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Assistant Psychologist

Requisition ID:  24916

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Part Time
Posted Date:  11-Jan-2023


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


Salary: £29,619 to £31,411 per annum


Closing Date: 09 February 2023


The Role


This is an exciting opportunity to develop your career in a specialist field of health psychology as part of a world-leading genetics service specialised in genetic neuromuscular diseases at Newcastle University, with strong links and collaboration with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust. As an Assistant Psychologist in this setting, you will work closely with and support a dedicated Clinical Psychologist. 


The role will allow you to help shape the future of psychosocial care in genetic disease through addressing research questions, working with paediatric patients and their families, applying methodology, collecting and analysing data and having a real impact on national care recommendations. Opportunities will be available to work and develop collaborations with key opinion leaders in the field of rare neuromuscular disease and build expertise in genetic disease psychosocial care in your own right. 


Your focus will be on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist working in the same field. DMD is a rare, genetic, progressive neuromuscular disease*. Areas of research may include (but are not limited to): the impact of diagnosis on families and appropriate intervention/support; screening for common comorbidities in DMD (such as ADHD, Autism and anxiety); the multi-factorial benefits of effective psychosocial care for people with DMD; and mapping current service provision. The experience and work gained in this role will be of direct relevance and importance in other genetic diseases.


This work forms part of a larger project (DMD Care UK) in collaboration with and funded by patient organisations, which is developing evidence and consensus-guidelines across all (multi-systemic) areas of DMD care.


This post is fixed term for 30 months, working 60% FTE (3 days per week). For informal enquiries contact or 
* About Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD): DMD is a rare genetic condition caused by mutations in the gene that codes for dystrophin. It almost always affects boys and the average age of diagnosis in the UK is 4 years. There are currently around 2500 boys and young men living with DMD in the UK.


The lack of dystrophin causes progressive muscle damage leading to loss of the ability to walk at around age 10, followed by increasingly impaired use of upper limbs. The heart (as a muscle) is also inevitably affected, as are the muscles needed for breathing. With current best care, people with DMD usually die from heart or respiratory complications in their late 20s/early 30s. There is no cure and the only effective treatment available to all patients with DMD is long-term corticosteroids, physiotherapy and heart medication to slow the disease progression.


We also know that dystrophin plays an important role in the brain. Boys and men with DMD are more likely to have ADHD, autism, anxiety and learning difficulties than the general population although this is not the case for every person with DMD. Research is underway to increase our knowledge about this.


As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles. These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level


Key Accountabilities

•    Support and enhance the professional psychological care of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their families 
•    Provide psychological assessment and psychological interventions under the supervision of a qualified clinical psychologist
•    Assist in clinical-related administration and research, conduct of audits, data quality and research-project work 
•    Work independently according to a plan agreed with your line manager and within the overall framework of the team’s policies and procedures
•    Support multi-disciplinary clinical staff within the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (JWMDRC) by working on a variety of areas within the DMD Care UK project - including development of research questions to support service development and care pathway guidelines  
•    Data collection, collation and analysis according to methods defined by the project team
•    Present data and contribute to dissemination of project findings through presentation and written reports
•    Engage in supervision with and be guided by line manager

The Person (Essential)

•    Interest in the psychosocial impact of life-limiting conditions on diagnosed children and their families
•    An ability to consider and anticipate some of the likely psychological needs of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy using existing knowledge and experience
•    Enthusiasm for clinical research
•    A desire to explore a career in professional psychology
•    Proven ability to collaborate, communicate and work with multiple stakeholders including patient organisations, clinicians at other sites, university and NHS teams and funding bodies  
•    Knowledge of developmental processes in childhood
•    Understanding the needs of individuals with psychological difficulties
•    An ability to apply existing psychological knowledge and skills to a healthcare setting
•    Understanding of and commitment to issues relating to confidentiality

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Paid or voluntary experience of working as an Assistant Psychologist or alongside a Clinical Psychologist
•    Further post graduate training in relevant areas of professional psychology
•    Experience of working with patient groups with psychological difficulties
•    Experience of conducting clinical interviews, psychological assessment, formulation and/or intervention under supervision
•    Experience of conducting literature searches and reviews, designing research projects, implementing data collection procedures, analysing results and disseminating findings
•    High level communication skills (written and verbal) including an ability to communicate and work in settings in which the atmosphere may be highly emotive
•    Evidence of continued professional development
•    Computer literate with experience of using Microsoft Office and statistical packages for data analysis
•    High level report writing 
•    Presentation skills

Attributes and Behaviour

•    Work independently, reliably and consistently to complete work agreed
•    Manage own workload and coordinate this with the work of others under the guidance of line manager as needed
•    Accept and use supervision appropriately and effectively
•    Show initiative when required 
•    Willingness to share ideas with others 
•    Recognise limits of own expertise and seek advice/support when necessary
•    Work as part of a team and maintain good relationships with colleagues
•    Willing to develop internal and external contacts with researchers in related areas of study, in order to enhance the research
•    Cope with and maintain professionalism in potentially upsetting circumstances 
•    Willingness to meet any travel requirements of the post (UK only)
•    Will work in accordance with university policies (e.g. equal opportunities, health and safety policies)


•    Single honours degree (upper second class or higher) in psychology
•    Working towards a higher research degree (desirable)




The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University is also a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 24916