As 2017 comes in full force, I sit at my desk eating candy, typing notes and thinking back on this past year and my inability to follow through with New Year’s resolutions. This coming year will be different. I want my resolutions to target my professional life.
Here are my New Year’s resolutions. I hope they inspire others and I follow through on them myself:
- Give back to the community. I want to become more involved in my professional community. I live and work in a melting pot of accepting individuals, whom I cherish and love more and more each year. Pick a cause and contact local organizations to offer your unique skill sets.
- Understand and advocate for our clients or patients. Thinking of individuals we see and their diverse personalities, I resolve to work harder to accept patients for who they are and to advocate for them. We might be the extra help our patients need to find their way in this sometimes unwelcoming world. Just listening might mean all the difference for someone who just needs a person to take notice. Connect and share with your patients.
- Help to educate others. Educating other staff or team members, fellow SLPs, and graduate students makes our profession grow. Start the year by accepting graduate students to supervise, if you haven’t already. Graduate students are young, eager and ready to learn. Plus, they often bring you candy! Let’s help build future practicing clinicians, and also learn from them.
- Build a team. At times, I get caught up with perfecting my diagnostics and treatment plans and I forget to treat the person as a whole. I suggest making and then maintaining a list of resources you can easily access within your professional community. Reach out to them to build your own team. Learn from other professionals to help improve your clinical skills.
- Put the function back in treatment. After you do something long enough, it tends to become a habit. This year, I found myself being less creative with treatment and falling into a groove of tasks. Were my sessions working toward functional gains? I hope to be more aware about this in the future to keep myself from becoming repetitive in treatment. This year, let’s tap into our creativity. So, throw away old worksheets and let’s work out some new tasks together.
- Treat yourself. In our field, we tend to give, give and give. Let’s not forget to also take time for ourselves. After long days, stressful situations and lots of paperwork, we deserve something! As I come to an end of my resolutions, my final suggestion is to grab a piece of cheesecake, a movie, or a glass of wine and relax more often.
Live for the moment and be thankful for what you do and are.
Shayne Kimble, MA, CCC-SLP, is a pediatric SLP at Shriner’s Hospital for Children-Houston, where he is the primary SLP in their inpatient rehabilitation unit. His current interests are dysphagia and brain injury in the pediatric population. SAKimble@shrinenet.org