Future SLPs is honored to have our first guest blogger, Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP. I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did! Private Patients: A Great Opportunity for SLP'sExperiences During School Will Prepare You For...It never ceases to amaze me how rich and diverse the field of Speech-Language Pathology is. Many incoming and early graduate students tend to think of our field in terms of:
Throughout your undergraduate/graduate coursework and clinical placements, you will gain exposure to a wide variety of age groups, disorders and practice locations. These experiences will help build your clinical skills, while molding yourself into a competent clinician.
- age range (mostly in terms of "kids or adults")
- specific disorders/impairments such as hearing loss, aphasia, autism, or dysphagia
- treatment settings such as early intervention, schools, clinics, or hospitals
Your Clinical Fellowship and Early Career
The 9-month clinical fellowship (CF) that will follow graduation is a both stressful and liberating time in your career. In many ways, you are on your own now: able to work on the areas where you feel your patient needs the most help. This degree of autonomy can be scary for many CF's but hopefully your supervisor, colleagues or former graduate school classmates can support and encourage your clinical decision making.
During the first few years of your career as a Speech-Language Pathologist you will continue to learn so much about disorders, how patients can present differently, how to manage patients and family dynamics, etc. At this stage you will likely begin to gravitate to a specific age group, diagnosis, etc. I urge you to take as many continuing education courses (CEU's) as you can as you build your expertise. You may even opt to change jobs or settings in order to gain more exposure to different aspects of our field. All of these things will help you to grow and provide excellent care for your patients.
I Wonder If I Could Ever Have A Private Practice...?
Almost every SLP friend of mine started out dreaming one day of having a private practice- but as they got into the field more and more, the safety of a regular job with consistent pay won out over the risk of going out on their own. To be honest, starting a private practice has a lot of extra work, extra responsibilities and headaches- but the trade off of high-income and more autonomy is very alluring for some people.
Private Patients: A Great Way to Start
Most of us got into this field because we love to help people, not because we wanted to make money. As time goes by though, the reality of car or house payments, wanting to have extra income for our families, vacations, etc. starts to hit and we become frustrated with our regular pay. Another benefit to private patients is flexibility of your schedule and also getting to treat ideal patients. Treating privately is a great way to help more people while making more money by seeing one to several private patients on the side.
How Does Private Therapy Work?
At some point, you will know colleagues that are treating private patients and a patient or family member will ask if you can provide private treatment. Private speech therapy is often requested as a way to deal with:
Most private therapy occurs in the patients' home and SLP's are paid either through cash/check or reimbursed through an insurance company. Therapists need to have their own liability insurance, document their treatment, market their services to obtain more clients and pay taxes on this extra income. Most therapists charge between $75-$125/hour for their services.
- to provide consistent therapy during gaps over the summer for school-aged children
- to supplement therapy already being received (kids or adults)
- to continue therapy if insurance won't continue to pay for services (kids or adults)
Is Private Therapy Right For You?
I recommend that you have at least 2-3 years experience as an SLP before you begin treating privately. You need to build up your expertise in a diagnosis or treatment technique so that your services are truly valuable to your private patients. Because you'll be doing this on your own, you need to develop a level of confidence about both your clinical and business skills before you start. Starting to see private patients is almost like your CF all over again. Once you have some practice and experience, you'll feel much stronger. Some clinicians start with private patients and then graduate to starting their own free-standing private practice- others keep their regular job and see private patients on the side.
I hope this has helped open your mind to yet another really cool aspect of the field of Speech-Language Pathology!
________________________________________________________________________________________________Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist and founder of The Independent Clinician. After graduating from Emerson College in 2005, she has worked with adult outpatients in a rehabilitation hospital and inpatients in a skilled nursing facility. Three years into practicing as an SLP, she began treating private patients- but the lack of a "how-to guide" bothered her, so she wrote one.
Follow Jena on Twitter @IndClinician and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/independentclinician
Be sure to visit http://www.IndependentClinician.com to learn more about how to treat private patients.
I wanted to write this Blog entry for a while now, but I really wanted to take the time to develop the appropriate wording to really inspire, motivate, and capture the essence and the unique role that a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) portrays in the lives of others.
In an ever-changing world full of a diverse group of individuals, it is important to be aware of different cultures. As a
Speech Language Pathologist, one has to be culturally aware in order to lay a foundation that promotes effective communicators when engaging with others from various cultural backgrounds. Visionary is a powerful word that drives the work that an SLP does on a daily basis. We are patient enough to take the time to see the potential within each client, strategize our plan of action and then make the vision reality. Education, research, and collaborating with other professionals allow speech pathologists to become knowledgeable in an array of areas within the field. Speech Pathologists are dedicated individuals who are passionate about what they do which makes each contributor to this field a pioneer.
The Petals of a Speech Language Pathologist will continue to bloom each day, with the proper tools in hand to nurture each plant!
I was inspired to write this post after a beautiful walk this morning. I enjoy walking, it really helps for me to clear my mind, reflect, and brainstorm. As I was walking today,I thought about the risks that I took to get to where I am today. I could not be happier, although I am over 800 miles from home and I miss my family and friends very much, it is all part of the new chapter in my book of life! I think it is so important to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and "take a risk!"
I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a risk when I moved to a new place, created this website, tried a different therapy approach with some of the kids that I work with in the schools, and the list goes on...Risks do not have to be extreme, they can be as simple as trying something you never have done before, opening your mind up to trying new approaches, or whatever task is outside of your comfort zone.
Listen to your intuition, follow that gut feeling you get, open yourself up to new opportunities, go into a new opportunity with an open mind and do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take a risk. The next chapter of your book is waiting to be filled with all of the experiences, knowledge, and wisdom that you gain from "taking risks."
Have a great weekend!! Continue to pray and keep Japan in your thoughts,my prayers go out to all families, victims, and survivors affected by this tragedy!
"Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." ~Frederick B. Wilcox~
► I would highly suggest purchasing the ETS e-book Speech Pathology practice test, to take after you have read and reviewed the information for the test. I think it is good to have because it provides you with good study tips and tips for when you get stuck on a question. Also the format of the questions on that practice test was very similar to the questions on the actual test.
► Determine which environment you study best in, I study better in the library or at a Starbucks; I do not study well at home. So determine what studying setting is best for you.
► I would suggest taking it easy two days before the test and not looking at test related information two days prior to taking the test, just make sure you rest up.
► The day of the test do not forget to have your admission ticket, be there early, bring two #2 pencils, maybe even an extra pencil (sometimes they do not have extra pencils) and dress warm (it can be very cool in a lot of the testing classrooms).
Some of the ways that I studied for the test:
- Do not become overwhelmed with this test because this can happen very easily.
- Do not get discouraged if you have to take the test more than once, as long as you pass it one of the times :)
- Do not keep track of how many times you may have to take the test or how others did on the test, instead keep track of what you could do differently next time, take the time to figure out what areas you could improve on, ETS provides you with the number of questions you got right in each section.
- Tell yourself everyday that you are going to pass the test.
- Go into the test only thinking positive thoughts, with a clear mind and be sure you are rested.
- Make a study calendar and stick to the schedule.
- Determine your best studying setting (i.e. library, coffee shop, home) and learning style (i.e. visual, writing everything down, flashcards).
- It helps to get with a study group, not everyday, but maybe a day or two out of the week, it depends on the individual's learning style.
- Find inspirational quotes or motivational videos for encouragement if that is what you need prior to the test, that works for some.
- Read some articles relating to test anxiety, ways to stay calm during the test, ways to approach the test.
- Do not change your answer once you have marked it!!!!!
- Try not to spend too much time on one question.
- Pay attention when you are marking answers on your test answer sheet to ensure that the question number corresponds to the question you are answering. It is very easy to mark the right answer for the wrong question number, especially if you skip a question to come back to it later.
- Try not to over analyze questions too much, do not be too technical and over think answers.
- Trust your instincts.
- You may not know every question, so just make an educated guess on the questions that you are unsure of the answer.
- Do not study the night before or the day of, it tends to make you feel overwhelmed.
- Leave at least a month for studying, so that you do not have to cram!
- Make a calendar of the topics that you will cover on each day and be sure to leave a day or two off, days for you to breathe, it really helps!
- Do not be afraid to go back and use all of those great handouts and class notes that you accumulated over the years from all of your classes :)
- Writing down everything
- Drawing diagrams
- Songs and Mnemonic devices
- Games with some of the content
- Study groups
- Listening to cassette tapes (I know so old but it was helpful) with Speech Language Pathology study material on them.
- Recording information on a CD that I recorded, so that I could play it in the car.
- Talking about the information that I was studying for with my parents, this was helpful because it allowed me to condense the information in an organized manner to ensure that I understood the information that I studied.
*Next time you are in a session, try to keep track by tallying or recording the number of times you say "ok." In graduate school we were required to tally how many times "ok" was used during one of our therapy session.s Now I am more conscious of not overusing the word "ok" during sessions. Instead I try to state something specific that I want the client to work on and/or specific positive reinforcement. It is challenging sometimes, but I think it helps to develop the skills of the client and the therapist.
*Example: Client produces the /b/ sound correctly. Instead of saying "ok good" you could say, " P I really like the way you put your lips together to make the /b/ sound" or "Wow, I can see you have really been practicing the /b/ sound."
*Reinforcement can be modified for each client, but the goal is to reduce the number of times "ok" is being used in the session.
The schedule included in this post is a sample schedule that worked for me when studying for the Praxis exam, keep in mind I had a month to study so the calendar is only for one month for the chapters that I covered from one of the Praxis study books that I used.
I studied in a month’s time frame, you will have more then a month to study so you can split up your reading even more then I did. I broke up studying by chapters and the areas that I needed more time to read over the information, I used more then one day for some of the chapters, depending on the length and complexity. For example, I wanted to take more days to cover and read Anatomy. Break up reading the way that is easiest for you.
Stay tuned for studying tips that helped me in preparation for the Praxis Exam!