Clinical self-discovery. It’s okay!

21 Jan

Hey 2014, great to see ya!

It’s been two (TWO!) years since I started my internships and I’ve been thinking quite a bit on the narrowing of my clinical interests.

When I started my internships, I had no idea what I liked and didn’t like. I mean, I THOUGHT I knew (but we all know that’s silly…you have no clue until you get experience under that very cute belt you’re wearing.) I THOUGHT I wanted adult and hospitals. I THOUGHT I hated AAC (now we have a love-hate relationship.) I THOUGHT I wanted middle school students with diagnoses of ED/BD.

Hahaha. Thoughts.

I knew after my first internship that I loved working with the little children – you know, the weensy ones with the munchkin voices. I knew after my second internship that I did not want to focus on ED/BD. I knew after my third internship that hospitals are not my scene. Even after that, we still have quite an elaborate scope of practice to choose from.

So I got my first job and started my CF with a great, big, wide open caseload. Early intervention, bilingual early intervention, adult dysphagia, adult AAC and cognitive communicative therapy, peds feeding. Behavior, family coaching, communication strategies, group homes, ASL. Lions, tigers, and bears, OH MY!

When I started I was all, “Ohmygod I loooove it allllllll.” Now, a year and a half in, I’m seeing that I have clientele that I get excited about and things I look forward to and enjoy learning about. In turn, there are clinical things I don’t get super thrilled to death about. (Don’t get me wrong. I love all of my patients, but as far as clinical interests go there are things that I just professionally am more intrigued by.) (Was that a fragmented sentence?)(Sorry.) Since I would like to pursue the Ph.D. at some point, figuring out those clinical interests is a really important thing! I can’t stroll into a Ph.D. program and say, “Hey ya’ll – I like everything!” I need to find out what I love so that I won’t mind studying it for the rest of the foreseeable future.

So what do I enjoy? I love working with my Latino babies and families for language therapy. I love working with adults with developmental disabilities. I love adult dysphagia. I just wanna do those things all day.Β  Is there some communicative disorder where all three happen at once? Oh and I weirdly enjoy evaluations. Can’t really explain that one.

What do I sorta enjoy-ish? AAC. But not high-tech. I enjoy helping families use no-tech, low-tech strategies for targeting critical communication acts. (High-tech AAC makes me want to crawl in a hole. My brain rejects it. And the process for obtaining any device is the worst thing that ever happened. And it is just getting harder. And it is terrible. Run away!)

What am I unsure about? Peds feeding. It makes me so nervous. I don’t have a lot of practical experience and my book-knowledge is useless because it’s book-knowledge. Observation is an option, but frankly every child is so different there isn’t a ton I can take away from watching someone else do it. I’m learning as I go. Progress is slow (for me, not the kids.)

What am I pretty certain I don’t find particularly intriguing? High tech AAC! Adult acquired communicative-cognitive deficits pooooooooost-onset. School aged ANYTHING.

Part of me feels bad, about not loving it all. I have to remember that we ALL have clinical interests. That’s how we grow and develop specified skill sets. I can’t, mentally, love it all and I can’t know it all. I do truly enjoy interacting with and getting to know all of my clients. However, when faced with a puzzle, some situations get me all excited and riled up and I want to learn more. And I’m finding out what those exciting things are! Woo woo! Self-discovery!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of Simon snuggling with his own tail:

He is sooooo cute

He is sooooo cute

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10 Responses to “Clinical self-discovery. It’s okay!”

  1. Rachel Wynn January 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Nice blog post. Interests definitely change. I thought I wanted to work with elementary school kids with autism. Then stroke rehab. Now dementia and dysphagia. We have such a great profession full of many opportunities.

  2. Marvin Williams January 21, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Awww come on now. High Tech AAC isn’t that bad. Just isn’t that good either! I’m kidding. I think I read your choice 3 times in your post before I was half way through.

    • weathersby January 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      I don’t hate IT. I suppose I just get frustrated with processes that be. And I feel it’s over my head. But I appreciate its existence!

    • weathersby January 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      Annnnd I still like other AAC! πŸ™‚

      • Marvin Williams January 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

        Well, you’re really good at it. And thank you for acknowledging the non-high tech stuff. That needs love too.

        I’m sure that whatever you do choose to make your area of expertise, you will rock it out. You’re just good like that. I actually looked forward to your visits because you actually “did the work.” Unfortunately, that’s more the exception than the rule. πŸ˜‰

      • weathersby January 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

        Aw thanks Marvin! I loved working with you. Made the work a lot easier!

  3. Sing Speak Smile February 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    i enjoyed reading this! i’m currently in grad school, on my way to becoming and SLP, and it’s cool to see how the process of finding your biggest interests is ever-evolving!

    • weathersby February 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

      I think I have something new I love every other week! Never a dull moment in this field. πŸ™‚

  4. thegirlwhotooktheleap February 21, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Im starting to hate those pesky R’s!

    • weathersby February 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      Ha I understand entirely. RUN AWAY!

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