SLPs and Audiologists work in a variety of settings and this makes describing a typical day for both of these professions a real challenge. No two days will ever be the same! However, we asked two clinicians to document a typical day in their busy lives.
Ms L is an experienced SLP working in a large public hospital.
8:30am: arrive at work, check emails, look at diary and start planning for the day ahead.
9:00am: visit the ward that I am assigned to (Neurology). I will talk to the nurses about the progress of patients that I am already seeing, and pick up any new referrals.
9:30 - 12:00am: conduct therapy and assessments, usually at the patients' bedside in the wards.
12:00am: ward roun d with the multi-disciplinary team. This is attended by the medical doctors, head nursing sister, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, the dietician, and the social worker. Here we will discuss all of the patients in the ward, each giving our input and talking through any issues that may have arisen.
12:30-1pm: lunch, and a chance to catch up with my colleagues.
1pm-2pm: Assessments and therapy, both with in-patients and with patients who have been discharged from the hospital but are coming back for outpatient therapy.
2pm-4:30pm: Therapy with school-aged children. This is usually a mixture of individual and group therapy, with sessions lasting for 1 hour. The caseload consists mostly of children with stuttering, articulation, language and literacy difficulties.
4:30pm: make sure that all my patient notes are up-to-date, complete my stats forms, pack away my therapy materials and head home.
Ms N is an experienced Audiologist working in a private practice with adult patients.
8:30am: Arrive at work, check emails, look at diary and speak to secretary to start planning for the busy day ahead.
8:40am: Check on all hearing aids that have been ordered for fittings for the day. You need to make sure that they are the right colour and have the correct modifications that you ordered for your patient. Also check on any repairs that have come in for patients and make sure that your secretary contacts the clients to fetch their aids as soon as possible.
8:50am: First patient arrives early and is anxiously waiting for their new ears'. The patient is accompanied by a family member who will need to be included in this process.
Continue with more hearing aid fittings through morning.
For each new hearing aid, time must be spent going through all the user instructions carefully to ensure that your patient only leaves when they are confident that they are capable of using their new device. This would usually be a trial where the aid is given for a period of two weeks to give the client enough time to get used to all the new sounds that they can now hear. They will come back for a follow-up after this time where a decision will be made as to whether they would like to keep the trialled aid, try a different one, or simply decide that they are not ready.
1:00pm: Have a well-deserved lunch break!
1:30pm: Hearing Aid follow-up: Patients have many different reactions to trying a hearing aid for the first time. Many are thrilled and excited and tell you all the amazing things they have heard. This patient says: "I heard my child whispering I love you' for the first time."
2:15pm: Another Hearing Aid follow-up: This time the patient is surprised by the noises he now hears: "I can hear my own breathing, is that normal?", "Did you make my voice louder?" We then talk through all the issues and make a decision. I now need to send off an order form for the new aid and make a final fitting appointment.
3:00pm: The diagnostic appointment: A patient has been referred from ENT, and notes himself that there is a decrease in his hearing. A full range of hearing assessments is carried out to determine the nature of the hearing loss and determine the best way of managing it. The client has not realised the severity of his hearing problem and has not spoken about it with anyone before. We spend time talking about the difficulties he experiences at work and at home and I explain the nature of the hearing loss and offer recommendations.
After the last patient I return to my desk to deal with some paper work that needs to be followed up on: reports, referral letters, case notes.
6:00pm: I'm exhausted but happy after spending a day providing support and hope to my many patients.