Careers in Healthcare S2 E1 Pride Month: Lubna, Assistant Psychologist

Lubna’s an assistant psychologist. In this episode, she talks about her life and career as an LGBTQ+ woman of colour working at NHSScotland.

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In November of 2020, Lubna started in her role working in the NHS. She says she’s absolutely loving it. Her new job is a dream come true!

Lubna's motivation

Lubna was motivated to take up this role because it’s a stepping stone towards gaining a PhD and becoming a clinical psychologist.

Lubna's mother inspired her interest in psychology. She says that her mother’s Palestinian and raised her with a strong sense of Palestinian culture. Being mixed race, Lubna says she always felt like her heart was in one country while she made her home in another.

Growing up, Lubna says she struggled to decide between Medicine or Psychology as a career. But, she knew she wanted to do something that could be useful for her home country of Palestine.

Lubna's path to becoming an assistant psychologist

Lubna is a huge advocate for volunteering! She started volunteering while she was in high school in Singapore by teaching reading skills to children with learning difficulties. After high school, Lubna volunteered in a hospital and in a care home in Singapore. It was there that she fell in love with Psychology. Lubna says she likes the idea of being able to spend a lot of time with one patient, focusing on them and helping them grow. Psychology offered Lubna the opportunity to develop intimate therapeutic relationships.

During her undergraduate and master’s degrees, Lubna continued volunteering. In Scotland, she’s used her spare time to help Childline and to work with veterans.

Lubna got her first assistant psychologist post in Bethlehem. It was this role that helped her achieve her assistant psychologist role in the NHS in Scotland.

Lubna's skills, knowledge and experience 

You should have passion and perseverance if you want to be an assistant psychologist or clinical psychologist. Lubna says that psychology is an incredibly competitive field, so you must have the passion to continue when you face rejection. She explains that it took her years of volunteering and doing different roles before she got her first paid post.

Empathy is also really important, but Lubna says that’s usually what draws people to Psychology in the first instance. Passion and perseverance are the additional skills to focus on.

Lubna says that she wouldn’t be the same assistant psychologist without her lived experience as an LGBTQ+ woman of colour. Being LGBTQ+ and being an Arab Muslim woman gives her a valuable perspective because she’s had to come to terms with who she is and celebrate who she is. Lubna explains that experience is something you can’t learn from a textbook.

Lubna says she’s had a great experience as an LGBTQ+ woman of colour in NHSScotland. Since starting work, Lubna's become very introspective, trying to consider her own internalised biases, which she believes everyone has at some level. For her, it’s linked to being part of the LGBTQ+ community, while also being an Arab Muslim woman.

Lubna's experience with NHSScotland

When she was fasting for Ramadan, Lubna says the whole team at NHSScotland was incredibly supportive. People accept her for who she is and the skills she brings, so she feels really blessed. Her experience has been that everyone is open and inclusive, so it’s made it easier for her to accept herself more than ever before.

The most exciting part of Lubna’s job is conducting training around trauma with a qualified clinical psychologist. She says she was able to add information about refugees, minorities and asylum seekers, which is something very close to her heart.

Lubna's advice for you

Lubna’s advice to LGBTQ+ people trying to decide on their future career is that you may experience difficulties in your life, or you might encounter bigoted people. Do not let them dim your light. Use all those difficult experiences to put fuel in your fire. Use those experiences to push yourself to do well and prove those people wrong!

Lubna also offers some advice for those looking to become assistant psychologists or clinical psychologists. She says she’d always hoped to go from her master’s degree right into a PhD. When she was unsuccessful, she was disappointed. However, Lubna now realises that her practical experience in NHSScotland and in Palestine are helping her refine her PhD proposal and will help her become a better psychologist.

Use your unique qualities and characteristics to help you decide on the right path for you. Lubna suggests working on something you feel strongly about that can help people who have the greatest need.

Find out more 

We hope you enjoyed learning about Lubna's work as an assistant psychologist. Find out more about different roles in NHSScotland by visiting our blog.

If you’d like to read about NHSScotland careers, including those in psychology, explore our careers.