Today we have an article written from our work experience student Beth, who has a keen interest in psychology and, in particular, clinical psychology. At Sterling Cross, we value keenly the ability to expose individuals to the world of work and the more niche aspects of their desired careers, and hope Beth's time with us will lead to a long and happy career in Psychology.
By Elizabeth Turner (Aged 17 - 2nd Year A Level Student)
I am an A level student in my final year studying psychology, criminology and art (My hobby and the fun bit!), aspiring for a career in psychology. As part of my course I spent a week doing work experience with a company called Sterling Cross. Sterling Cross is a Healthcare recruitment company who offer a unique service which does not involve the usual agency placement fees. They primarily help in the recruitment of Pharmacists, Nurses, Radiographers, Biomedical Scientists, Mental Health Practitioners, Clinical Psychologists and other Allied Health Professionals.
I have spent a lot of my time researching Clinical Psychology: how to get there, the qualifications you need, and what a clinical psychologist is and does. I have found during my research that clinical psychology is definitely something I would be interested in for the future and has certainly given me a source of direction for a potential career path.
So what is a Clinical Psychologist?
Clinical Psychologists enjoy a diverse rewarding career working side by side with their clients assessing, diagnosing, managing and providing treatment and care for a vast amount of physical and mental health conditions, these include anxiety, depression, adjustment to physical illness, neurological disorders, addictive behaviours, eating disorders, learning disabilities, personal and family relationship problems and challenging behaviours. A clinical psychologist makes immense positive changes to their client’s lives and well-being, making a huge difference in their community. Since I was little helping others is always something I’ve aspired to and had a passion for, this is why psychology and helping others is a route I want to take and something I think I would find really fulfilling. In day to day life a clinical psychologist works as a part of a multidisciplinary team, side by side with doctors, nurses, social workers, education professionals, health visitors, psychiatrists and occupational therapists, to provide the best, most beneficial and effective care for their patients. I believe being flexible, empathetic, and intuitive, a problem solver, a people person and having a huge passion for psychology and giving back to the community is something key to this role.
So how do you get there?
To work as a clinical psychologist, you must be registered with the health and professions council (HCPS), this involves completing three years of undergraduate training in psychology accredited by the British psychological society (BPS), as well as a 3-year postgraduate doctorate in clinical psychology. However, you may be able to study for an approved postgraduate conversion course, if you're a graduate in a subject other than psychology or your psychology degree is not accredited by the BPS. To a student I think this is extremely comforting as sometimes you can feel as though the subject you have studied limits you solely to a job in that field, this is just a reminder and reassurance if you are already a student in university studying something other than psychology but want a career path in this field or if you are deciding between subjects at university that you are not restricted in your career and there are options and opportunities to help you in the right pathway for you. Typically, universities set their own requirements so make sure to check before applying at your chosen university, however they often look for around five GCSEs at a grade 4 (c) or above, including English, maths and sometimes science. In addition, you also will need three A-levels or equivalent. Work experience is vital in a field of work associated with clinical psychology to enable you the best chance in finding a placement within the field of work.
It can be exceedingly nerve-racking being a student and trying to plan a career path for the future. The fear of having selected the wrong path for you, not feeling ready to make big life changing decisions as well as being anxious that you'll be stuck in a position you don't enjoy. However, after researching the job role of a clinical psychologist, and as a student having too make these mammoth decisions I feel more relieved and at ease, this being because I discovered there is so much opportunity in clinical psychology and alternative routes and settings you can be in. Work settings can be very vast and different, typical work settings can include hospitals, schools, universities, prisons, mental health clinics and private practises. As well as this there are lots of different specialisms in clinical psychology you can follow. Making the job role diverse, and I know that for me this has put me at ease knowing that I can explore alternative routes, pathways and settings in clinical psychology if I find there is an area I don't enjoy. I know for a student this is hugely beneficial to calm any nerves or second thoughts for anyone not completely sure on what they want. As you are not limited to one specific field and every day in the job of a clinical psychologist is different, exciting and rewarding. A few other pathways in clinical psychology include:
All in all, clinical psychology to me as a career path seems as though it’s an exceptionally diverse and rewarding role. With a broad spectrum of different specialisms, I know I am not limited to only one specific area of psychology which appeals to me, a 17 year old and being so young, I don't want to restrict myself just yet, as well as the fact I am still learning and exploring all the different parts of psychology. In addition to this being able to help the people around me and being able to give back to the community is something I have always wanted to do.
Psychology and more specifically mental health are something extremely important to me, especially in the current day of age where people are becoming more and more open about their struggles with their mental health and openly reaching out for help. With around 1 in 5 people globally suffering with a mental health disorder at any given time, to be able to help these people and have an impact on their lives in even the smallest way would be the most important thing to me. Therefore, clinical psychology is something that really interests and excites me as a career for the future.