A Day in the Life of an Acute Care SLP: What to Expect From This Setting

Medical SLPs come in all shapes and sizes, spanning a variety of settings and populations. Acute care is one environment burgeoning clinicians can move into, and it’s precisely where our latest podcast guest, Emily Hosokawa, finds herself. Emily transitioned directly from her clinical fellowship to an acute care setting, and she’s found fulfillment even in the challenging aspects of the role. 

During the latest episode of The Missing Link for SLPs podcast, Emily walked us through what a typical day looks like as an acute care clinician. While every facility runs differently, here are some of the things SLPs can expect from this setting.

You’ll Get a Little Bit of Everything

SLPs looking for a wide range of responsibilities in their chosen profession will find that acute care involves a lot of moving parts. Clinical swallow evaluations, video swallow studies, FEES, and cognitive evaluations all make up Emily’s typical schedule. There’s plenty to do, so those looking to throw themselves into the medical SLP field won’t have trouble doing so in acute care.

Collaboration Is Key

Like most medical SLP settings, acute care involves a great deal of teamwork. Clinicians in these facilities will need to work with other professionals —  including doctors, radiologists, and nurse practitioners — in order to ensure patients are receiving optimal levels of care. 

Not only will SLPs need to collaborate with the rest of their team to provide consistent treatment, but they’ll need to build professional relationships so they can advocate for their patients.

It’s All About Advocacy

Advocacy is an important aspect of speech pathology across the board, but it’s especially essential in settings where some patients may be unable to communicate their needs themselves. Those patients often find themselves in acute care, so SLPs working in that setting need to take extra care when addressing their needs.

Find a Mentor

If you’re new to the acute care setting, finding a mentor with similar experience is a smart move. They’ll offer someone to turn to when you’re unsure of treatment plans or have questions, and they can help you advocate for yourself and your patients. 

Building confidence is made significantly easier with a mentor, and confidence is key to moving forward in a medical SLP setting. While newer SLPs should never “fake it,” they should always embrace their strengths and individual expertise. That sets up the best possible environment for their patients, coworkers, and themselves.

Want to learn more about Emily and her journey to becoming an SLP? Listen to her and Mattie chat on The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast.

Did you know Mattie provides coaching to SLPs? Learn more here.

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