Dr Colin Davis
Specialist Clinical Neuropsychologist @ Northern Health & Social Care Trust
Dr Davis is a Specialist Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Brain Injury Service. He works as part of an interdisciplinary team and his role is to help people with brain injuries understand any psychological, behavioural or cognitive difficulties. He then works with his colleagues to agree goals with the service users and work towards achieving these together.
Hi Dr Davis, Can you tell us how about your job and what you do from day to day?
Most days involve a little bit of organisational work, diary management, making sure activity data is up to date along with any other managerial issues. Some of my time is spent both in supervision and supervising the work of others.
My work with service users is split between assessment and rehabilitation. I work across about half the Trust area so there can be a lot of travel! Every week I work closely with an Assistant Psychologist to carry out initial assessments with those newly referred to the service. Sometimes we carry out further, more detailed assessment, where this is helps rehabilitation. Once the assessment is complete and we have agreed what the service user would like to achieve our team meets to discuss who is best placed to assist. This can include support from psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, rehabilitation coaches, our family service and a plan of action for the next three months is devised. As part of the rehabilitation process I then continue to see people one-to-one, with colleagues or as part of a group to work on a range of rehabilitation activities. My work tends to focus on cognitive rehabilitation as well as addressing any behavioural or adjustment issues. Sometimes this involves directing people to other services within the Trust, external agencies such as Victim Support, Headway or Reconnect or helping train others within and outside the Trust in order to help someone with their injury. Occasionally there are requests from the police, the courts, political representatives or government agencies to respond to.
During the week and from month to month there are a number of meetings to attend. We review each service user’s goals every three months so each week there are review meetings to attend. I am also in the management team and we meet every month to discuss operational matters. My particular interest is in Quality Improvement which has been newly introduced to the service and this is an exciting element to be leading in. There aren’t too many people doing this kind of job so I am fortunate to work with two other neuropsychologists. We meet every few months for professional development or sometimes together or sometimes more with other colleagues around the country. We also meet with partner organisations to review projects that some of our service users are engaged in and I have assisted them setting up support groups in different areas of the Trust. I also am a member of the Board of Studies on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the Queen’s University of Belfast.
How long have you been in your current role?
I have been in my current role for just over ten years.
What experience/education is required in order to preform this role?
Usually a Clinical Neuropsychologist will have completed a Degree in Psychology and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology allowing them to practice as Registered Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council. They will then complete the Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology with British Psychological Society (BPS) which requires them to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, research and clinical practice which is examined in a viva-voce examination at the BPS headquarters in Leicester.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
The biggest challenge is managing time. There is a constant demand for services and trying to get to see everyone as well as complete a lot of paperwork can be quite a challenge.
What advice would you give to others looking for a job in your field?
Persistence is the key. Seek experience with the client group you are interested in and don’t be afraid to approach people working in the field for their advice. Neuropsychology is quite specific and not all psychologists will want or need to pursue this qualification. It is a very satisfying role working drawing together information from a range of sources. A passion for understanding how the brain works most definitely helps.
What do you like best about your role and working in HSC?
It is most satisfying when our team works together to help our service users meet their goals. In achieving that I am very lucky to be working in an enthusiastic, experienced and caring team and working with two of the best neuropsychologists in the country. Over the years this team has been at the forefront of community based brain injury rehabilitation, developing and changing over time, and I enjoy being part of the team and the desire to continually improve.