The Missing Link for SLPs
The Missing Link for SLPs
The Missing Link for SLPs Episode: 108 The Speechless SLP Series #8: The Experience of Treating a Colleague

Download the show notes and full transcript of the conversation.

Whatever setting you work in, having an understanding of the various skills, and approach to care, of allied disciplines is important. In this eighth episode of the Speechless SLP series, Vanessa Abraham and I talk with the two Physical Therapists involved in her ICU care.

Discussion & Reflection Questions

  1. How can you find out what your patient or client’s motivators are to help with their recovery?

2. How can members of your health team communicate, collaborate, and build rapport with family members who want to be involved in the care of the patient?

3. Are there ways you can make treatment less scary for children to understand and/or witness?

4. In what ways can you collaborate and communicate with other professionals or the wider team involved in the care of your patient or client?

5. How much do you understand about the goals of other disciplines involved with your patients or clients?

6. How can you find out what your patient or client’s motivators are to help with their recovery?

“I think what’s most important in an ICU setting, especially if there’s family involved, is figuring out what their goals are, because I think there’s a lot of emotions going on when you’re a patient in the ICU. If we can make it functional, then I think we’ve done a good job if we start with that.”       

– Jess O’Brien         

“I think that with all the craziness that’s happening in the ICU, as therapists our role is a really special one because we can refocus things into function and meaningful tasks and life outside of the hospital. It’s hard when you’re just in the midst of it, but I think we have a really special role in that.”                      
Tara Kharrazian

Jess O’Brien, PT, DPT, CSRS

Jess O’Brien is a Physical Therapist, mom to two tiny humans and two doggies, military spouse, and ranch dressing enthusiast. 

Jess has been a PT for eight years, six of which have been at UC San Diego. She  became a PT because she was fascinated with human anatomy and really intrigued at how our bodies move, adapt, and heal. She is really passionate about ICU rehab and the importance of early mobility in critical care medicine. 

When she’s not in her scrubs at the hospital, she’s usually out and about exploring San Diego with her 2-year-old girl and brand new 4-month-old baby boy. Her husband is a Navy helicopter pilot and she is so proud of him every day. The Navy has blessed them with a home base of San Diego for the last seven years. Jess loves to swim, hike, travel, and consume a lot of Hidden Valley ranch dressing.

Contact Jessica O’Brien

Tara Kharrazian, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist II

Tara is from the DC metropolitan area, graduating from Virginia Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management and International Business. She switched gears and pursued physical therapy, receiving her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Old Dominion University. AHer role as a graduate teaching assistant sparked her interest in mentorship and teaching, leading her to become an APTA Certified Clinical Instructor. During her physical therapy career, she has worked at Trauma Level 1 hospitals and inpatient rehab centers in Virginia and California, treating patients with various neurological and traumatic disorders. Tara’s main areas of interest are traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury rehabilitation and is currently a member of the Spinal Cord Committee at UCSD hospital. Tara loves what she does and hopes to continue to see growth in and support for the field of physical therapy. Outside of the hospital, Tara enjoys everything San Diego has to offer but also loves a good night in.

Contact Tara Kharrazian

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’s always important for me to continue to show my gratitude towards everyone that did so much for my entire family. Sometimes you go home thinking did I do enough? Am I enough? Am I appreciated? I always wanted to make sure my team knew how much I appreciated everything that they did, and still do.”

Vanessa Abraham

“We can all picture ourselves in Vanessa’s position – the woman, the mother, the wife. We see everybody in the wholeness, we try to incorporate all of that.”

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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