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It’s day one, you are in a new environment, a new role and with new colleagues as a substance misuse worker.

It can all be a little daunting with fresh faces to get to know, protocols, office nuances, and that’s even before you start to interact with clients.

Following on from last week’s blog about how to find a role with a Substance Misuse Team, this week we’ll be helping you to get started as part of a team which will be involved in helping people tackle and recover from dependence on illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, alcohol or solvents

So, what can you do to a) survive; b) create a good impression; and c) get through the day? Here’s a few tips on surviving day one in a substance misuse role.

How to stay the course

You will be joining a team of people who come from a variety of backgrounds: they could be volunteers or those who have successfully recovered from addictions and have now found a role in the profession; people with an established background in nursing, criminal justice, social care, youth work or counselling; or established practitioners in the substance misuse role.

One of the things to remember is that they have great experience and knowledge, so draw on this by watching and learning how they interact with clients, and be prepared to ask them questions.

Working with outside agencies

In addition, it is a role where you will be working with other agencies such as the police, social services, health trusts, charities and voluntary organisations. There is a lot to think about and take in, but adopt a positive attitude, learn from those around you and take it a step at a time.

There will be new protocols to get used to, you will need to adapt to working practices, and familiarise yourself with the local area, the culture, the demographic.

There may even be some of those odd-sounding acronyms, so promptly learn what they stand for and if you aren’t sure, ask.

Here’s a few further tips

Other tips include: be prepared to shadow your colleagues; watch how they communicate with different clients, and how they handle potentially difficult discussions and conversations; use the resources available in the office and read the literature to help you continue to learn; and talk through any difficult or uncomfortable situations with colleagues, your managers, or even fellow trainees.

If you’re unsure what to expect before your first day in your new substance misuse job, then Sanctuary’s trained recruitment consultants are able to advise what to expect during the early stage of their role as a substance misuse worker, so feel free to ask…
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