Want to Work in Acute Care Pediatrics? 5 Traits for Success

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It’s hard to believe I’ve been an SLP for 38 years! For most of that time, I’ve worked in an acute-care pediatric setting. I’m employed at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, where I provide pediatric/neonatal swallowing and feeding services for multiple acute-care services, including neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, newborn nursery, general pediatrics, oncology, epilepsy, ears, nose and throat, gastrointestinal, congenital heart surgery, plastics, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Thinking on my feet, but carefully considering both the evidence base and interdisciplinary perspectives, is a must every day.

Sometimes people ask me: What are you passionate about? What drives you?

I am passionate about the neonatal intensive care unit and our tiny patients. Being a part of this wonderful team and fostering the parent-infant relationship through supporting safe and successful feeding continues to fill my heart with joy after all these years. I am a lifelong learner and am passionate about creating opportunities to learn from physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, my rehab colleagues and the families I serve.

Are you interested in working with these tiny and fragile patients? If so, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you like to solve a puzzle? Problem-solving is essential in acute care! Critically thinking about a patient’s medical history and co-morbidities, then looking at the data and making sense of the information is key. Is the infant/child safe to feed? If so, what is the best approach? How can the child best communicate? What is interfering?
  2. Are you passionate about evidence-based practice? Physicians want to know why you are recommending what you are and what evidence there is to back it up. Sometimes the highest level of evidence is our clinical experience and wisdom. But we need to be aware of what hard evidence exists and bring it to the physicians.
  3. Do you work best in a team setting? Looking at the critically ill child works best in the context of multiple perspectives. Physician specialists, bedside nursing, respiratory therapists, dieticians and our rehab colleagues bring information that helps us make better clinical decisions. Through team interactions, we jointly problem-solve.
  4. Do change and unpredictability give you a buzz? Some days we need rollerskates! The day can change quickly with new consults, children being discharged, and changes in the patients we are treating. Being ready for change and staying focused are key to riding the wave.
  5. Are you well-grounded in normal and atypical development? This knowledge allows us to problem-solve and recognize what symptoms deserve our focus. Experience in birth-to-3 is invaluable for preparing to become a pediatric acute-care SLP.

Do the traits above sound like you? If you are thinking about moving into acute-care pediatrics, stay tuned for more to guide you on your journey!

 

Catherine S. Shaker, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, works in acute care/inpatient pediatrics at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. She offers seminars on a variety of neonatal/pediatric swallowing/feeding topics across the country. Follow her at www.Shaker4SwallowingandFeeding.com or email her at pediatricseminars@gmail.com.

 

Of Language Barriers, Culture Gaps and e-Bridges

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It certainly isn’t news that our country is becoming increasingly diverse. What may surprise us is that some of the biggest growth is happening in non-border, less-urbanized states. California, Texas and Florida continue to have the most residents who were born in another country. However, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, North Carolina and Tennessee all saw more than a 70% increase in foreign-born residents between 2000 and 2012.

This means that ASHA members probably find themselves with more and more English-language learners on their caseloads. These audiologists and SLPs likely also live in areas where there may not be many resources for serving ELL students. Our Code of Ethics states that we should provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services. ASHA also acknowledges that the ideal situation for ELL clients is to work with a bilingual service provider with specific language and clinical skills.

Telepractice offers an elegant solution for connecting colleagues with these competencies to our clients that need them.

The versatility of telepractice makes it useful in different settings. A school district might use several Spanish-speaking telepractitioners to manage its entire ELL caseload. A rural health clinic may create a limited agreement with a bilingual audiologist for follow-up care of a patient who communicates in a less-commonly spoken language.

Telepractice can be used for more than intervention. We can assess patients—even formally—through telepractice. Formal assessment via telepractice is getting easier because many well-known tests are now digitized. Even when a certified professional is not available through telepractice, an onsite team can use technology to connect with interpreters and cultural brokers to help provide appropriate services.

Telepractice licensing, however, remains a hurdle for taking advantage of remote services or becoming a telepractitioner. Most states don’t currently have regulations on telepractice for our professions. ASHA and local associations, however, advocate for states to formulate and adapt guidelines permitting telepractice.

In the meantime, associations advise telepractitioners to verify requirements and policies, as well as hold all appropriate credentials, both in the state where we reside and where the client receives services. This applies also to special credentialing for bilingual telepractitioners.

ASHA doesn’t certify bilingual service providers, but it provides guidelines for those who represent themselves as such. For example, we are ethically-bound to ensure that we speak or sign another language with native or near-native proficiency, and possess various clinical competencies.

To my knowledge, only Illinois and New York have a type of credential for bilingual practitioners, and these are specific to professionals working in schools. However, because policy changes frequently (and is difficult to track), SLPs and audiologists should verify any bilingual-specific requirements in states where they might practice before providing services.

Telepractice holds a lot of promise for serving clients with diverse needs. Even when there is some red tape to figure out, using technology to build bridges to communities that may not have many resources is one of my most rewarding professional experiences!

 

Nate Cornish, M.S., CCC-SLP is a bilingual (English/Spanish) SLP and clinical director for VocoVision and Bilingual Therapies.  He is the professional development manager for SIG 18: Telepractice, a member of ASHA’s Multicultural Issues Board, and a past president and vice-president of the Hispanic Caucus.  Cornish provides clinical support to monolingual and bilingual telepractitioners around the country.  He also organizes and presents at various continuing education events, including an annual symposium on bilingualism.  Contact him at nate.cornish@vocovision.com.

Heidi’s Top Blogs

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Editor’s Note: In her daily work at PediaStaff, Heidi is Editor-in-Chief of the popular PediaStaff Blog for pediatric and school based therapist, and also created the PediaStaff’s Pinterest Site  for therapists and parents of special needs children.  The company’s continuing work to educate, share resources with, and support the special needs community has been featured on Parents.com, and Love That Max, (an award-winning special needs blog).   In addition, PediaStaff was profiled by the well-regarded social media blog, The Realtime Report, for their innovative work.

 

In the past few years, the internet has exploded with speech-language resources, largely due to the ease of publishing one’s thoughts through a blog. When I wrote a piece on SLPs blogging back in 2012, most clinicians had no idea that this wealth of knowledge was out there. Today however, blogs are everywhere and they are widely known as a great place to get specialty information on virtually every topic.

Anyone who has ever blogged will tell you that regular blogging is a time-consuming commitment that demands ongoing diligence. A successful blogger needs to write insightful, informative posts at least two to three times per week. Blogging usually starts for most as a fun way to get your ideas out there. A year later, when the “newness” has worn off, contributing to your blog evolves from a “want-to” to a “have-to,” and then unfortunately often to a “Do I really need to?” task.

A good many of the blogs we featured in our first article no longer exist. Fantastic clinicians have just decided that the time it took to consistently share the excellence they practice was just too much of a drain on professional and personal time. Thankfully, a new crop of bloggers have recently come in to fill some of the gap left behind.

Others, have gone the route of making their blogs a way to supplement their income. If I am going to invest this much energy in blogging, why not sell some of my great ideas? After all, school speech surely doesn’t pay very well. The advent of Teacher Pay Teacher, has enabled many extremely creative school therapy clinicians to share their ideas and earn themselves a nice secondary income to boot.

In this article, I selected only blogs that are not offering their own products for sale. There are so many creative SLPs doing this now, that I would never be able to choose.

Here are some of my personal favorites (in alphabetical order) of those bloggers sharing all of their insights, opinions, tips and activities free of charge:

Almaden Valley Speech Therapy Blog – While I do not personally know the author of this blog, I find her posts, mostly on pronunciation, quite interesting.

ASHAsphere – You’re here. Need I say more?

Bilinguistics Blog – This blog focuses on bilingualism and issues facing clients with multicultural backgrounds. Highly recommended.

Chapel Hill Snippets – After years of giving away substantial resources—especially printable books and Boardmaker share activities—Ruth Morgan has finally bitten the bullet (her words) and opened a TpT store. While she is selling a few things now, I wanted to share her blog for the enormous collection of free resources she has amassed and still offers for your use.

Doyle Speech Works – A new blogger, Annie Doyle muses mostly on professional issues facing SLPs. Insightful, fresh and enjoyable.

Erik X. Raj – Erik is one of the most creative SLPs I have had the pleasure to meet. Funny and full of spot-on ideas to engage kids, this blog never fails to inspire.

Language Craft – Lucas Stueber is especially good at sharing ideas that inspire boys to enjoy speech-language treatment. In addition, he has some excellent profession insights. While he hasn’t been blogging often lately, the entries he posts are definitely worth a read.

Play on Words – Sherry Atemenko – is an expert on reviewing books and toys through a speech and language lens. A very valuable blog, indeed.

PrAACtical AAC – A perennial favorite, this blog specializes in augmentative and alternative communication and does a mighty fine job of it.

Speech Adventures – Mary Huston always has something interesting to say, even though the number of posts she writes has slowed down this past year. Whether she is reviewing apps, talking about commitment to the profession or just musing, her blog is definitely worth a subscription.

Speechie Freebies – This is the one primarily Teacher Pay Teacher oriented blog in this article. Every post offers something free and generally printable to use in the classroom or clinic. And while, each contributor does also sell their wares on TpT, the offerings on Speechie Freebies are always free and often substantial. If you are interested in bloggers that offer their ideas on TpT, Speechie Freebies is a fantastic way to explore them.

Speech Techie – If you’ve been to an ASHA convention in the last few years and are interested in how technology can be valuable in SLP practice, you have heard of Sean Sweeney. It’s a top-notch blog with the awards to prove it.

Happy reading!

 

Heidi Kay is one of the founding partners of PediaStaff and is the editor-in-chief of the PediaStaff Blog, which delivers the latest news, articles, research updates, therapy ideas, and resources from the world of pediatric and school-based therapy. PediaStaff is a nationwide, niche oriented company focused on the placement and staffing of pediatric therapists including speech-language pathologists.

The Possibilities are Endless!

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Having been an SLP since 2004, I know the feeling of “burn out” as well as being comfortable. I have learned that there is far too much opportunity in this field to settle for status quo or unhappiness. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned was recognizing that simply venting to family, friends and fellow SLPs was only a short-term solution.  I had to learn to be a doer and motivate myself within my chosen profession.

I often see many Facebook posts about SLPs feeling tired of the profession, often citing endless paperwork, disrespectful supervisors, caseload overload, lack of resources, unreasonable expectations and unfair pay. They are often looking to change careers for a “quick fix” to these problems, but overlook the changes they can make within their profession.

I was feeling frustrated at my district job six years ago and my lack of connection with other SLPs. I did my best to reach out to others and was ultimately nominated by my colleagues to become the lead SLP. That experience empowered me to talk to administration about changing to the 3:1 service delivery model. My presentation worked!

From then on, monthly SLP meetings were built into our indirect weeks and the 15 of us worked and supported each other throughout the school year. Our motto was “we’re all in this together,” because we are the only people who knew what our jobs are like on a day-to-day basis.

Fast forward six years, I loved my position as lead but craved a change. One fateful day I happened to be talking to a friend/fellow SLP in my district who said, “Annick, why don’t we just quit and start our own private practice?” My response, “Why don’t we?” My friend laughed but I wasn’t joking.

That was the question I needed to ask myself. I hadn’t thought about that option before. Coming out of our master’s program, the questions on everyone’s mind were: Are you going to the schools? Hospital? Or private practice? We never asked each other: “Do you think you’ll ever start your own practice?” For me, that question was life altering. Although my friend was kidding, her words were far from a joke for me. Within months, I registered my business, created a website and printed business cards.

I now grow my practice while working as a part-time, school- based SLP. But it doesn’t end there. I supervised three graduate students earlier in my career and one them recommended me to a professor as a possible lecturer. I jumped at that opportunity and have made yet another discovery: I love teaching adults! I am about to begin my second semester teaching college courses.

Looking to the future, I want to continue to teach more classes, build my practice, present at conferences and perhaps look into other areas of our profession such as telepractice and corporate speech therapy. Whatever I do, it is comforting knowing the possibilities are endless within our field.

 

Annick Tumolo, MS, CCC-SLP is currently a school based SLP, lecturer at San Francisco Sate University and founder of Naturally Speaking San Francisco, a private practice specializing in home-based speech and language treatment. She is Hanen certified in It Takes Two To Talk ® and holds a Augmentative and Alternative Communication Assessment and Services Certificate awarded by the Diagnostic Center of Northern California. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Pinterest or contact her at Annick@naturallyspeakingsf.com.

Why “Why Not?” Is a Worthwhile Attitude

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November 8, 2014: eleven days before the ASHA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

After talking with my CSD professors and mentors about convention and exploring the ASHA website, I knew there was nothing more that I wanted than to attend. My chances of being able to go, however, were slim. After all, it was only a little more than a week away and I hadn’t figured out transportation or housing, much less how to pay for the actual convention.

I noticed the “Student Volunteer” link on the ASHA website, and my eyes lit up. At least until I saw the deadline to apply was two months ago. After a twinge of disappointment, I decided to email the volunteer contact anyway—I figured, “Why not?”

When I got a response back asking if I could work on November 18th from 10 am to 7 pm in exchange for complementary attendance, I practically fell out of my chair. I said yes, and after moving several pieces of the logistics puzzle around, my arrangements were set.

Now that I am fortunate enough to have attended my first ASHA convention, I can say with confidence that it was one of the most eye-opening, inspiring experiences I’ve had. Throughout the week, as I walked from session to session, I often found myself shaking my head in pure astonishment that the whole plan actually came together. The “Why Not?” mentality—grounded in drive, openness and ambition—encourages the pursuit of opportunities that seem beyond reach. Committing to this mindset will not only enable you to “shoot for the stars,” but to land among them.

When approaching your aspirations with a “Why Not?” attitude, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Communicate in a professional tone. Whether you are writing an email or interacting in person, be mature in your presentation to show that even as a student, you will be able to fit in seamlessly with experienced professionals.
  • Providing too much information is better than too little. This is the part where you make it easy for them to say yes. Emailing to inquire about a volunteer position? Attach a resume before they ask for one. Tell them why you are the best possible fit. Hold nothing back when pursuing an opportunity.
  • Be persistent. Professionals are busy, so don’t take lack of response personally. If you do not hear from anyone after a few days, send a polite follow-up email to ensure that they saw your previous message. Persist also in setting deadlines for yourself. If you say you will do or send something, then follow through.
  • Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is one of my life mottos after being an avid gymnast for 14 years and I find it applies to almost every challenge I encounter. Asking yourself “Why not?” forces you to get out of your comfort zone and pursue opportunities not easily attainable. The more you put yourself out there, the better you will become at it.

Pursuing opportunities with the “Why Not?” mentality serves me well in attaining my ultimate goal of becoming an SLP, and affords me a variety of experiences, including the writing of this article. After receiving a hand-out to write for the ASHA Leader at the convention, I chuckled at the idea. When I took out the folded piece of paper from my backpack days later, however, I opened up my laptop, started typing, and thought: “Why not?”

 

Robyn Croft is a third year undergraduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of Texas at Austin studying Speech/Language Pathology. She is a Student Clinician at the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute. She can be reached at robyncroft00@gmail.com.

Tales From Apraxia Boot Camp

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In August of this year, I was selected to be a part of The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America’s 2014 Intensive Training Institute, otherwise known as “Apraxia Boot Camp.” Twenty-four speech-language pathologists, including myself, trained with three mentors–Ruth Stoeckel, Kathy Jakielski, and Dave Hammer–at Duquesne University over four days. In its third year, the goal of the boot camp is to spread a high level of knowledge about Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) assessment and treatment throughout the United States and Canada. This conference accomplished that and so much more.

This experience was different than any other continuing education seminars that I have attended. We did not listen to speakers discuss CAS. Instead, Ruth, Kathy and Dave became our mentors. This was powerful. They moderated discussions on evaluation and treatment approaches. We reviewed research papers and had long debates on the principles of motor learning. We highlighted and critiqued therapy methods for those brave enough to show videos of themselves. We problem solved and brought up more questions than we knew were possible.

In smaller groups, our mentors provided insights and personal perspectives on how they work. In this intimate setting, we felt comfortable asking questions and sharing our experiences. The mentors shared constructive criticism along with thoughtful suggestions. In all, they made me think, reflect and question everything I do. Why do I give that test? Why do I treat that way? What is the research behind it? They encouraged us to become critical thinkers.

As therapists, we often get used to using the same materials and therapy techniques we learned in graduate school or during our early experiences. Those methods are not always effective with every child we treat nor are they all proven effective with evidence based-research. Specifically, children with CAS require different therapy techniques than other children with articulation or phonological delays.

Ruth, Kathy and Dave provided valuable information in a small, engaging setting. Their mentoring and passion for CAS has inspired me and I hope to pass along this valuable information to others through mentoring, improving my competency in treatment and diagnosis of CAS, and, in the end, helping children to communicate.

Based on my experience, I’d recommend asking yourself a few questions when selecting your next continuing education event:

  • What am I passionate about? Is there a child or an area of speech pathology that truly inspires me?
  • How will it improve my skill set?
  • How will it help me better serve my clients?
  • Who is doing the most current, researched-based evaluation or therapy techniques?
  • How will it further our profession?

 

Amanda Zimmerman, MA, CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist in Columbus, OH. She can be reached at azimmerman@columbusspeech.org.

CFY (Coming For You)!

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I’m a big fan of musical theater (I was so excited Jessie Mueller won a Tony this year.  She was wonderful.). I’m in awe of the performers who seem to sing, dance and act with equal aplomb.  And then they go out and do it in front of a live audience.  Every day.  Twice on Wednesday and Saturday. Where do they find the endurance?

Well, baby, I’ve got news for you.  You’re about to star in your own show.

There is no denying the difficulty of grad school. You’re taking classes in everything, even the stuff that might not be your cup of tea.  Ideally, your clinical fellowship year is in an area you particularly enjoy and the everyday implementation of book learned skills will certainly give you many ah-ha moments. What can be difficult is the frequent observation, knowing, or maybe not knowing, that someone is on the other side of that two way mirror.  There is a feeling of being constantly “on.”  Even paperwork remains a performance. I would drop into bed at night, completely spent.

I actually had two CFY experiences.  The first was my dream job. I was a preschool therapist in a local school system and my job included home visits/evaluations, lessons within the preschool handicap classroom, individual pull-out therapy for many of those same kids, other children that came only for speech, and screenings–lots and lots of screenings.  I’d been working at my school practicum the previous spring in the same location so I knew the staff, some of the kids and had a relationship with my supervisor.

Then life intervened.  My husband and I married in early August which gave us time to honeymoon before the first day of school.  But as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men….”  Within the first month my husband was transferred to Atlanta, a five to six hour drive from where we were living, and needed to move immediately.  I gave notice that I would leave at the Christmas holiday, started packing our wedding gifts and began to look for a new placement.  (Yes, my husband left a couple months before I did.  Not an auspicious start to married life, but we made it work.)

My second placement was equally as dreamy–out-patient rehab for a large children’s hospital with lots of experienced therapists, including OT and PT, to learn from and watch. The experience I gained there truly shaped the clinician I am today.  So much so, that if I were to give one bit of advice to a new therapist starting out it would be to work where you have lots of interaction with more experienced clinicians. I know you’re sick of being watched, guided, and yearn to start doing your own thing, but…for me, it was the best possible thing that could have happened. (This is where I spent two years exhausted.  I was finally starting to get my feet under me, doing some mentoring myself, and feeling less stressed by the whole process when, guess what, transferred again.)

I share this because I think we get so close to a situation we aren’t seeing it anymore. My situation was unique, but these things come up for lots of reasons.  Sometimes CFYs take place in more than one location or setting.  There might be a short “pause” right in the middle. It’s ok.  Show close and new ones open.  Break a leg!

 

Kim Lewis is a pediatric clinician in Greensboro, NC and blogs atActivityTailor.com.  Attendance at the ASHA convention this fall qualified her for an ACE award (7.0+ CEUs in a 36 month period).

 

In Appreciation: Jeri Logemann

In Appreciation II

Jerilyn (Jeri) Logemann, ASHA 1994 and 2000 president and a world-renowned researcher in speech-language pathology, died at age 72 on June 19, 2014, in her home surrounded by friends.
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After obtaining her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, Logemann joined the faculty and became one of the most influential leaders in her field. A prolific scholar, she contributed groundbreaking books, journal articles, workshops, conference presentations and seminars on the management of voice disorders, normal swallowing physiology, and the assessment and treatment of speech and swallowing in patients with head and neck cancer and those with neurological impairments.

Logemann was the Ralph and Jean Sundin professor of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University, and professor of otolaryngology and neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she directed the Voice, Speech and Language Service and Swallowing Center.

A pioneer in the development of techniques for effective assessment and treatment of speech and swallowing disorders, she—with Hilda Fisher—developed the Fisher-Logemann Test of Articulation Competence, and she developed the modified barium swallow test. Regarded as the leading authority in swallowing disorders, her research was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies for more than 30 years. Always concerned with improving speech-language pathology clinical service, Logemann formed the Clinical Sciences and Disorders Clinical Trials Research Group in 1995 to assist in the design and conduct of large-scale treatment studies of speech, language, learning, voice, swallowing, hearing and balance disorders.

Logemann was a Fellow of ASHA and the Chicago Medical Society, and received ASHA Honors, the association’s highest award. She served the university as chair of the department, and twice as chair of the Northwestern University Faculty.

Logemann’s relentless passion and commitment to her work; skilled leadership; inventive, indomitable and optimistic spirit despite relentless physical challenges; and her loyalty and generosity will be sorely missed by her patients, students, friends and colleagues.

She is survived by her cousin, Ruth Fruland, of Sheridan, Ill.

Gifts in her memory can be made to the Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Trials Research Group:

David Lilienfeld, Treasurer
CSDRG
13412 Pantera Road
San Diego, CA 92130-1022

Checks should be made payable to CSDRG. Should you wish to receive a tax deductible receipt, please indicate your return address.

Tanya M. Gallagher, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“In Appreciation” is an occasional ASHASphere feature highlighting the lives and accomplishments of leaders in communication sciences and disorders.

In Appreciation: Glenda J. Ochsner

In Appreciation II

Glenda J. Ochsner, 2003 ASHA president, died May 29, 2014, at age 72.

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An Oklahoma native, Glenda earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Oklahoma. A speech-language pathologist, she started her long career in academics at the University of North Texas (Denton) in 1968.

Glenda returned to Oklahoma in 1969 to accept a position in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the John W. Keys Speech and Hearing Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, where she taught for the next 25 years and served asdepartment chair from 1987 to 1994. She then served as dean of health, social sciences and human behavior at Oklahoma City Community College (1994–1998). She began teaching in the Honors College in 1996 and the College of Liberal Studies in 2001 at the University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, and continued to serve both programs until her death.

Glenda received numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious David Ross Boyd Professorship, given to recognize teaching excellence at the University of Oklahoma. Her classes were widely sought by students on both the Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses.

Her teaching skills were not limited to the formal classroom. She served for more than a decade as coordinator of interdisciplinary diagnostic and treatment planning teams dealing with orofacial anomalies and language development on the Health Sciences Center campus, which have served as models for similar teams.

Despite demanding teaching and clinical service commitments, Glenda was active in research and in the training of student researchers. During her tenure at the university, she directed doctoral dissertations, numerous master’s theses and senior papers, and served on many planning and examining committees. In addition, she has mentored doctoral students who have participated with her in ongoing research projects, many of which have been grant-supported.

A consummate professional, Glenda served on major committees and boards relating to training and provision of services to people with communication disorders at both the federal and state levels. She was a leader in the profession, serving as president of the Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association and as president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2003. Her dedication to high standards is shown in her service as chair of the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

Glenda’s ability to attract federal and private support for the department programs in communication sciences and disorders contributed materially to their rise in national standing, enabling the university to compete with other programs for high-quality students and provide access to emerging technology.

Throughout her long career, Glenda had a strong commitment to quality patient care. She gave her support to the first licensing law in speech-language pathology and audiology in Oklahoma. She was appointed to chair that board and was regarded as highly effective in her term. Glenda Ochsner’s expertise and dedication is a testament to the high quality of leadership she gave to the profession.

Glenda also was a strong supporter of the arts, so much so that she earned a second master’s degree in 2005 in theatre and museum management to become better equipped to serve her community. She expended much time and energy working with and providing financial backing to various fine arts and performing arts groups in Yukon, Okla.

Survivors include her mother, Mary Jane Ochsner; life partner, James G. Schmaelzle of Yukon, Okla.; adopted son, Ryan B. Tigner of Yukon, Okla.; cousins; and a host of colleagues and friends.

James G. Schmaelzle, MCD, CCC-A is an audiologist in Yukon, Okla.

jims@flash.net

 

“In Appreciation” is an occasional ASHASphere feature highlighting the lives and accomplishments of leaders in communication sciences and disorders.

Bridging the Divide Between EBP and Practice

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How well does your program integrate clinical practice and research education? It’s a question definitely worth asking. Today, clinicians are expected to use evidence-based practice in all of their clinical encounters, but does it ever seem as though research evidence is pulling clinicians in one direction while clinical experience is pulling the other way?

EBP requires you to consider current best research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient perspectives in your clinical decision-making. Clinicians who did not receive a proper balance and integration of research and clinical practice in their graduate classes may be feeling thinly stretched to meet these demands. In an ASHA survey fielded in 2011, 24 percent of respondents indicated that EBP created unrealistic demands on clinicians.  CSD programs need to provide students with the knowledge and tools to evaluate and apply research. Additionally, faculty members need to think about how well they model a fusion of research and clinical practice in their own teaching.

Some help

To help, ASHA has updated a tool, the Academic Program Self-Assessment: Quality Indicators for Integrating Research and Clinical Practice in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Programs. The Quality Indicators (QIs) were developed originally in 2007 and were updated in 2014. They can act as a tool to stimulate discussion among academic and clinical faculty members and students about the program’s strengths and needs in integrating clinical practice and research education. The QIs are divided into five sections:

1) Curriculum and Department Goals

2) Course Work

3) Faculty

4) Students

5) Clinical Practica

They are designed to be flexible in their application–some programs may choose to formally survey a broad group of faculty and students using the tool, while others may choose to use the QIs to guide discussion during a faculty meeting.

A test drive, if you will

Beginning in November of 2013, ASHA asked several academic programs to try out the updated QIs and report back on how they used the tool. Here’s what they said…

It took most responders about one hour to complete the QIs, and most programs judged the length, appropriateness, and comprehensiveness of the tool to be “good.” Most of the programs (82 percent, 9/11) had academic faculty, clinical faculty, and the program director/administrator complete the QIs individually and then discussed the results in a meeting. Alternatively, one program provided time for faculty members to complete the QIs during a faculty meeting rather than asking that the QIs be completed on their own time. A few programs (27 percent, 3/11) also included students in the process.

A handful of challenges also were reported. Some faculty members did not have time to complete the QIs, and some students and faculty were not familiar enough with certain aspects of the department to respond to all items. ASHA is currently working to address these challenges; for example, revising the QIs to include a “Don’t know” response option and providing additional online resources.

The QIs did reveal areas of need and areas of poor knowledge exchange between clinical and academic faculty for some pilot programs. Roughly half of the pilot programs used the QIs to develop department goals for further integration of research and clinical practice. Southern Connecticut State University developed and shared with us three of their goals:

  1. To provide opportunities for discussion of contemporary research and clinical topics, faculty will rotate presenting their research and related topics to faculty/staff/students each semester.
  2. The department curriculum committee (DCC) will conduct annual reviews to ensure that EBP concepts are included in syllabi in accordance with the department mission and vision.
  3. NSSLHA will host monthly meetings to discuss research topics of interest.

Jayne Brandel of Fort Hays State University stated that following completion of the QIs, “We are reviewing our curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition, we are exploring new clinical opportunities and having clinical instructors participate in courses.”

ASHA plans to follow up with several of the participating CSD programs after 6 to8 months to gain more insight into the longer-term role of the QIs for these programs.

Whether you are a program director, faculty member, or student, the QIs are a great resource to check out to get your program thinking about and talking about the integration of research and clinical practice. It is imperative that new clinicians are adequately prepared for the changing healthcare landscape with knowledge and application of EBP as soon as they enter the workforce. Thus, Academic programs need to be focused on both providing and modeling the foundations of EBP consistently throughout CSD education. The QIs are freely available for download.

 

Rebecca Venediktov, MS, CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Research Associate for ASHA.