A day in the life of an IPS Team Leader...

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Madalina Groza manages a team of Employment Specialists offering the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of employment support to clients receiving mental health support from NHS clinicians in Haringey and Barnet.  Here she tells us what a day doing her job looks like…

The day of an IPS Team Leader is varied, and no two days are the same. In my role, I have several responsibilities, like managing a team of eight Employment Specialists, who in turn support on average 20 clients each; working with our NHS partners to ensure a steady flow of client referrals; and ensuring compliance paperwork is up to date for the different quality frameworks we work within. 

I would describe myself as a morning person; I usually start my working day around 8:30am. I typically work from home, so prior to signing in, I like to prepare a healthy breakfast which I eat whilst listening to a podcast. I often use the morning time to meditate and set intentions for the day ahead. 

Once I log in, I start my working day with saying hello to my team on Teams. I then check my e-mails and messages to respond to any urgent queries. Once this is out of the way, I have a glance at my to do list, which I usually write the day before, prior to logging off. I start actioning these tasks based on priority. I like using the Eisenhower matrix to determine which tasks to address first, which ones to plan ahead and lastly which tasks should be delegated to my team. In my role, I learnt that delegating tasks is a fundamental part of developing my team, as this allows them to engage with activities that they normally wouldn’t engage with. This in turn allows for staff upskilling and career development.  

Most days I’ll have a series of one-to-one meetings booked in with my team.  My role is based within secondary mental health services, which means that our clients have a serious mental illness, such as Psychosis, often alongside complex needs, such as housing difficulties. Whilst Employment Specialists are on the frontline and provide the essential one to one support to clients, my role is to support the team deliver the IPS (Individual Placement and Support) model effectively in their roles. So, I do this by carrying out caseload reviews with each individual staff where we discuss the progress for each client in turn. This provides ES’s the platform to raise concerns and navigate challenging client cases. I enjoy the chance to hear from my team, understand any concerns they may have for their clients and also celebrate their successes!  It’s so good to hear what’s happening at a grass roots level as this helps me plan and consider any further training the team might need to support their development. 

I also chair weekly meetings designed to promote peer support via group supervision and overall team bonding. These individual and team meetings also help me gain a deeper understanding of the current service and support needs required from Employment Specialists. In this way, I can shape the service and ensure we are adhering to essential guidelines such as health and safety, data protection and a high IPS Fidelity.  

Since we are an IPS based employment service, this means that we adhere to specific guidelines such as: effective clinical integration with NHS staff who refer clients to us, and building relationships with local employers. Due to the high complexity of needs for the clients we support, partnership work with our NHS partners is essential. 

During my lunch break, I like going for a walk out in nature, after eating a light lunch, that I usually prepare the day before. This re-energises me for the afternoon and my walks help me with problem solving issues that I might be unsure on how to proceed with. When I’m back it’s like I had a light bulb moment and all of a sudden, I know the steps to take to overcome my obstacles! I often spend time in the afternoon communicating with our NHS partners – either on the phone, in person or on email.  I have developed positive relationships with clinical team managers across the 10+ teams we work with. We work in partnership to ensure that all service users are aware that an IPS employment service is available to them should they express an interest in obtaining paid work. 

I usually finish my day around 5pm. The last thing I like to do before finishing the day is to ensure all priority tasks have been completed for the day. I then proceed to write a list for the next day, sign off on Teams, check out with my team and turn off both the laptop and phone.  

Overall, I enjoy my role as it brings me great personal satisfaction!

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