Need advice please help! (MH nurse converting to CP)

Your chance to ask for advice on any aspect of career development that doesn't fit in any of the above categories
Post Reply
User avatar
angie25
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:56 pm
Location: Glasgow

Need advice please help! (MH nurse converting to CP)

Post by angie25 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:14 am

Hey :D This is my first post and would appreciate some advice regarding which is the best route to take at this point in my career. Providing some background may help.

I have just turned 38 and have been nursing for 15 years, for the last 9 years as a mental health nurse both in the NHS and private sector. I gave up my full time job in the NHS in 2005 having gained experience in various clinical areas. I then went back to university full time to study for my BA Psychology which took me four years as I live in Scotland. I have continued to work part time as an RMN within the care home sector, whilst studying for my degree. I am just about to graduate next month with a 2.1 and a "A" for my dissertation, which I am delighted about.

The dilemma : Do I apply for the Msc in Primary Care at Stirling and pursue a career as a clinical associate. I would be funded and providing psychological interventions to those in need within a year. However would my research interests be taken seriously. Or do I apply for AP posts, at the moment there is very little movement in Scotland and apply for clinical training, which I would love to do. I have to be realistic I'm not 25 and need to make a choice quickly. I may not get on the course first time round. My supervisor at uni suggested that I consider applying for a PHD studentship and pursue a more academic route and hinted that working as an AP may not be that wothwhile given my background.

Any advice, suggestions would be useful at this stage.


:roll:

magrat
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:00 pm

Post by magrat » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:32 am

Hi! I don't have a huge amount of useful advice, but I'm in a very similar situation so thought I'd at least say hello.

I'm 36, have been a support worker for the last 14 years, mostly in learning disabilities, and have just finished my Psychology and Linguistics degree, also in Scotland.

I think the main thing you need to think about is exactly what you want from your future role. I have pretty much dismissed the Clinical Associate role, at least for the moment, because I suspect it wouldn't offer me enough in terms of variety, challenge and research opportunities in the long term. I'm also concerned about the lack of current posts at this level, and the confusion around long term career structure. A lot of people I've spoken to about it have also said that the course and role seem to have been created without funding for the posts necessarily being in place - the situation seems to be very patchy across different Health Boards.

However, I'm totally with you - the AP situation in Scotland is pretty dire. I'm currently applying for pretty much anything that's even vaguely feasible distance-wise, and even then I've only seen about half a dozen posts so far this year - it is a worry. I guess at the moment I'm jsut going for the 'hope for the best' approach :? - and am crossing my fingers that a good few posts magically appear once folk who are on the Doctorate this year leave their current posts. I did browse the NHS website a few times in the latter half of last year just out of interest and there seemed to be a lot more jobs then, so hopefully things will change.

It does sound from what you've said like CP would be a good fit for you, but the uncertainty is so difficult, especially when you're older. I guess we just have to keep hoping that our wide range of experience and different profile to the majority of applicants will make us stand out :wink:

Sorry I don't have any more concrete advice, but it does sound like we're in pretty similar situations, so if you fancy chatting things through some more, feel free to drop me a PM. Good luck!

User avatar
angie25
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:56 pm
Location: Glasgow

Post by angie25 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:30 pm

Yeah, I appreciate fully with what you are saying. I don't fancy wasting another precious year :wink: with no job or prospects at the end of it. One things for certain, I will not be returning to work as an RMN within the NHS if I can help it. Don't get me wrong, working as a nurse has provided me with invaluable experience, that most graduates would bite off my arm to get.

Looks like I will have to keep hoping that AP or research posts come up soon. I would love the opportunity to work alongside clinical psychologists. Most of my career has naturally been involved with the work of psychiatrists. As an RMN the only chance of getting involved with psychology is at the weekly clinical discussions on the ward, and only if you have been rostered on. During my time in acute admissions wards, the one major complaint from psychiatrists and my colleagues was that they were limited in the amount of referrals they could realistically make to psychology departments.

Thanks for your input and good luck with your search, hopefully we will both be lucky.....

:D

howdy
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:32 pm

Post by howdy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:25 pm

Hi,

From reading your post I don't see why you shouldn't just apply for the training next year. I have met many clinical psychologists who started off in nursing. I think if you can show the ability to reflect on your experience (which seems to be a great lot) then you should have no trouble. Working myself on both wards and as an assistant psychologist, I truly believe that the nursing assistant experience has really given me a realistic perspective of clinical psychology. Maybe try and gain some experience one day a week or something with a clinical psychologist so that you get the opportunity to see more into the role of a psychologist. This way you will be able to see if it's definitely what you want to do. Also by doing this you should obtain a reference which most courses value highly. Why not ask around in some of the places you have worked before in the psychology department is there is any placements there or any way you could help out!

In terms of a phd I would say only do this if it's a phd you want. I know a couple of people currently doing phd's both of which have been pulling their hair out with it. Phd's can be extremely isolating and unless it's something that your passionate in, it can be really hard to stay motivated. One psychologist I met described her phd as 'not a test of intelligence but a test of perseverance' I quite like this.

I think wherever you go from here; if you decide to go into clinical psychology your experience already is going to go a very long way.

I hope that's helpful.

User avatar
angie25
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:56 pm
Location: Glasgow

Post by angie25 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm

Thanks for your reply, it was very helpful.

I have been hesitant to apply for next year due to mainly my lack of research skills at postgraduate level. I really came into my own with my dissertation and enjoyed the experience which reflected the great mark that I got. I have got to the point that I hear so many different views and experiences from others about how bloody awful the whole experience is of getting on the course, I think I may have been looking at ways to avoid the process for a wee while longer.

I might contact the psychology department at a previous hospital that I worked in, can't do any harm I suppose.

I knew qualifying as a CP was going to take time and commitment, will apply for the training for next year and meantime try and get a research assistant post.

:)

User avatar
that_guy_
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:00 pm

Post by that_guy_ » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:53 pm

Hi there,

I currently work as a clinical associate and start the DClinPsy this year. If you want any information or advice feel free to pm me.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest