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  • My name is Emina Hadziosmanovic, and I recently graduated from University of Birmingham in

  • July 2009.

  • For the last 18 months I have been working with a charity in Birmingham, called Bosnia

  • and Herzegovina UK network as an outreach worker with individuals who have physical

  • and mental health disabilities.

  • I graduated in July 2009 and within 3 or 4 months, in September or October 2009, I started

  • my Masters at the University of Oxford. I was at Saint Hughes College, the Masters was

  • in Psychological Research and in the summer I undertook quite a big research project under

  • the supervision of Professor Miles Hewston looking at the effects of war on reconciliation

  • and forgiveness for individuals living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After my masters,

  • I took a year out, working as an outreach worker. This continued a little bit into my

  • PhD. I started my PhD in October 2011 at the University of Nottingham under the supervision

  • of Professor Kevin Brann and Doctor Nigel Hunt. This is also looking at the effects

  • of war, but it’s looking at the social, psychological and environmental long term

  • effects of war on individuals that have been externally displaced to the UK with those

  • that have been displaced within Bosnia. Just recently, in July this year, I was awarded

  • a fellowship from the Rain Foundation and the Princess Diana of Wales Memorial Fund

  • to run a therapy project for refugees living in the UK that are suffering from trauma.

  • For this I hope to undertake a new therapy which hasn’t ever been done in the United

  • Kingdom for refugees yet and it’s called narrative exposure therapy, which I’m really

  • excited about.

  • I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, which was accredited with registration by

  • the British Psychological Society. For me it was really useful because, prior to the

  • degree, I had never done psychology before, so it provided the building steps or foundations

  • to my career because we covered all of the core subjects. So cognitive psychology, social,

  • developmental, lots of work on research methods and statistics which was really, really helpful

  • especially with the research that I’m doing now. And in the third year, we also had some

  • option modules which were great because they allowed us to see what the real world of psychology

  • was like, outside of university, so we had modules such as clinical psychology or forensic

  • psychology. So that was really useful in getting a taster of the things that we might li9ke

  • to do after university. So it really benefited me, it provided the starting steps for everything

  • that was to come.

  • The job that I’m doing at the moment is only part-time. The typical starting salary,

  • if it was full-time, would probably be around £22,000. For the PhD and in terms of being

  • a researcher later, the starting salary would probably be somewhere between £24,000 and

  • £26,000. But I also think that I might want to go into clinical psychology at some point

  • in the future, so after doing that Doctorate- I think that it falls within band 6- so the

  • starting salary for that would be £26,000 and it can progress to anything up to £60,000

  • if you are a very experienced consultant psychologist.

  • I would say that they have definitely, especially the one which relates to communication, because

  • the types of clients that I work with are individuals that have suffered trauma,. For

  • example, so they find it very difficult to articulate their experiences. So having the

  • ability to talk to a wide range of people that have undergone lots of different experiences

  • is really important. And also in terms of disseminating my research to the wider society

  • by attending conferences and things. So not just oral communication, but written communication,

  • I think, is really important and it’s something that my degree really helped me to develop.

  • My reasons for wanting to pursue a career in clinical psychology relate to wanting to

  • help individuals who have undergone traumatic experiences, to rebuild their lives and I

  • think this comes from my own experiences of the war in former Yugoslavia; just kind of

  • living with that and growing up with people who have been affected by trauma and by war

  • experiences. I think that, for all psychologists, there has to be some kind of intrinsic, motivational

  • or a desire for wanting to fulfil a particular research interest and for me that was my personal

  • experience.

  • I did some research posts while I was here, but they were only temporary and lasted just

  • a couple of weeks or a couple of months. I think it would have been better if I had have

  • developed a greater range of experiences- all of the experiences I had at university

  • were research based, which is brilliant as it has led to me doing a PhD now, but as I

  • was applying for a clinical doctorate two years ago, I realised that I didn’t have

  • any actual clinical experience in terms of therapy or working with patients and I think

  • this is something that I definitely would have developed whilst I was at Birmingham,

  • to just use the contacts that I had made to see whether I could get some kind of clinical

  • placement, or to go into a mental health unit and observe patients and eventually have some

  • kind of minor role maybe, in helping to deliver some form of therapy. This is something that,

  • during my degree, I didn’t really think about, so I would definitely change that if

  • I were to go back now.

  • In the life of an Outreach worker, I think every day is different, because you never

  • know what phone call youll get from which client, asking for which type of support.

  • On some days, I might get a phone call from members of the family, saying theyre really

  • distressed because a close family member has gone into hospital, so I would go to the house

  • of the family member, talk to them and on some occasions I would go and visit the person

  • in hospital to offer support because many of the people who I work with don’t speak

  • English. So in a lot of my work I have to translate on a daily basis, from Bosnian into

  • English and vice-versa. So I think there isn’t really a typical day for an outreach worker,

  • because some days I could get called to the other side of town or to Coventry, because

  • I am based within the whole of the West Midlands and then there are other days when I’m in

  • the office doing paperwork and I won’t get a call at all, so it’s really unpredictable.

  • In terms of the job, I absolutely love working with people and just coming away from a client

  • and feeling like I’ve done something to change something for them, even if it’s

  • a minor problem, ju8st so they feel as though someone is listening to them. In terms of

  • dislikes, I would probably have to say all of the paperwork that comes with working with

  • the clients, so having to fill in forms and all of the stuff that takes ages, whereas

  • I would prefer to spend more time with individual clients.

  • My aspirations for the future are to complete the PhD that I’m currently half-way through

  • and then possibly to apply for a post-doctoral study or to apply for a clinical doctorate.

  • I think my ideal job in the future would be one where there’s a combination of research

  • and practical experience. So where I can continue researching within the fields of trauma and

  • social relations, but then apply this to a more practical setting, in for example work

  • with giving therapy to patients that have suffered from trauma with the narrative exposure

  • therapy that I’m trying to develop through my fellowship at the moment, so to use my

  • research to implement therapy.

  • I think experience is probably the key; not experience within one area, but within lots

  • of different areas. I realised that, with myself, all of my experience was research-based

  • which is amazing for going down the PhD route, but not necessarily into a clinical doctorate.

  • So to try and get some practical experience as well as research experience while theyre

  • doing their degree but, even more than that, I think that just to have the drive and motivation

  • to succeed in what you intend to succeed in. It takes a long time- you won’t necessarily

  • get into a masters straight away, or a PhD, or a clinical doctorate; sometimes it takes

  • years and years. Just to keep building your CV as those years are going by.

My name is Emina Hadziosmanovic, and I recently graduated from University of Birmingham in

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Psychology Alumni Careers Stories - Emina Hadziosmanovic

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