Case study

Recovery coordinator — Paisley McManus

The skills and knowledge Paisley developed during her psychology degree, together with her work experience in mental health, helped her secure a job as a recovery coordinator. Find out how she hopes to further develop her career in psychology

What degree did you study?

I studied BSc (Hons) Psychology, with a placement year, at the University of the West of England in Bristol and graduated in 2020.

How did you get your job?

Following my graduation, I was already working as a mental health support worker. I knew I wanted to change roles as I had worked there for several years and hoped to expand my work experience.

As I was already in a secure job, I took my time to search for positions that suited me. Eventually, I applied for five roles and was invited to three interviews. I was overjoyed when I was offered the job as a recovery coordinator for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, as it felt like it would challenge and interest me. There were also perks such as being close to home and increased pay.

How relevant is your degree?

My psychology degree has been extremely relevant for my current position. In the early years of my degree I learned about areas such as critical thinking and communication, while in my final year I focused on topics of interest such as counselling and psychopharmacology. All of these subjects have come in useful.

Moreover, my degree taught me vital skills such as presenting, time management and group working, all of which are beneficial in my current position.

What's a typical working day like?

My typical day starts with a morning meeting, where myself and colleagues discuss service users and plans for the day. Following this, my day is spent visiting service users in the community.

Working as a recovery coordinator means that I support people with all aspects of their mental health, from being a supportive listener, checking in regularly, liaising with psychologists for therapy, working with psychiatrists around medication, or connecting with other professionals such as GPs or placement providers.

My time often involves providing emotional support to individuals in distress, while other days can be spent organising areas like housing, medication, therapy or social support. Beyond visits to service users and meetings, I also complete paperwork such as crisis plans, risk assessments and formulations.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most enjoyable part of my job is knowing I am making a difference to someone's life. I also enjoy working with people from diverse walks of life.

What are the challenges?

Working in mental health comes with the challenge of being flexible: things can change at any moment and you may need to adapt your plans. I personally feel that seeing people in distress can be emotionally challenging, so it is important to be resilient and take time to unwind.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

In five years, I hope to have completed a doctorate and be qualified as a counselling psychologist, working in the NHS.

What advice can you give to others?

  • Don't rush towards your end goal in psychology - enjoy the journey.
  • Volunteer as much as you can - it's rewarding and will help you to secure jobs later.
  • Try out different opportunities - there are always ways to develop your skills.

Find out more

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