Feeling overwhelmed

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ynnah8
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Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:26 am

Hi everyone,
I'm currently in a bit of a dilemma and it's really making me feel quite overwhelmed and upset.

I accepted a post as an AP several months ago, when I first started I loved my job. I had a supervisor who was so supportive and helpful, I was getting brilliant clinical experience. However, 3/4 months in we had a "restructure" our team was split and made ward based. My supervisor changed, and I had to move over to the ward on my own as my new supervisor didn't move over.

Since then, I feel like I have just been left on my own and being used as a replacement qualified psychologist. I write all of the reports (a task which I don't mind, however some of which they don't have time or forget to look at so they just get sent off anyway which really shouldn't happen!), keep records, session plans and organising session appointments. My supervisor hardly comes to sessions with service users on time, and sometimes forgets all together due to being too busy. I get asked by staff to see service users individually but as these are complex cases I feel it is way outside my scope of experience and need some support to take this on. I feel that if I don't do something then it just won't get done otherwise. I have asked for more support however they only give me supervision fortnightly, if that, as sometimes I don't even get my supervisor to them being too busy or forgetful. Due to this, I began cutting down the number of individual weekly sessions I was doing as I wasn't getting the right supervision to support the work I was doing.

I was recently asked to attend a meeting in place of my supervisor as they were busy, and I had explained to them I was feeling quite anxious about this as I felt we were going to get grilled about the psychology input they were getting. They were really vague giving me an answer and in other words I had to just get on with it. I attended the meeting and I was grilled and criticised about the levels of input this person was getting. I tried to see my supervisor afterwards but they just weren't supportive and I felt like I was being silly for feeling overwhelmed after being put in that position.

Sorry it's a bit of a long post! And some of it may seem so vague as I don't want to give too many details out on here. But I just don't know what to do.

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Spatch
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Re: Feeling overwhelmed

Post by Spatch » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:43 am

I am sorry that you have had this experience, and your instincts are correct: you are being expected to work at a level beyond your training and current competency. No wonder you are feeling overwhelmed.

It's unfortunate that you've had a supervisor who has not got your back, so it is even more important that you are clear about your boundaries. Previously, there was a document BPS Guidelines for the Employment of Psychology Assistants that was clear about the remit of an AP, but this seems to have gone missing from the DCP website, but others here may be able to send a copy to you. You do need to have close supervision, especially with complex work, and its not a luxury or optional extra. If this is not being offered, you can make a complaint or take it to the level above your boss. This is hard, but its the sort of experience that you can reflect on and is often formative in its own way.

Also There have been threads about this issue on this forum which you may find helpful such as:viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16638

Ultimately, you do have the right to decline work and say it is out of your competency and remit, which is the sign of a mature professional rather than that of weakness. Its not about being unhelpful, lazy or unskilled -I have to do this as a service lead. If anyone reacts negatively to this, it calls into question their professionalism and understanding.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

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Re: Feeling overwhelmed

Post by maven » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:48 pm

I'd speak to your prior supervisor, and ask if they are able to address the issues of working within your competence and supervision.
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

ynnah8
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Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:39 pm

Thank you both for your replies. I will take a look at that thread too, Spatch.

Unfortunately I work for a private company and the director is in agreement with these practices and feels it is okay to have an AP left alone on a ward without the presence of a qualified psychologist. I know this is unfortunately something that can happen in private companies. I tried to explain how I was feeling and ask my supervisor for more support today and I left feeling like I'm incompetent and "unable to keep up with the demands of the job".

Maven, I spoke to my prior supervisor today and they have been extremely supportive. They have basically told me to look for jobs elsewhere as this is something they have tried to address over several months and nothing seems to change.

I realise now it all seems so hopeless but you are right as it has given me so much to reflect on. I always have felt one of my strong points has been that I am able to work within the scope of my role and acknowledge my limitations, however this is something that I find questioning myself about which also makes me feel that it is the right time for me to leave.

Will see if I can obtain a copy of the guidelines!


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Re: Feeling overwhelmed

Post by BlueCat » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:05 am

Oh I'm so sorry to hear you're in this position. I spent a spell in the private sector, and things really are quite different, and can change very quickly. There was a lot asked of our assistants as well, and of the qualified staff. In respect of the guidelines Spatch mentioned, the line taken following a change of leadership within the company I worked for was, even for the guidelines for qualified psychologists, that they were guidelines, rather than rules, and if we were so concerned about meeting out professional guidelines, we would have to arrange our own supervision. I am not joking.

You're in a strong position as an applicant for assistant psychologist posts, and I would agree with your previous supervisor - apply for everything going. Good luck.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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Spatch
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Re: Feeling overwhelmed

Post by Spatch » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:32 pm

Maybe this is something we could act on in this community?

This sort of issue tends to change if there is public sentiment attached, and one possibility is we sticky a list of positive and not so positive private providers, as well as the reason for that view. We could expand it to include role, duties, pay and working conditions, as well as a right for employers to reply. Other websites like internaware have done much to name and shame exploitative workplaces, so maybe that's something possible here or on another form of social media ?
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

ynnah8
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Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:58 pm

BlueCat wrote:Oh I'm so sorry to hear you're in this position. I spent a spell in the private sector, and things really are quite different, and can change very quickly. There was a lot asked of our assistants as well, and of the qualified staff. In respect of the guidelines Spatch mentioned, the line taken following a change of leadership within the company I worked for was, even for the guidelines for qualified psychologists, that they were guidelines, rather than rules, and if we were so concerned about meeting out professional guidelines, we would have to arrange our own supervision. I am not joking.

You're in a strong position as an applicant for assistant psychologist posts, and I would agree with your previous supervisor - apply for everything going. Good luck.
Thank you Bluecat! I did find and mention the guidelines today and I was told something similar to yourself in that they "aren't law".

I have an interview next week so feeling a bit more positive and hopeful! It's reassuring to know that others have been in this situation too.


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ynnah8
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Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:34 pm

Spatch wrote:Maybe this is something we could act on in this community?

This sort of issue tends to change if there is public sentiment attached, and one possibility is we sticky a list of positive and not so positive private providers, as well as the reason for that view. We could expand it to include role, duties, pay and working conditions, as well as a right for employers to reply. Other websites like internaware have done much to name and shame exploitative workplaces, so maybe that's something possible here or on another form of social media ?
It could be an idea. It's a shame that these places are able to do this. I asked today if I was able to speak to our hospital director to clarify some issues around miscommunication and got accused of trying to split the team. It's an awful environment to be in especially for those who are learning.


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BlueCat
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Re: Feeling overwhelmed

Post by BlueCat » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:23 pm

Thing is, its so variable and depends so much on who is in which management position at which time. The leadership and management structures within the private sector (in my limited experience) changes much, much more quickly than the NHS. In my three years with a private provider, we had five different clinical directors, and each had a different vision. Add to that that there is additional variation within different units, hospitals, and service areas within the one provate company. What the director of, say, personality disorder services has a priority, might be different to what the director of childrens services has as a priority. Even within that, what the personality disorder does in one hospital, or ward within that hospital, might be very different to what happens in the other hospitals, or wards. I'd suggest that there's no standardisation or sustained plan. IT isn't a single entity.

That sense of being able to make changes very veyr quickly was initially invigorating for me working in the private sector, but it soon became exhausting!
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

ynnah8
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:46 pm

Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:27 pm

BlueCat wrote:Thing is, its so variable and depends so much on who is in which management position at which time. The leadership and management structures within the private sector (in my limited experience) changes much, much more quickly than the NHS. In my three years with a private provider, we had five different clinical directors, and each had a different vision. Add to that that there is additional variation within different units, hospitals, and service areas within the one provate company. What the director of, say, personality disorder services has a priority, might be different to what the director of childrens services has as a priority. Even within that, what the personality disorder does in one hospital, or ward within that hospital, might be very different to what happens in the other hospitals, or wards. I'd suggest that there's no standardisation or sustained plan. IT isn't a single entity.

That sense of being able to make changes very veyr quickly was initially invigorating for me working in the private sector, but it soon became exhausting!
Yes, I totally agree with you. It really does depend on who is in that position. All of our wards operate under completely different models with completely different treatment approaches. I feel the same as you in that at first it was interesting to see how the different models work but now it is totally exhausting and overwhelming, especially when there is constantly conflicting opinions on what treatment approach we are to follow and this changes on an almost daily basis, with no consistency or follow through (I hope this makes sense I feel like I’ve waffled a bit!)


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ynnah8
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Feeling overwhelmed

Post by ynnah8 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:38 pm

I just wanted to give a little update, I’ve been applying for a bunch of posts and have been shortlisted for a fair few of them! So feeling a lot more hopeful for the future. I was also on an external training recently and I managed to share my experience with some qualified psychologists who basically have repeated what has been said in the replies here too. I know this isn’t something that gets talked about often but it really is reassuring to see and hear that others have also been in this position and that it’s not just me being silly and overreacting!


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