The Missing Link for SLPs
The Missing Link for SLPs
The Missing Link for SLPs Episode: 107 The Speechless SLP Series #7: The Perspective of Treating One of Our Own Through Conversations with ICU and OP SLPs

Download the show notes and full transcript of the conversation.

It can be a daunting prospect for any health professional to have to treat a member of their own profession.  In this episode, we hear from two SLPs, Danielle Torrez and Sherry Ewing. They talk about how they manage their respective roles in acute care and outpatient settings with Vanessa Abraham.

Discussion & Reflection Questions

  1. Working with colleagues or friends who may become patients or clients can be tricky in terms of privacy confidentiality. How can you manage your relationship with them and others when you communicate to ensure you adhere to HIPAA?
  2. How do you balance “productivity” requirements in your workplace with ensuring you meet your patient’s needs?
  3. What is your approach to having a patient’s family members present in the room?
  4. Are any of the downloadable online apps helpful to use with your patients/clients?
  5. How can you advocate with other health professionals for resources, tools, and services that your patients/clients may need?

Make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and try your best to not let emotions get in the way.  Look from a patient perspective so that you’re not missing anything, but also be able to keep it clinical and professional.”   

Danielle Torrez            


With all patients it’s always important that connection that you establish on day one. I call it the “buy-in” to the situation and the therapy. If you don’t have that connection, I don’t think you’re going to establish trust.”       

Sherry Ewing

Danielle Torrez, MA, CCC-SLP

Danielle Torrez began practicing as an SLP in 2015. She has spent most of her time working in acute care, and has made it a point to also gain experience in acute rehab, outpatient and SNF settings, but her true passion is acute care. She currently holds a full time inpatient position at UC San Diego Health. She  has a particular interest in dysphagia management, burn rehabilitation, and trach/vent management. Danielle lives in sunny San Diego, CA, and has a lovely retriever mixed rescue dog named Libby. In her spare time, you’ll find her at the beach, on a hiking trail, or spending quality time with her other half, Jason or family/friends. 


Sherry Ewing,  MS, CCC/SLP

Sherry Ewing has been a speech, language pathologist since 1995. She received her Master’s of Science degree at Loma Linda University in Southern California. She has been a medical SLP for her entire career. She works at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, CA in both the outpatient and inpatient settings. She especially enjoys treating head and neck cancer patients as well as dysphagia in general. She lives in Palm Springs CA with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not working, she fills her time with hiking and pilates. Being a speech language pathologist has been a true joy in her life.


Vanessa Abraham, 


Vanessa is a wife, mother and school based Speech-Language Pathologist. 

She learned firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of speech services after experiencing a sudden-onset critical illness that left her with limb and neck paralysis as well as a PEG tube and tracheotomy. 

She was thrown into the rehabilitation world after being an independent, healthy and vibrant young mother. Through many swallow studies, voice therapy, OT and PT, she had to learn to eat, talk and move again. 

Her goal now is to help people critically ill patients cope with the grief they experience after a critical illness through speaking up about the topic of Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), depression and anxiety post ICU in addition to educating families and patients about the various rehab modalities that have been successful for her.

Contact Vanessa Abraham

“It gave me great comfort knowing that Danielle and Sherry both knew various people in my little circle of SLPs. Looking back, it gives me comfort knowing that there was communication within HIPAA guidelines – appropriate communication. “

Vanessa Abraham

Come in at the patient’s level, involve family members, as much as you can, involve the patient’s input, be positive, empower them with tools and activities, education, visual, repetitive, clear and straightforward.”

Mattie Murrey-Tegels

Mattie Murrey Tegel, MA, CCC-SLP, L, CPC, CLSC
Medical Speech-Language Pathologist and Founder of Fresh SLP

Mattie Murrey-Tegels is the founder and SLP behind Fresh SLP and The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. She’s been “in-the-trenches” as a medical SLP around the world for over 25 years and now an Assistant Professor for 3 years. She is thrilled to be adding this dream of a podcast because paying her experiences forward is something she is very passionate about. If you ask her patients and students, one thing they will remember is how much she loves her job! She may not look like it but she is a huge introvert and when she is not actively working as an SLP, she is almost always reading, writing (writing over 1,000,000 words a year), or listening to amazing Chicago Blues bands. She also loves being outdoors and definitely enjoys soaking up the sun at her home in Minnesota, where warm and sunny days can be limited. She’s ridden motorcycles for many years, raced sled dogs, hiked huge mountains yet she cherishes the quiet moments of climbing into a hammock to nap or timeless conversations with friends and family.

The Missing Link for SLPs podcast and Fresh SLP is her legacy, giving back to a career that has so richly rewarded her.

Thank you for listening to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast! If you enjoyed the show, I’d love you to subscribe, rate it and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.

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Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers.

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