Dear New CF-SLP's,
Your years of hard work have paid off and you've finally obtained the degree that says you're official! You should feel more than accomplished, because although there is so much more to learn, you know more than you realize and you are more capable than you may feel! During my CF I was so eager to make a difference, yet so ignorant to many details necessary for my work setting, and how to take the ideas in my head and lists of things to do, and convert them into effective and efficient actions. There's so much on the job training you'll receive, but here are a few quick things I'd like you to know going into your CF:
1) You have the knowledge, but effective implementation often takes time, as is the case with anything. Practice makes perfect...or at least pretty competent, as perfection is not an attainable goal in my opinion; which leads me to my next point.
2) You will mess up. It's all apart of the process, but it's necessary to learn from your mess ups. Take a look at what went wrong and when possible, take the necessary steps to work at preventing this from being a reoccurring issue. In some cases you can't prevent the actual situation, but you can determine how you will handle it differently when it comes up again. Be proactive and make a plan.
3) Use your resources. Ask questions to your supervisor and colleagues. Get as much input as you can, not only on the specific procedures required at your facility, but also inquire about how others are managing various difficult clients, processes and tasks. Getting input on how to streamline processes, or the best way to manage a difficult case can save you lots of time and frustration and increase your overall efficiency as a clinician.
4) Be flexible and resilient. I cannot stress this enough! Things can change at a moment's notice; schedule adjustments, last minute meetings, sudden increases in caseload or census numbers, etc. If COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it's that we must adjust and tackle issues as they come, all while maintaining the greatest degree of fidelity that we can.
5) Adjust to meet the needs of your patients, clients and/or students. Understand not only the various communication differences of those you serve, but also the cultural differences of each individual. It is our job to ensure that we are providing therapy that reflects and meets the needs of the full population we serve.
I'm so excited for the impact you are going to make in this field!!
~ Coffeehouse SLP