I have been an employee of Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System since June 2002. My first position was a nursing assistant in the surgical intensive and post-anesthesia care units, where I learned to demonstrate my skills and abilities. I learned to work with and without supervision and how to prioritize and handle concurrent assignments.
I have carried these skills into my job as an audiology assistant, which I have had for just over three years. I have worked in the health care field for more than 20 years, and I have relatives and a friend who use assistive listening devices. A position became available in this field, providing me an opportunity—an open door for me to learn. I completed an online course for audiology assistants, and I'm now pursuing an associate of arts (AA) degree. I work in a department with 10 audiologists and two other assistants. My duties include taking earmold impressions, modifying hearing aids, checking scopes for expiration, and stocking supplies.
I am also involved with three workplace committees: Civility, Respect, and Engagement in the Workforce (CREW), which promotes and addresses issues and concerns with co-workers; the Diversity Advisory Committee, which observes and highlights the capabilities of minorities and women, creates an awareness of cultural diversity, and emphasizes the unique contributions of minority groups; and a quality management effort on hand-hygiene practices. I also am a mentor in one of our educational leadership programs, Success Through Employee Preparation (STEP), which educates employees on general VA practices, operations, and processes.
The most rewarding part of my job is showing care for our veterans. I am thankful that I have the skills—a positive attitude, a caring heart, and the ability to listen—to help them. I consider my greatest strength the ability to serve others, and I am grateful to work with a staff that includes four audiologists who have more than 30 years of experience in the field and who are well-educated on the latest technology. I have attended several health tech/assistant workshops, and have learned a lot, but there is always more to learn!
Some of the challenges I face as an audiology assistant are the variety and quantity of very demanding tasks I carry out to meet the needs of our veterans. My education, including my online audiology assistant program, workshops, and on-the-job training, have helped me immensely. I would like to see a licensure requirement for audiology assistants in every state, similar to the requirement for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who often assist registered nurses.
My current AA coursework will enhance my abilities to become more advanced in the field of audiology. It should be very beneficial to me to become an affiliate of ASHA because of the educational opportunities the Associates Program will provide, the possible mentoring programs, and opportunities to share information with other audiology assistants and audiologists.