Wanted: A Community of Leaders We need to move out of our traditional comfort zones to collaborate more routinely and comprehensively with colleagues in other disciplines. From the President
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From the President  |   June 2014
Wanted: A Community of Leaders
Author Notes
  • Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu
    Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   June 2014
Wanted: A Community of Leaders
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19062014.6
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19062014.6
In March at the opening of the Advisory Councils, we began a conversation about the notion that we are all members of multiple communities of people. We typically think of communities as being somewhat geographically determined, but they can also be determined by people who share interests, values or standards, or by the work they do and where they do it. In this context, ASHA is a community of professionals who share a vision: Every person has the right to effective communication, and it is our mission to help them achieve their communicative potential.
Even within the larger ASHA community there are smaller ones: audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech-language-hearing scientists; and members who work in public schools, in health care, in higher education, in science and research. Each of these smaller communities is important to the whole that is ASHA. What we need now in this time of dynamic change affecting both professions and all work settings is an additional community: a community of leaders.
As practice environments change in response to legislation and to the subsequent shifts in public policy, regulation and funding, we cannot sit on the sidelines. We must work to help ensure that our patients and clients continue to have access to positive communicative outcomes. It is through our work in support of them that we will continue to develop the discipline and professions and achieve our vision.
Leadership—and its derivative, advocacy—are major initiatives undertaken by large, comprehensive entities (ASHA, for example) but just as important, leadership can and needs to be undertaken by community members working in their own professional environments. ASHA has a multiyear strategic pathway and a broad and sophisticated advocacy plan, along with multiple and varied strategies and activities to carry them out and address the current challenges to our work and practices. But each work setting and practice environment has its own dynamics that only those who work in them can appreciate and effectively address.
When we finished our education and training and began our careers, most of us probably thought of professional leadership beyond our own patients and clients as a choice; however, with current emphasis on not just patient/client outcomes but also on satisfaction with those outcomes, we must be involved in the system that provides the care or educational service.
As stated by leadership gurus James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, “Leaders are pioneers. They are people who venture into unexplored territory. They guide us to new and often unfamiliar destinations. People who take the lead are foot soldiers in the campaigns for change ... the unique reason for having leaders—their differentiating function—is to move us forward. Leaders get us going someplace.” In this vein, we need to participate in and provide leadership to interprofessional practice, and we need to demonstrate our value as audiologists, SLPs or scientists to the complete plan of care that a patient/client experiences.
How can we accomplish these goals? The community of leaders needs to understand the environment and be prepared to minimize challenges and maximize opportunities. We have to move out of our traditional comfort zones to network and collaborate more routinely and comprehensively with colleagues in other disciplines (teachers, administrators, occupational and physical therapists, doctors, nurses, social workers, and others). It requires consistent use of evidence-based practices. It requires the thoughtful consideration of a patient’s functional status or a student’s academic status. It requires professionals to practice at the top of their license. It perhaps requires some tolerance for short-term ambiguity. But these efforts can bring greater satisfaction, success and sense of accomplishment in our strategic and collaborative efforts as interprofessional practitioners.
ASHA has many resources in place to support members as they begin to implement this increasingly important and, maybe for some, this new aspect of their professional role: the Practice Portal, evidence maps, functional communication measures (all available at www.asha.org) and the Identify the Signs campaign. Each year there are many opportunities for continuing education to develop members’ knowledge and skills. The recommendations coming from the Committee on Reframing the Professions and the Committee on Interprofessional Education will provide further direction to members as our roles continue to evolve.
At this juncture in our development as an association and a membership, we are very much interdependent. Our ability to act collectively as well as independently is fundamental to our ability to maintain our strength and vitality and to achieve our vision.
1 Comment
May 31, 2014
Kathleen Griffin
Bundled Payment
Well stated, Elizabeth! Enhancing relationships with other professionals as well as provider and payer organizations' leadership will be essential for speech-language pathologists and audiologists as bundled payment for post-acute care becomes increasingly prevalent - not just for Medicare fee-for-service but also for patients covered by Medicare Advantage Plans as well as Medicaid Managed Care and Commercial Health Plans. Expect to see many of the diagnoses with highest utilization of post-acute care in a bundled payment program within the next three years. While the post-acute bundling model for Medicare had limited participation in the first round 2 years ago, hundreds of organizations across the US applied this year.
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June 2014
Volume 19, Issue 6