Just starting graduate school? WELCOME to the profession! Seasoned clinicians, what is your best advice? Here are some tips from our SLPs:
1. Every SLP does things differently. When you complete clinics, consider adopting parts your supervisor’s style, as you develop your own. Super structured? What can you learn about organization and efficiency? Child led? How does the child benefit, and what are the biggest rewards or challenges?
2. Expect that every supervisor or instructor in graduate school will have different teaching and supervisory skills. Some you may prefer more than others, but you will learn from all of them! Listen for feedback patterns. If needed, consult a mentor you can trust to be honest. Self-reflection and professional boundaries are key skills to develop in graduate school.
3. Don’t specialize too early. Many, many SLPs change settings throughout their career – that is a benefit in our profession! Approach every clinic with positivity, and identify your personal strengths and challenges in each setting.
4. The learning curve is steep, and it’s easy to focus on the objectives instead of the humans. Master the “wide lens” of nurturing growth and confidence at every opportunity in your treatment: that’s where the big changes happen!
5. Cultivate mentors everywhere. Again, master the “wide lens” – your mentor could be a professor/supervisor, but it could also be the OT who makes their students laugh, or the principal who stands at the gate with an encouraging word for every student. Think backwards in your own life – who made you grow, and how?
6. You will learn a lot, and you will come out the other side into a setting where you will realize that you have only touched the tip of the iceberg. Be patient; continuous, intentional growth is the lifetime goal!
7. Keep an eye on the resources we offer on our website at Pacific Coast Speech Services. As local speech pathologists ourselves, we constantly add practical content to build our local community’s energy for excellence!