Speech-language pathologists have the option to work in a variety of settings over the course of their career, and many of them choose to go into private practice. As is true with any professional environment, opening one’s own practice comes with upsides and downsides. 

During our most recent episode of The Missing Link for SLPs podcast, Marie Severson, owner of Madison Speech Therapy, elaborated on one of the benefits of starting a private practice: the ability to provide the standard of care you deem necessary.

Marie has been working as an SLP for about four years now, but she’s worked in numerous medical SLP settings thus far, covering everything from acute care to home health care. Of course, structured medical setups like these come with their own challenges — one of them being that many factors play into the care a patient receives. Sadly, these can occasionally become barriers for clinicians who believe their patients could benefit from further treatment.

Obstacles like a facility’s budget, the amount of time doctors and clinicians can spend with each patient, productivity requirements, and health insurance must be considered when providing treatment in a medical setting. Those focused on patient-centered care must then balance that practice with the realities of whatever environment they find themselves in. This can prove a difficult task for clinicians committed to providing the highest-quality standard of care.

That’s why many of them choose to strike out on their own and go the private-practice route.

How Private Practices Offer Increased Flexibility

While private practices are still beholden to things like health insurance, having complete control over the way your facility runs can make a huge difference to the type of treatment you provide. Running a private practice enables SLPs to set their own productivity standards and scheduling practices, allocating as much or as little time as they choose for their clients. 

Being the owner of a private practice also comes with the responsibility of deciding which treatment is best for each patient without running it by a lineup of other professionals beforehand. In a hospital or clinic, doctors and a team of therapists will likely need to sign off on any treatment before it’s implemented. In private practice, an SLP can offer clients what they believe is necessary without jumping through hoops or being told “no.” 

In these ways, private practice facilitates patient-centered care in a way that more structured SLP settings simply aren’t able to. Of course, opening your own facility isn’t all benefits; this path comes with challenges of its own, and those are certainly worth considering before diving in. Having more power over client care comes with more responsibility as well — and that means private-practice SLPs face an increased workload and higher accountability.

Want to learn more about Lauren 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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