P rincipal Clinical Psychologist


PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEMANDS OF THE JOB



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12. PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEMANDS OF THE JOB


Physical Demands


  • There is a requirement to undertake relevant, mandatory training in breakaway techniques, Control and restraint techniques and management of violence and aggression training.

  • There is an occasional requirement to exert intense physical effort throughout the period of work

  • There is a requirement for the use of standard keyboards skills

  • There is a requirement to sit in a restricted position for substantial periods of time during clinical sessions or when inputting at a keyboard on a daily basis (eg writing reports)

  • There is an occasional requirement to drive to external meetings, training events and agencies/service providers.


Mental Demands


  • Frequent intense concentration and effort whilst providing psychological care and treatment to patients in maximum security. This includes vigilance to possible aggressive or challenging behaviours during face-to-face meetings, following the patient’s responses to questions and adapting the psychological intervention to meet their needs simultaneously.

  • The complexity involved in using the broad knowledge of various psychological tools and interventions, derived from various models, to provide a tailored psychological intervention to the patient. This often has to be done ‘on the spot’ in response to patient need.

  • Frequent requirement for intense concentration over many consecutive hours when formulating and writing detailed assessments and clinical reports (eg risk assessments)
  • There is a requirement to provide expert psychological evidence through providing reports and appearing as an expert witness at Tribunals, Appeals Hearing and in Court. The postholder must maintain professionalism, intense concentration and active participation within the court proceedings under stressful circumstances involving cross examination.


  • There is a constant need to maintain awareness of security, including an awareness of procedures and any indications of risk. The post holder must maintain constant vigilance during patient contacts and within hospital grounds


Emotional Demands


  • Frequent and prolonged exposure to highly distressing or highly emotional circumstances due to the nature of the client group, e.g. abusive and traumatic backgrounds, nature and details of index and previous offences. In addition, the postholder will be exposed to the challenging, and often hostile, behaviours of these patients. This can be extremely demanding and has repercussions for the postholder in terms of their own emotional response, coping abilities and the risk of vicarious traumatisation.

  • Providing appropriate supervision and support for other members of staff who are exposed to the same client group.

  • Suggesting and adopting mechanisms for the maintenance and support of staff who are exposed to these environmental conditions.

  • There is also a requirement to access regular and appropriate supervision in order to manage the emotional demands of the work and thereby ensure the provision of a high standard of psychological care to patients


Environmental Demands
  • This is a High secure Mental Health environment that cares for mentally disordered offenders who are assessed as posing a grave and immediate danger to themselves and the public. This involves being the subject of searching and security procedures, responsibility for keys and working in a restrictive, locked environment.


  • Exposure to physical and verbal aggressive behaviour of patients and carers.

  • As for all clinical staff working within the maximum security setting there is frequent exposure to verbally and physically aggressive behaviour and the continuous risk of being severely, violently assaulted or taken hostage by patient/s. Many patients detained within the hospital are considered highly dangerous, posing a considerable risk of violence.




  • Members of staff are required to carry personal alarms within each hospital building. The alarm system does not cover the hospital grounds where scope for controlling emergency situations and direct access to help is more limited.

  • Exposure to hazards (ie patient saliva and bodily fluids, HIV, Hep B, C)





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