Working outside usual psychologist role

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nala
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:24 pm

Working outside usual psychologist role

Post by nala »

I hope someone can offer some advice, I'm interested in whether anyone else has had a similar experience.....

I'm a qualified Clinical psychologist and I've recently left the NHS to work in the 3rd sector. I don't want to go into too much detail about the company as I don't want to reveal who they are. But my role as advertised was predominantly indirect clinical work supporting staff (supervision, reflective practice, consultation etc.) in their clinical work which is working with individuals with complex needs and 'challenging behaviour'.

Just before I started in the role, I was advised by those in the senior positions (who aren't psychologists) that due to staff shortages there may be times where I might be expected to cover shifts and work as a support worker. I've raised concerns about the ethics of this and maintaining my boundaries as a Clinical psych but it hasn't really been acknowledged. Instead, I have basically been told that I don't have an option. I've worked as a support worker in the past so don't have concerns about the role itself, just about me having to take on what I feel would be a dual role especially as I might be required to restrain. I'm also worried about the consequences in terms of HCPC registration if there were any incidents. Although the organisation isn't new, this service model is relatively new and it is clear there are some teething problems. I'm concerned enough that I'm looking for a new job, but I can't afford to leave this current role until I find a new one. My supervisor who is a psychologist has raised their concerns, but they are due to leave shortly, so I'm potentially being left in quite a vulnerable position.

I'm aware that most job contracts include some sort of disclaimer to say that employees' job roles may need to change to adjust to the company's requirements. But this would be a completely different role and in all honesty not the job I applied for.

I've contacted HCPC to see whether they can offer any advice- but wondered if anyone else has ever been in a similar situation.
Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.
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maven
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Working outside usual psychologist role

Post by maven »

My first thought is that it is a very bad value way of using their resources, to have you cover a role that can be done for half your salary! It also shows a poor understanding or respect for your role. And I can see that it wouldn't be appropriate to work in two different roles with the same individuals. However, I don't think it breaks any professional rules or risks your HCPC registration (though you should be properly trained to use any physical interventions, and use them only according to policy and your own ethical judgement).

I don't think the HCPC are the right people to ask for advice. I'd speak to the DCP or the ACP, or your union if you are a member. I'd ensure that you express your concerns in writing to your manager, so there is a record - email works well for this. And I'd ensure you have professional indemnity insurance in your own right, and proper supervision in place when your supervisor leaves. But I don't blame you for looking for a new job, if they aren't giving you the message that your role is clear and valued within the organisation.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare
nala
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:24 pm

Re: Working outside usual psychologist role

Post by nala »

Thank you maven, that's really helpful advice. I'm definitely going to focus on making sure I'm covered. There's another psychologist in the service, who shares the same concerns, so we're going to put together a joint statement raising our concerns. But in all honesty, I think the best option is to follow my gut and find another job.

Thank you again!
Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.
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