Moving up to consultant grade: Role expectations

The following list was compiled by Consultant Clinical Psychologists to help those preparing for interviews to move up to consultant status. The idea is that it gives an indication of the areas of expectation that might be relevant to consultant posts, but its by no means an exhaustive list. You would also be expected to know a large amount about the specialist service/client group in which the post is situated.

Expert Clinical Practice

• Breadth of direct clinical experience (e.g. for a child post this would be experience across-tier CAMHS; CDC; Paeds; Child Protection; Education liaison; SSD liaison; Neuropsych; etc)
• Breadth of clinical theoretical model (formulation) usage, with implications for flexibility of provision and receipt of supervision
• Substantive experience of clinical supervision of trainee psychologists, Band 7 and 8a psychologists, and other disciplines
• Experience of receiving high quality clinical supervision
• Post-qualification training and expertise in specialised area(s) of clinical work

Leadership, Consultation and Management

• Substantive leadership/management training (e.g. BPS White Hart course) and clinical governance training e.g.
• Substantive experience in providing leadership for Band 7 and 8a staff (governance, appraisal, recruitment, etc), in collaboration with general service manager
• Experience of joint leadership of new initiative, often with a medical, social care or other senior (non-psychologist) colleague
• Develop systemic understanding of organisational functioning
• Knowledge of the wider political and management system. It can be useful to shadow a Trust Chief Executive and then network
• Keep up-to-date with wider NHS developments (KEY area of national political development and investment), and linked social and educational policy developments; maybe scan-read the Health Service Journal and other cross-cutting sources of information e.g. Department of Health website.
• Personal/professional organisational skills become crucial – time management, pacing, delegation etc

Service Development

• Substantive experience in designing, and where possible acquiring funding for, and setting up a new project or service – ideally involving audit or research reports which can be listed as publications – experience in design and negotiation is more important than actual success in developing fully funded projects!!
• Collaborative strategic development work, working directly with PCT or commissioners
• Involvement in innovative clinical or quality governance
• Multi-agency angle on all above
• Internalise relevant NSF

Research and Development / Evaluation

• Track record of qualitative and quantitative evaluation of service development
• Research and development activity
• Publications in peer review journals

Teaching / Training and Development

• All activity in relation to trainee clinical psychologists
• Teaching junior medical staff (eg linking with SPRs in psychiatry and medicine – joint research opportunities often arise)
• Teaching colleagues from other agencies
• ‘Extended involvement’ or ‘training and development’ as key aspects of teaching experience (as distinct from ad hoc teaching)

Special Interests

• Developing a key special interest in one or more of the above areas, and becoming highly expert, and deliberately cross-cutting the domains of leadership, service development, clinical expertise, research and evaluation etc in relation to that special interest.


• Consultant posts usually have attached some expectations of team-playing, insightfulness, self-reflective ability, capacity to cope with endemic large-organisation stress etc

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