A day in the life of our clinical lead
Mel Tucker is an accredited psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Here, she explains what her job as Connect Assist’s Clinical Lead involves.
What is a clinical lead?
A clinical lead will head up a department and ensure that high standards of care are upheld. This could include conducting staff training, carrying out risk assessments, maintaining quality assurance, as well as providing supervisory care.
What does a clinical lead do?
I do so many things during my day! But, I tend to think of my responsibilities as falling into three categories…
First up, I carry out regular supervision sessions with advisors working on certain accounts.
We meet each month in small groups of newer and more experienced colleagues, to reflect on their calls and learn from them. These sessions are always positive, with advisors able to speak without being judged. We talk about what went well on their calls and what they’re proud of, as well as what they might change in the future.
At the moment, we’re meeting on Microsoft Teams. I’ve been surprised that the sessions go as well online as they do face-to-face!
If an advisor has had a call that’s been difficult for whatever reason and it’s triggered an emotional response in them, they can also request a debriefing chat with me. We’ve got an Employee Assistance Programme too, so they can book counselling sessions through that.
Supervision is especially important now that everyone’s working from home. I want to make sure everyone’s achieving that golden work-life balance, so they can enjoy their own life and be as effective as possible when they’re handling calls.
I love talking to staff. When you really know people, it’s easier to spot if something’s bothering them. Then you or their team leader can check in by dropping them a private message.
2. Managing the counselling team
I handle all the admin for the counselling team, oversee the division of work and complete some of the training, so it’s quite full on!
An important part of my role is simply keeping counsellors’ spirits up. Many of them began working for us only recently, and it’s good for them to know that they are doing a great job, even though it’s hard to learn the ropes online.
We provide telephone and video counselling. When we’re in the office, advisors will take five minutes between calls, get up, make a cup of tea, or have a quick chat with someone else. It helps them to de-stress and means there’s no residual left when they start the next call, so they can give that person their full attention.
You have to be absolutely present for this job, and that can be harder when you’re in your home environment.
We keep our team spirit going remotely by being visible on Microsoft Teams every morning and having a bit of light-hearted chat. The whole team also gets together for a monthly virtual meeting – cameras on, even if you haven’t done your make-up! We do talk about work, but it’s mainly about getting together, as we would in normal life.
When new staff join Connect Assist, they have to complete at-risk or safeguarding training with me. So I get to meet all the new colleagues who come on board, which is lovely – though as it’s all online at the moment, I worry that I wouldn’t recognise them if I passed them on the street!
I also carry out a lot of the training for counsellors, particularly for onboarding. Normally, a lot of this would be quite conversational: I’d sit next to someone and show them how to use the systems.
It’s a lot more challenging and time-consuming to carry out the training via Teams. I’ve had to draw up a lot of step-by-step instructions, with photos of drop-down menus and so on, taking people’s different learning styles into account.
But it’s not just about me showing the newbie how it’s done – the whole team supports them. My role is all about fostering a sense of belonging and community, and helping staff stay well.