I Will Survive! Reflections And Tips On Getting Through The First Few Months As A Speech Pathologist

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– By Gabrielle Nicoll, Certified Practising Speech Pathologist

1. Stay in touch with graduate friends from your cohort. Organise regular catch ups with them- we do monthly Zoom catchups and loosely pick a speech pathology theme for each catch up. You can share notes about things you have learnt and resources you have used and can revise what you learnt in uni together. It’s a space where you can ask questions you feel are ‘too silly’ or embarrassing to ask your brand-new work colleagues. It’s also a really good opportunity to see what other graduate’s workload/ pay/ conditions etc are and ensure nobody is being exploited.

2. Don’t try to do everything at once. You can’t come up with a unique set of goals and approaches for every single client from the beginning. Do one thing at a time and gradually build. Find goals that several of your clients share and prioritise those first. It’s okay to do the same activity with multiple clients, and it will make you better at doing it.

3. Build strong relationships with parents. If parents trust you and believe you have their kid’s best interests at heart, they will understand if a session doesn’t go so well, if you’re not familiar with a technique, or if progress is slower than they hoped. Sometimes it is more important to focus on getting a parent’s trust in the initial sessions than it is to do great therapy with their kids straight away. Respond to emails straight away, send reminders, if you forget to ask/ tell something be proactive and make contact instead of waiting until next session.

4. Set time limits to your work. It’s very easy to lose hours going down a research/ resource rabbit hole. Put time limits on how long you spend preparing for each client, alter existing resources instead of making new ones, and read abstracts instead of entire articles. There will be more time for perfecting things later.

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. A journey, that continues to look exciting and bright!

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