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To all future student clinicians:

April 19, 2013

Having survived the CASLPA exam and living another day to write another post for the blog, I thought about the fact that we are almost all the way through April! I then thought about where I was last year at this time and realized there are speechies at the U of A in the same position I was, madly studying for final exams and wondering what their first clinical placement might be like. I remember the excitement of finishing exams and getting assigned to my clinic groups. (I also remember thinking that the U of A was crazy in thinking I was ready to have my first real clients, because despite all the studying and knowledge I had gained over the past sememster, I did not feel confident in my ability to put it all together into clinical, real life situations!)

Fortunately, I survived, and it turned out that all the knowledge I needed was hidden in my brain, and I am sure that all the U of A speechies felt the same way. However, to help with pre-clinical stress preparation I asked a couple of my classmates what advice they would have given themselves if they could go back and talk to their first year selves:

  1. Be okay with feeling like you don’t know everything you think you will need to know. Placements are about learning, and the U of A does a great job in supporting you and helping you to find the answers you need. You will come across things that you do not know, but as the whole point is to learn the things you couldn’t learn in the classroom, this is good!
  2. Trust yourself! The professors at the U of A have done a great job of preparing you and you do know more than you give yourself credit for!
  3. Clinic and spring/summer courses are a lot of work, so it is important to maintain work-life balance. Treat clinic like a job and reward yourself with rest once you get home. It is definitely a challenge, but try to keep work at work as much as possible.
  4. ASK QUESTIONS! This is probably the simplest, and most important advice. You will be working with very experienced clinicians, mine them for them for information on everything you can, that is what they are there for, to help guide you to the clinical answers you need to develop your expertise.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff, remember to enjoy the experience. Being organized, creative and flexible are definitely good traits to have, but winging it sometimes is okay too!
  6. Use your classmates! You are assigned a partner and a consulting group, use them! Divide the work up, making sure you are getting a well rounded experience doing each of the different tasks involved in therapy. Help each other out when you are stuck, ask about treatment ideas, proofread each others work! I still like to bounce ideas off of my classmates and get their input on my treatment and assessment ideas!
  7. Take advantage of the materials room. Shelley (the lovely lady who works in the materials room) might have been everyone’s favorite person by the time clinic rolled around. Use materials that you can find rather than spending hours and hours reinventing the wheel and painstakingly making your own.
  8. Dropbox (and other file sharing services) are your BEST FRIEND. Use them to split the workload and share materials. My class had a classwide shared dropbox that we are still using to share resources we’ve collected throughout our various placements.
  9. Remember that parents and loved ones are great resources to explore as well, they are the expert on your client and can give you many great insights.
  10. Stop and think about how far you’ve come. You are about to start on your clinical journey to become a real SLP! Be proud of yourself and get ready for all the new experiences and knowledge that you are about to encounter!

Do you have any other pieces of advice to give new student clinicians? Leave a comment below!

-Adele Courchesne

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Liz permalink
    April 19, 2013 3:03 pm

    Hang on to your enthusiasm and zest for work. We experienced clinicians love the infusion of energy you bring.

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