister with challenging behaviour and autism ( I support) I found the residential work absolutely petrifying , I didnt like the fact every door was locked (very secure) and being on edge that I could get hit any moment. I've started not eating or sleeping well and kept thinking what if I get hit again. At the end I have decided it to leave and I have never looked back since as I got myself a different support work role with a different client group. I just want to say that this kind of work isn't for everyone and dont feel that you need to carry on with it as thats how I felt at the time and started questioning myself if I have made the right career choice... Try to find a client group that you think you'd like to work with (maybe go in to drop in groups) and then apply to support work roles within that. I do agree with everyone that its a very rewarding job and it means a lot to the people you are supporting but you need to think about your wellbeing too. Take Care x

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by robinS » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:10 am

"A month ago, I started a Support Worker role in a residential care home for adults with Autism, and I hate it. One day last week I had my hair pulled harder and harder where the resident would not let go, and the next day a resident scratched my face, tried to bite me and pulled and bit my top. As well as this, I feel like the role mainly revolves around providing personal care, making food or cleaning rather than communicating with the residents."

Heaving read this, one question comes to mind: why on earth you decided to get a support worker job aimed at supporting autistic patients if you can not cope with the primary markers of Autism? I have an impression that this is a prevalent trend in nowadays psychology graduates: get a degree, get relevant experience, get onto the training, get a well paid job...It's well worth it even for the sake of having to deal with annoying disturbed people...

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by lakeland » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:42 am

robinS wrote:"A month ago, I started a Support Worker role in a residential care home for adults with Autism, and I hate it. One day last week I had my hair pulled harder and harder where the resident would not let go, and the next day a resident scratched my face, tried to bite me and pulled and bit my top. As well as this, I feel like the role mainly revolves around providing personal care, making food or cleaning rather than communicating with the residents."

Heaving read this, one question comes to mind: why on earth you decided to get a support worker job aimed at supporting autistic patients if you can not cope with the primary markers of Autism? I have an impression that this is a prevalent trend in nowadays psychology graduates: get a degree, get relevant experience, get onto the training, get a well paid job...It's well worth it even for the sake of having to deal with annoying disturbed people...
I'm really not sure what this post adds to what has been a helpful discussion about the challenges of working in difficult conditions. We bang on a lot about reflection as psychologists, so I don't think anyone should be criticised for being open about something they're struggling with.

I'm by no means an autism expert, but I have some issue with you labelling the behaviours discussed above as "primary markers of autism," because autism is a spectrum and actually very few people on the spectrum would present in physically violence ways. Not to say that some people don't present with those behaviours, but a good service should have a care plan that reflects why that individual is presenting in that way, and provide the right level of support to minimise incidences of harmful behaviour.

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by AnsweringBell » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:25 pm

Geishawife wrote: I think it was because it was a child placement! We had "permission" to not enjoy placements, but It was almost as if child work was the one "no go" area because EVERYBODY wants to work with kiddies, don't they..... Had I not enjoyed LD or AMH I'm sure people would have been more sympathetic. I never really understood why I should HAVE to like working with children and my cohort couldn't understand why I didn't understand!!!
I've had this within my cohort too! Weirdly, it's a very similar vibe to when you tell people that you don't want children. That air of there being something a littttttle bit wrong with you and that if you work with enough children, you're going to love it and change your mind eventually. Other people definitely know you better than you know yourself in terms of children, apparently - whether it's working with them or having them :)

I'm with Ell, I quite enjoyed working with adolescents because they're pretty close to being adults... and the younger ones just aren't for me. But LD has my heart, so far, for similar reasons.

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Re: Need some advice please: hate support work

Post by miriam » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:08 am

Two thoughts from me. First that I'm also someone who looks back on my least favoured type of work/client group experience (for me, research related to improving quality of life in homes for older people, when I wanted clinical work with children and families) and see how amazing that work was in giving me skills and experiences that I still draw on now. Second that child and family work is a broad church in itself and there are plenty of complex and/or marginalised groups within it. You'll know my niche is mistreated children who live outside their family of origin, for example.
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