First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by xamzx » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:19 am

Hi guys,

This is my first time posting on here, so sorry in advanced if I'm posting in the wrong place.
I have an interview shortly coming up for an Assistant Psychologist post band 5 in a medium secure hospital. I luckily already work as a SW at the hospital, but have only been there 6 months! I graduated last year and throughout my degree worked as a community support worker with learning disability.

I am feeling really nervous about the interview, as it is a band 5. I have to do a presentation about working with risk and mental health in a secure setting. So far I have talked about assessment of both (HCR-20 link to care plan, observations, formulations) and treatment/interventions (different therapies e.g CBT, CAT, crisis, relapse and contingency plan, de-escalation techniques) and talked about recovery orientated approach to secure care.

Does anyone have any other ideas I could add? Also, what sort of questions could be asked? I've prepared for questions such as what challenges I could face, weaknesses and what qualities I could bring, but as it is a band 5 I'm worried they will expect me to know a lot already, as it states the job is aimed at people with experience administering psychological assessment and interventions. I do run a relaxation group with the guys using mindfulness and activities such as 1:1 cooking etc.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you all :)

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Re: First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by Loula » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:15 am

Congrats on the interview!

First of all, don't worry it's a band 5. Most trusts employ all their APs at the same band, so in some trusts you get lucky and it's a band 5. Your interviewers will likely be focusing on whether you can do the job, not the specifics of AfC bandings.

I'm a CP in secure services. Your ideas sound good, but I would try and think a bit wider around different types of risk. Also I'd probably try and link the two topics together briefly. Reflect on your current experiences around these topics (and others)

Is this your first AP interview? I think a really crucial thing is practicing interview technique. Do mock interviews (don't have to be super formal) with a partner/ colleague/friend/ family member or even just practice saying your presentation and answering questions out loud. I have spent a lot of time doing interview practice in my car! For my last interview I got the stage where I did my presentation without being able see the clock and without notes as I had practiced it so much. There is lots of stuff on here about interview technique and things to think about for interviews.

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Re: First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by xamzx » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:44 am

Hi Loula,

Thanks for the reply! I've been so busy with work this weekend only just managed to sit down and have a think. The thing I am worried about is there were posts for band 4 and band 5, yet they shortlisted for band 5 even though I applied for both? So am a bit worried that during the interview I may not be able to ask specific questions.

Thanks for your feedback, I'm thinking of talking about the 3 types of security, procedural, physical and relational - focusing on relational. With trying to link them together, I thought about discussing the link between the CPA process and HCR-20 (decrease in risk). I'm a little stuck about risk assessment tools to talk about, the one I know really in the HCR-20. Is there anymore used in secure services? I'm going to talk about observation and use a personal example of how I was able to assess risk and manage with the help of the crisis, relapse and contingency plan. Is there anything I am missing? The presentation is 10 minutes so its hard to get everything in.

Yep this is my first AP interview. I've practiced answers to questions such as models of therapy, theories link to mental illness, patient disclosure of risk, supervision etc. I will practice interview technique with family and will look on here for advice - thank you!

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Re: First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by JBoulton » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:39 am

What exactly is the question for your presentation? Two things I would personally include in there is a) maintaining a positive, nurturing and therapeutic environment for the patient while considering risk, mental health and the nature of a secure service - the realities of secure services can heavily impact on our ability to act in a natural and caring way (is this post working with adolescents or adults?) and b) What impact it has on you (personally and professionally) - you mentioned you've prepared for that as a specific question, but could be worth throwing it into the presentation. Depending on the nature of the service they might want to know that you can cope with some of the things you'll come into contact with (obviously, you'll be able to reflect on your 6 months experience there).

Risk assessment wise, there is the SAVRY (violence) which I know we use in our medium secure and the ERASOR (sexual) - but again, I suppose it depends on the patient group. But as Loula says, I would think more broadly about risk than trying to reel off a list of assessment tools. :D

You mentioned psychometrics. Have you rung and spoken to the CP's interviewing? It might be worth getting a feel for the specifics of the role, if there is a heavy assessment component then psychometrics will probably feature. Considering you work there, can you not find out what the existing AP's do? But in terms of the interview, they know from your form that you don't have direct experience, so you want to just bring in general knowledge/experience (e.g. engagement issues)

Band 4/5 wise. I've been super lucky in landing two band 5 roles, with my first being a 5. For the first job, all the AP posts were 5 for that specific site (but not across the board for our service), with previous experience as a desirable criteria. The role involved 'that work', so that is the work I did; I don't think being a band 4 would make a difference. My current role is a 5 and due to the more forensic nature they wanted you to be more generally 'competent' and aware of forensic/risk issues, but I don't recall needing to show off any special knowledge. My presentation was on my undergrad dissertation! At the end of the day, they read your application, they know your experience and skills, they possibly know who you are(?) and they short listed you, which means they think you have a realistic shot at the job.

Hopefully there is something useful in all that!

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Re: First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by cral » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:43 pm

Congrats on the interview. What you have suggested sounds great, I have a couple more suggestions but these are just more food for thought more than anything else.

I think I would definitely emphasise the point previously made about reflecting how assessing risk may impact you personally and reflect upon how you would manage it and may want to consider how supervision maybe helpful with risk assessments. It may also be helpful to consider the challenges/conflicts involved with completing a risk assessment and developing a therapeutic relationship which offers containment and safety to disclose risks. Another thing which could also be reflected upon is the process of the risk assessment I.e. Should it be A mdt approach? What sources of information should be used and consideration of the integrity/accuracy of the information? Also what involvement should the SU have in the assessment of their risk and risk management plan? One thing which commonly gets missed out in risk assessment is the risk to the SU from others I.e bullying, discrimination -what sticks in my mind is the vulnerability of any service-users convicted of a sexual offence.

It may be helpful to consider assessment of mental state in your prep, boundaries and certainly the personal impact of working in secure services and how you have and would manage this?

Hope that helps.

Good luck

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Re: First ever AP interview in medium secure hospital!

Post by xamzx » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:05 am

Hi all,

Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate it! Sorry it's took a while to get back to you, I have been away. Unfortunately I didn't get the job, but I'm glad I went for the experience. Some really good points to consider for future interviews, thank you. All I can do is keep on trying! It was my first interview so I didn't expect to be offered it, but at least I know what to expect for the future :)

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