August 24, 2022
7 – 9 p.m. ET
Presented and sponsored by The Medical SLP Collective
Join our live chat about professional development for future and current medical SLPs. Our distinguished panelists will share tips and experiences related to job interviews, building your resume, how to improve your chances of landing a medical SLP job, when to look elsewhere, and dealing with rejection. Participants will learn how to ignite change in medical facilities through new SLP-led protocols or programs. Ask questions and discover ways to make an impact in the medical SLP world.
This free event is open to all ASHA members and non-members. It is not offered for PDHs, CMHs, or ASHA CEUs.
Following is the transcript from this text-based event (no audio or video).
Justin Goldstein, ASHA Moderator
Welcome everyone! We will be getting started shortly.
Before we begin taking questions, I would like to make a few administrative comments.
Please give a big Thank You to sponsor The Medical SLP Collective
ASHA Free Offers (https://medslpcollective.com/asha-free-offers/)
Ok, it's officially time to start.
Theresa Richard is a medical speech-language pathologist and Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. While owning and operating a mobile FEES business, she discovered that medical SLPs were wanting simpler ways to keep up to date on evidence-based practice. She created the Swallow Your Pride podcast which debuted at #11 on the Science and Medicine chart and currently has over 3.5 million downloads. She has been an invited keynote speaker for several conventions, has served as President of the Nevada Speech & Hearing Association, and has been featured in Authority Magazine, Medium, and Thrive Global.
Theresa continues to work tirelessly to advocate for patients with swallowing disorders and was invited to contribute to 2 papers for the Dysphagia journal on assessing and treating dysphagia during COVID. The recent release of her new book for patients with dysphagia called “So You’re Having Trouble Swallowing,” is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble best seller.
Theresa is the founder and CEO of the Medical SLP Collective which currently has over 6,000 members to provide editorial-reviewed resources, webinars for ASHA CEUs, and mentorship. She also created MedSLP Education which provides solid foundational medical courses exclusively for SLPs.
Katie Moore has been a SLP for 14 years with experience working in a variety of adult medical settings. She has worked as an adjunct professor teaching both voice and swallowing disorders classes at the graduate level. She currently works in outpatient rehab for a large health system, treating patients with head and neck cancer, neurological disorders and dementia and working on expanding SLP services within our health system. Katie is also a mentor for and assists with community management for the MedSLP Collective.
Question 1: Submitted by Hayley
What are some certifications you would recommend in terms of medical devices that might help me further my career?
It is important to think about the setting in which you want to work as well as ages. In most acute care setting, your time with patients is very short and will consist more of diagnostic evaluations, so training in swallowing evaluations life FEES and MBSS/VFSS can be very beneficial, however is skilled nursing and outpatient rehab, you will be seeing your patients for a lot more therapy so trainings in modalities such as biofeedback and sEMG - companies such as AmpCare and Vital Stim offer specific trainings for their devices (I do not endorse or promote any of these companies). Additional trainings in modalities (LSVT LOUD, SpeakOUT!) for populations such as Parkinson's Disease can be extremely helpful as well (again, I do not promote or benefit from any of these companies)
Question 2: Submitted by Maggie Clancy
Hello! I am a senior undergraduate student hoping to work as a medical SLP after graduate school. What do you recommend as opportunities for me to gain experience in the field (and in a medical setting) while I cannot yet work as an SLP or SLPA? I'm having a hard time finding SLP-related internships.
Anything such as a therapy aide or nursing assistant would help to get you experience in a medical setting. Even working in a medical records office, a secretary on a rehab floor, or an aide in a classroom with medically complex children can help. I worked as an administrative assistant in a private clinic during undergrad and it helped me to understand the medical complexities that I would be working with later in my career. Best of luck to you!
Question 3: Submitted by Emily Bedo
How do I keep my goals realistic when applying to a job I really want? Are there things I shouldnt put on a resume?
Applying for medical SLP jobs can be very competitive. When formulating your resume, it is important to tailor your resume for each job you are applying to instead of having one generic resume. Depending on the job (setting, amount of experience they are looking for), find ways to make yourself stand out from other applicants, while being careful to not 'over-sell' your skills. When I am interviewing new candidates, the resumes that stand out to me are resumes that are structured around skills and not job duties.
Question 4: Submitted by Emily Bedo
Any tips for combating burnout and the stress of a huge caseload?
Thanks for your great question! I'll tackle this in 2 parts:
Question 5: Submitted by Rochelle Citron
What is your view of the future of the industry? Hours being cut, not enough reimbursement. PT's trying to do our jobs?
Hi Rochelle, can you explain more about PTs doing your job? I'm happy to help answer the rest.
Question 6: Submitted by Brianna
I'm conflicted about getting into a health care related position. It seems like a volatile place of work at the moment. Are there any good blogs or podcasts that can help me make a more informed decision?
Hi Brianna! Every facility and setting is different. There's wonderful facilities and not so wonderful ones. If you're passionate about working in this setting, I would encourage you to try! You may have to be very picky about where you decide to work, what the mentorship, productivity, and caseload ratios look like during your interview process, but it can be incredibly rewarding if you desire!
I have a podcast called Swallow Your Pride that might be helpful to you! My friend Lauren Hermann also wrote a book called "But My Speech is Fine," where she shares short stories of all areas that SLPs can work in and it's very encouraging!
Question 7: Submitted by Rochelle Citron
Oh shoot!! I meant to say OT's. It seems like some facilities want to cross train them into SLP scope of practice.
No problem! Here's a great article from ASHA about their response to the use of OTs in dysphagia: https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/2022-0215-slps-preferred-dysphagia-providers/full/
I believe the future is still incredibly bright for our profession, especially as the baby boomers are increasing in age, pediatric feeding disorders are increasing in prevalence, and we're still managing a lot of post-COVID patients. My advice is to really specialize in treating a specific population so that you are the "go to" person in your area or facility for that population. I hope that helps!
Question 7: Submitted by Becca
I'm so mentally exhausted every day after work, where do people find time for Professional Development? Plus my employer doesnt always cover it.
I can very much relate to your feeling of exhaustion everyday after work and finding that work/life balance as well as time for professional development. First, I think it's important to determine why you are coming home exhausted everyday - is it from caregiver fatigue/burnout, the physical demands of the job, frustration from things are work that become barriers to doing your job - and tackling that first. In regards to professional development and finding the time and funding for this, I have experienced that when I look at professional development as an investment for myself, and not just a requirement for maintain my state license or ASHA certification, I am better able to 'find the time' to do it. I have noticed that many employers are cutting funds for professional development, however, I have had success when I can present to administration, how, approving a course can provide a positive impact for the company - new services that they can use to advertise for marketing, or provide a new service that wasn't offered prior. Professional development is also an investment in yourself, so finding ways to save some money every month, even if it's just $5-$10, can add up to a subscription to online CEU sites that offer essentially unlimited CEU's for a flat fee for a year - any many times, you can use promotional codes for even more of a discounted rate, or refer a colleague or friend for additional discounts.
Question 8: Submitted by Tiffany Gleason
What should I NOT say during an interview?
I love this question! When interviewing for positions, I think it is important to remember that multiple SLP's are applying for that same position and the interviewers are looking for someone who stands out. I want interviewee's to let their personality come through in their responses, that show you have thought about the response, but that it's also not a generic/canned response. I would be very careful in outlining any demands or expectations that might make you seem "inflexible". Employers will want to see that your responses reflect self reflection, team work and incorporation of prior experiences (even if not related to the SLP world). Also, don't lie. If you don't know that answer to something, I would much rather the interviewee say they don't know, but outline steps they would take to find the answer.
I know interviewing can be intimidating and 'scary', but be confident in your skills and let your personality shine!
Question 9: Submitted by Becca
How do we advocate for better pay in rehab facilities? What can we do to make ourselves more marketable?
Thanks Becca, it can vary widely from company to company and even facility to facility. I think as long as we're accepting lower rates it's going to stay low. When we push back and advocate for what we deserve, the outcome can be much better. I always suggest specializing is the best way to make yourself more marketable. Become an expert in a specific area, take more courses and certifications to show that you can help get the best outcomes for the patients and help decrease length of stay. If your facility likes talking dollars and cents, explaining how those extra courses can benefit the facility in the long term is always helpful. I hope that helps!
Question 10: Submitted by Amanda Cross
Are there any websites or professional companies that can help with resume writing for SLP's?
The MedSLP Collective is hosting a free workshop next Tuesday and Wednesday that is featuring a resume writing talk. There will also be an opportunity to purchase a package to receive individual feedback on your resume. You can click the link for the free resources to be taken to the workshop page!
Question 11: Submitted by Maureen
Can the panelists share how they gained experience and confidence before applying for their first real jobs?
Applying for and interviewing for your first job is such a huge milestone! As a new grad entering the workforce, it can be intimidating to know that you might be interviewing against seasoned clinicians. However, new grad's can bring a lot to the table! Use the skills you've gained during your internships to highlight what you can bring to the table. Skills based resumes can highlight this really well, especially when you feel you might not have gotten that particular internship in a certain setting, that could have given you edge up in the job search. Interpersonal skills go a long way in this process!
While applying and interviewing for jobs, find ways to volunteer and get involved in related areas to 'get your name out there'. Connect with local SLP's for networking and request to observe. This type of initiative can really make you stand out in the job application process!
For new grads specifically, I think it's so important to know your strengths AND your weaknesses. Working in any sort of adjacent setting can help such as a preschool or as an admin assistant in a medical facility and using those experiences to portray what you're passionate about, what you're good at, and what you've learned that you're not so strong in, and that shows self awareness and emotional intelligence which is very important to have as you enter any new position and become part of a team. I hope this is helpful!
Question 12: Submitted by Karen George
How do you work through rejection when you feel you were a great fit?
The MedSLP Collective is hosting a free workshop next Tuesday and Wednesday and I'm actually covering this topic so here's the cliff notes:
I hope this is helpful!
Question 13: Submitted by Karen George
What are the most important points to make to consider when tailoring your resume to a position?
I am a big fan of tailoring your resume to the position you are applying for! When doing this, it is important to understand the job requirements/responsibilities for the position. This may require you to reach out to the HR department for more information, if you don't feel you have enough information in the job listing. When listing skills and experience in your resume, highlight the information that is most relevant to the new position - for instance if the position is looking for someone to build caseloads and expand services, highlight experiences you have had doing this in your past/current role - even if it is not the same setting or even a completely different job type, you can highlight the skills you utilized to build a program/expand the program etc. When you tailor your resume to the position, it shows initiative and interest. Often times it does not require a complete overhaul of your resume, but rather a few wording changes or re-arranging your work history to highlight more skills based experience (especially if your are looking for a bigger job change like pediatrics to adults or outpatient to acute care, etc).
Question 14: Submitted by Kresta Lee
Can you share some professional development courses outside of the norm that might boost chances of job attainment?
Hi Kresta, I love this question! I will actually throw this back at you, because I think it needs to be whatever you're most passionate about. There are tons of great courses out there but if they are in settings or populations that you aren't crazy about, then you might have job attainment without career fulfillment. It's very obvious to me when people come to an interview and are just there "to get the job" versus demonstrating that they are passionate about this setting and population, and intend to be in there for the long haul, so I would seek out whatever lights you up as that will help you to interview much better than any standard course.
That being said, if there are specific topic areas that do interest you please let me know and I can share some courses if I know of any!
Question 15: Submitted by Shanta R.
What are some of the details (that stand out) to include when highlighting your experience and certification on your resume?
I'm seeing a change in resume presentation that is moving away from listing work experience with job responsibilities, to more of skill based resumes. You do want to include your prior work history as well as advanced certifications, but highlighting the skills you have obtained and mastered is really important. For instance, when I see an applicant with a long list of "certifications', especially if they are scattered in multiple different areas, I start to question how this person is applying all of these certifications and knowledge into their clinical practice, or are the certifications obtained to add 'fluff' to the resume. I am more impressed by resumes that have 1-2 advanced trainings but have an explanation of how you have utilized that training in your clinical practice to improve services and advance practice patterns in your current role.
When listing your work history and responsibilities, I want to know what made you stand out from your co-workers who held the same position you did and how that could be an asset to your potential new employer.
Question 16: Submitted by Shanta R.
When it comes to someone's strengths and weaknesses? What is the best way to share these during an interview when asked?
Hi Shanta, this is a great question! This is great to talk through with a peer or colleague before an interview, ask for honest feedback from old supervisors or friends you might have. Depending on if the question is very general in relation to your personality or specific to job requirements will yield different responses, but it's important to share both. There are many different personality test type things freely available online that I think can provide some great self reflection - things such as working well in a team, very open to constructive criticism, able to adapt in a busy environment, those types of things. Then in relation to specific job requirements, just being very honest about your experience with different things and whether it was tough for you but you're willing to learn and adapt, or you've learned certain areas aren't a good fit. Spending some time doing some self reflection about previous experiences both personal and professional can help a ton during the interview!
Question 17: Submitted by Jessie
How do you negotiate for a raise? Any tips?
Great question! Engaging in conversations regarding pay raises can be really challenging. Some things that you can do to help advocate for yourself is to come to that meeting prepared to 'sell yourself' and market everything you have done to help your current company be successful. Unfortunately, even though we work in healthcare, we still live in a financial driven world, so providing ways that you have helped with cost savings or expanded services will be key in essentially justifying your raise. Do you research ahead of time for fair market in your area and setting with years of experience. Explore options within your company for pay advancement - many hospital systems have a clinical ladder you can apply for that is associated with pay raises - if you don't have one, can you advocate for one?
When engaging in these conversations, I would not expect to be given a 'yes' your first time asking. However, ask your administration what they would need to see to justify a raise. Be mindful on when you ask for a pay raise - did you company just email staff about a bad financial quarter or having to let staff go due to finances? Have you or your department been slower than usual? Those are not ideal times to ask for a pay raise.
That being said, it is important to know your worth, and if you feel that you are compensated appropriately for your job, it is also OK to explore other options that would better match your needs.
Justin Goldstein, ASHA Moderator
Hi everyone! Thanks so much for attending - the questions were great!
The MedSLP Collective will be hosting a FREE Professional Growth Workshop next Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 8-10pmEST. Head to medslpcollective.com/workshop to check out the speaker lineup and to register. We also will have open enrollment for the MedSLP Collective if you're looking for resources, mentorship, and webinars for ASHA CEUs at medslpcollective.com. We'll also have a booth at the ASHA Convention in New Orleans with lots of fun giveaways and specials so come see us there!
Thank you all so much for your great questions and comments and thank you, panelists, for your time and great information!
Justin Goldstein, ASHA Moderator
Please visit https://medslpcollective.com/asha-free-offers/ for more information