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State Employee jobs

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by yadashley, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. yadashley

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    For those of you who have held state jobs (prisons, state hospitals, developmental centers, etc) as either psychologists or pre-licensed psychologists, please share your experiences. I'm in California and am thinking about applying to a couple vacant state jobs either in prisons or state hospitals. I have worked in inpatient settings including psych hospitals and rehabs, but never anything as forensic as prisons or state hospitals. I'm curious about the work, experiences, etc. Also for those who were newbies, fresh out of grad school, I'm particularly curious. Thanks.
     
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  3. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    Hmm. Well, as a undergrad I was a Mental Health Tech at state hospital in Kentucky. To describe it as "old school" would be an understatement. I would say that patient care was variable. No egregious negligent or abuse or anything like that, but certainly not progressive at all. Psychologists mostly did testing and personality assessment and I rarely saw them on the units. They did not mingle and were not out in the milieu meeting with patients.

    During my Ph.D., a did a practicum at a inner city county medical rehabilitation hospital. It was embarrassing, frankly. One half time psychologist and one full time psychologist administrator. Standard of care was poor, psychologists and psychology was not valued AT ALL by the administration. Facilities were poor, outdated, and obvioulsy did not get much funding. Very similar to how the Bronx VA hospital was depicted in Born on the Fourth of July.

    There is a large state hospital in the city were I am doing my internship. It had an amazing rep 150 years ago, but long ago became the "poster child" for the deinstitualization movement. We were only there for didactics once so I am not familiar with the inner workings of the facility. However, much like Napa State Hospital in CA, the patient pop is increasingly forensic and Axis II. I would have little desire to work at such a place on a daily basis.
     
    #2 erg923, Aug 20, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  4. Shatani

    Shatani Real Life Doctory Type
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    gawd! that sounds demoralizing.
     
  5. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    Well, that's an admittedly limited sample, but generally speaking, state hospitals are run my the medical establishment and are often rough environments. Some people like it, some people dont.

    I WAS impressed with the Federal Bureau of Prisons psychology programs were I interviewed for internships. However, that is often quite a different environment than state prisons.
     
  6. Shatani

    Shatani Real Life Doctory Type
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    yeah, i have a few friends who work in federal prisons and they really do enjoy the work.
     
  7. docma

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    Despite all the hard economic times, there are some very interesting projects happening in the California Institute for Mental Health (CIMH) and jobs will continue to exist in forensic, hospital and policy positions that have good salaries and benefits. You just have to seek out specific jobs and learn more about them and their communities; then make your decision based on your own professional identity and interests, not broad assertions about public systems. There will be a cohort of veteran psychologists retiring from public systems in the coming years and I hope there will be dedicated young psychologists ready to step in. Professional schools don't seem to promote public service tracks for a variety of reasons and "government work" isn't "hot"....but it is out there and can be a very gratifying and steady career path.
     

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