Thursday, February 13, 2014

SLP Medical Internship Experience

When I was applying for graduate school, one of my requirements was that it was possible to have a pediatric medical placement.  I knew I wanted to work in a pediatric setting and was leaning towards pediatric medical.  So when some of my potential schools said, "No," I told them that I appreciated the offer, but I had to politely decline.  The school I chose told me there was a possibility but that it was not guaranteed.  I gladly took their offer and vowed to do everything I could to get a pediatric medical internship.

Flash forward to the fall when we were all sitting in a meeting to discuss possible internship placements. We were told they had lost several pediatric placements, so to plan on not getting one and to plan on a nursing home or rehab center with adults.  As you can probably imagine, I was devastated.

Well a few weeks later, I found out I had indeed gotten a pediatric medical placement at one of the top children's hospitals in the nation!  I was so excited!! My school had listened and given me my dream placement!!

I'm about halfway through my placement now, and I just thought I would share a few things I've learned.

1.  Outpatient versus Inpatient
We serve both outpatients and inpatients.  Generally speaking, you are either an outpatient therapist or an inpatient therapist.  Sometimes there is crossover, but most are one or the other.

2.  Specialty
Most of the therapists at the hospital have a specialty.  Maybe it's feeding/swallowing.  Maybe it's AAC.  Maybe it's developmental.  

3. Cancellations
I'm sure this goes for most places, but when the weather is bad, or a child is sick, the patient ends up cancelling.  This is fine until they cancel for 6 weeks in a row.  There is a cancellation policy in place for this reason, and it is extremely important for helping keep productivity.

4.  Productivity
As with most medical placements, the therapists have a productivity standard.  But instead of everyone having a standard of 80%, every therapist has his or her own standard.  Some have 50%; others have 60%.  These standards are also a lot lower than other places.

5. Part-Time versus Full-Time
There are both part-time and full-time therapists.  Some of the therapists work 3-4 days at the hospital and then the other days at another place.

6. Hours
Most of the therapists work long days.  My Mondays and Tuesdays are 9-10 hours long.  Other therapists work more of a standard 8:30/9 to 5 job.  For the most part, their hours are tailored to their own situation/patients.

7. Multiple Disciplines
Most of my patients are seen by all three disciplines.  Most of the time, they are seen by those disciplines separately.  Sometimes, you have to co-treat.  Working closely with the OTs and PTs is extremely important!  Have good relationships with them.

8. Soak it all In
There is so much to learn and enjoy!  I try not to take it for granted and learn as much as I possibly can!

9.  Resources
There are seemingly tons of resources available.  We have a "speech closet" as well as closets in individual treatment rooms.  Not to mention, there is a whole therapy gym full of toys and games.

10.  Unique Patients
I have seen many complex medical cases, which is one of the aspects I love the most.  No patient is the same!  They keep me on my toes and make me keep my research current.  I absolutely love it.

I could go on and on...I will be adding to the list, but I thought I would share some of my experiences so far!

What did you learn from your medical placement?

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