Experiences of Newly-Qualified Clinical Psychologists in CAMHS: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Little research has been completed on the experiences of newly-qualified mental health professionals within children’s services in the NHS. Consequently, there exists a gap in the literature of how such a population may experience their work environments, how they cope with challenges, and what helps them to thrive or survive in their new roles. This study therefore proposed the research question: What are the experiences of newly-qualified Clinical Psychologists (NQCPs) in CAMHS? Specifically, this research aimed to explore three particular aspects of NQCPs’ experiences; their transition and development; the MDT and wider organisational contexts; and support and coping in the role. A qualitative design was utilised to explore these topics, with seven participants engaging in one semi-structured interview each. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was the chosen method of analysis. This analysis of participants’ accounts led to the emergence of three super-ordinate themes; ‘A big jump: the transition from TCP to NQCP’; ‘The support of home comforts, old and new’; and ‘Acknowledging and desiring ongoing development’. These consisted of ten sub-ordinate themes. These themes illustrated the difficulties in NQCPs’ initial transitions, their support-seeking strategies, and their growing confidence and desire to develop further as clinicians. There were wide-ranging implications resulting from the outcomes of the analysis, and recommendations made to both Clinical Psychology training programmes and NQCPs’ employers. These included: increasing caseloads and the opportunity for further exposure to leadership and management processes throughout training; staggering NQCPs’ workloads after joining CAMHS; and improved communication between CAMHS’ management and clinical teams. A critique of this research, and suggestions for further investigation, are also outlined.
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