November 1, 2013 Columns

Students Say: Relief From Externship Anxiety

Finding the right externship or clinical fellowship doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A recent graduate offers pointers for a successful search.

Greta Eikenberry, AuD

I am only too familiar with the stress and uncertainty of landing an externship, having recently gone through the process as an AuD student. Planning and preparing for the strict timeline of interviews, and knowing what to look for in potential sites can make this a better experience. Allow me to share several suggestions for those of you about to start your search.

An externship is best approached as the last time you will get one-on-one supervision to refine your skills. In the case of audiology, unless you've already decided which area will be your career focus, you want an externship that gives you experience in as many aspects as possible. This variety will help you decide on an area to work in and give you experience needed to apply and interview for positions. Many of the tips and websites I share here also apply to newly graduated speech-language pathologists searching for a clinical fellowship.

Nailing the interview

Interview preparation should include mock interview questions and actual practice scenarios. Many resources are available online, but navigating them can be a challenge in itself. Here are some websites I found helpful.

  • ASHA and the American Academy of Audiology provide a broad overview on how to prepare for an interview.
  • For links to sites with lists of tips and articles on interviewing, visit About.com. You'll find potential interview questions with a "best answer" for each of them—a good way to self test your preparedness.
  • Behavioral interviews—in which employers ask how you handled specific situations in the past to determine if you have the skills they are looking for—are also very popular.

You are also interviewing them

Applying and interviewing for externships is similar to doing so for graduate school. You seek an externship site that will give you an excellent education so you may confidently apply for jobs. Keep the following in mind:

  • Learn exactly what your schedule will look like. A site may offer a variety of services with a range of populations, which would give you expertise in many areas. But make sure this broad exposure is available in your externship. You don't want to be limited.
  • Ask about your qualifications at the end of your externship. For instance, if you want to get a job working with cochlear implants right out of school, make sure you will have sufficient opportunities to become competent in that field.
  • Be realistic. If a site promises too much, it's too good to be true. No one graduates with complete competence in every area of audiology. If your site promises that, make them get real and tell you what to expect.
  • Know what level of supervision you will have—and be specific. Will you be 100 percent supervised and gradually taper off, or will you go from 100 percent to 0 percent in a matter of weeks?
  • Make sure the site is interested in your education and in making you a good audiologist. They shouldn't treat you as a full-time, independent audiologist with your own schedule and little to no supervision. (You'll get there eventually, but you can't start there.)

Good luck with your site search and interviews!

Greta Eikenberry, AuD, recently received her clinical doctorate from Arizona State University following an externship at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She is a pediatric audiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. geikenbe@gmail.com

cite as: Eikenberry, G. (2013, November 01). Students Say: Relief From Externship Anxiety. The ASHA Leader.

  

Advertise With UsAdvertisement