I know, I know! You are excited about your career and want to do it all and you want to do it all now! It is a heady experience.
My grandfather was a well-known surgeon in Chicago in the early 1900s and I always remember him telling me that the smartest he was was when he graduated from high school because he thought he “knew everything” and the more he learned, the more he knew what he didn’t know. It is the same with first getting into the field. We want to “do it all”! Guess what? That feeling doesn’t go away so here are some words of wisdom:
Don’t run faster than your guardian SLP angel can fly.
- Know what you don’t know. Be responsible and treat only what you can actually help your patients. In our ASHA code of ethics, we agree to “Do no harm.” So how does one learn? First, read and learn. Take a course, get the education and learn from skilled SLPs in the field who do have the experience. Do some shadowing.
- Stay active on social media. There are specific groups on the internet that chat about these topics all the time so follow those conversations and ask those questions. You might even start in our Fresh SLP Community for New & Transitioning SLPs on Facebook 😉
- Be humble. It’s okay to not know something. There is always something to learn. Have a growth mindset of openness and teachability.
- Ask “What if…” As a professor, I will verify that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Ask those questions – of your professors, experienced SLPs or a trainer. It is better to ask and learn than not ask and do harm. In fact, I hold a live Q&A webinar every month to foster community and a safe space to ask anything, and there are also many podcasts dedicated to those questions you may be reluctant to ask because you don’t want to appear as not knowing – yet you NEED to know.
- Be friendly. The SLP world is not always friendly and is quite often competitive. Find others who have the same openness and surround yourself with others who support you.