Name: Craig Strong
Job title: Healthcare assistant, Priory Hospital, North London, an independent hospital for adults and adolescents specialising in the treatment of mental health problems.
Degree Subject and level: Undergraduate Psychology 2:1 Goldsmiths College, University of London. MSc Forensic Psychology, Middlesex University.
What does your job entail?
I’m a part-time healthcare assistant in the hospital ward. My job is to look after patients, taking them out and helping with therapy groups.
Is it stressful?
It is at times, especially if the patient is aggressive or shouts at you. This can be frustrating but it is not personal and there is nothing you can do. The important thing is to remain calm.
What attributes help you to succeed in your job?
What helps is trying to be impartial and not getting too involved. It can be quite an upsetting job if your patient is distressed, and you do not distance yourself. It is very hard to try to motivate someone with depression, so you need to be patient, kind and have an ability to connect with people easily.
Have there been any strange moments?
There was the time I was looking after someone who was in a catatonic state. On some level they can hear what you are saying, but at the same time it is like talking to a brick wall. I wasn’t scared, but I did find it quite unnerving as I’d never seen this happen before.
The most rewarding element of the job is getting to know people, as you can actually learn a lot more from the patients than you do from books while studying. Books are just theory and this is real life.
The worst thing about the job is when people do not react well to you. It’s often for a reason that has nothing to do with you but it can be hard to deal with sometimes.
What advice would you give to others?
Try to get some experience as early as possible. You can study it all you like, but the difference from studying it and actually practising are huge. People I have known have loved it in theory but have hated working this field because they feel awkward around some of the patients.