MSc Advanced Practice (Psychological Therapies)
- Currently a Research Fellow at Born in Bradford
- Enjoys working with local communities
- Has undertaken training to be a Healthcare Assistant Volunteer
My current role
"I work as a Research Fellow, mainly working with local communities on community engagement and research priorities which involves a lot of community contact and linking into the local community and voluntary sector. I also liaise with academics, medical and clinical staff and other bodies.
"The best part of my role is staying in touch with local communities and organisations and networks that serve them, as I always wanted to work in a care setting with people.
"The more challenging aspects are that I work in a very fast-paced setting, where actions need to be produced into results quickly. However, when working with communities the ball is usually in their court and the response will be according to them."
My experience on the MSc was a positive one as I was with other people who were working in mental health and I learnt so much from them as well as in the taught and practical sessions. My course had a lot of skills practice using cognitive behavioural techniques and I implemented the learning in my work with clients.
My Bradford roots
"I’m a Bradfordian and was born and brought up here. I’ve always studied in the city both at Bradford College and the University throughout my educational life, except for one year spent at Leeds.
"I worked full-time at the college from around 19 and studied part-time at the University on the Social Studies degree. I didn’t go through the traditional route of GCSE and A levels but instead did a BTEC diploma in Business and Finance after completing school, and then sought employment. Looking back, I know I was misadvised about my choice of future study as my interest was in care and working with people.
"There was a considerable gap between completing my undergraduate degree and going onto the MSc, which was good as I only wanted to do a Master's in an area of work which I was going to develop further. I have had a keen interest in mental health and had been working in the sector for a number of years before embarking on the MSc. I chose Bradford because of the way the course was structured as it fitted into my life pattern of working full-time and having responsibilities at home."
Adapting my work
"Working in research, I’m used to working at home, usually for one day a week. However, in the current situation, I’ve been working at home for the past six weeks or so. My meetings are all on electronic apps and I have some telephone work.
"Its been a very busy time as a vast amount of research has already begun around the impact of the Covid-19 situation. Some of it is being fed into strategy and planning for the Local Authority and the Clinical Commissioning Group of the NHS, so that they can plan what steps will be needed to address the inequalities in health, poverty and deprivation and its impact. I’ve been involved in various aspects of this due to my links with the community and our cohort families.
"I’ve done an intense training course for Covid-19 Health Care Assistant volunteers and have made myself available if and when needed. So far, I’ve only been called to admin based tasks as some departments within the teaching hospital trust are short staffed. I think after the pandemic is over, I will apply to be on the volunteer health care assistant pool so that I can put the skills taught at the training to use."
Working in the NHS
"I have worked in the NHS for over fifteen years and knew about the Born in Bradford programme and its work, so when the role that I originally applied for became available on the NHS jobs website, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.
"Before applying, I contacted the recruiting manager and asked if I could come and have an informal chat and look around, which is always a good thing to do as it shows you are actually interested in the role and not just applying for the sake of it.
"It also gives you an opportunity to suss things out and see whether you think you want to work there and if you see yourself fitting in. The job required someone with a degree in a social science related subject and extensive community development or health promotion experience, which I had from my previous education and roles within education, the voluntary sector and the NHS."
My advice to current and future students would be to really consider what you actually want to do and if it means taking a bit longer and having timeout, then that’s fine. Learning on the job is as important as the theoretical study so it’s great if you can be doing something practical alongside studying. Postgraduate study is much harder but if you know your chosen career path and what’s needed to enhance your career path then do it.
Developing my skills and knowledge
"When I look back now, I think having various roles has helped as it’s developed my skills and knowledge. I’ve landed in research through default as most of my colleagues have PHD’s, however, I feel that I have something special – the experience of working with communities over the years stands me in good stead. I have built up trust and rapport and understand how communities work. I’m using my learning in mental health, psychological therapies and transferrable skills that are needed for qualitative research.
"Currently, I have no plans for further study as I’m learning so much about research, the skills needed for quantative and qualitative analysis, research methods, techniques and local and national initiatives. The research methods modules I studied on the degrees were helpful but now it’s time to put them to use for real applied research. I’ve done so many things in the last few years such as presenting at international conferences and looking into publishing papers for academic journals."