Blogjam What can we do to bridge the research-practice gap? SLP Heather Jeng, writing for the Tactus Therapy blog, interviewed eight professionals in communication sciences and disorders for their opinions about the problem and how they think it can be fixed. Three clinicians, three researchers and two students offered their ... Blogjam
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Blogjam  |   December 01, 2015
Blogjam
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Blogjam
Blogjam   |   December 01, 2015
Blogjam
The ASHA Leader, December 2015, Vol. 20, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20122015.20
The ASHA Leader, December 2015, Vol. 20, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20122015.20
Mind the Gap
What can we do to bridge the research-practice gap? SLP Heather Jeng, writing for the Tactus Therapy blog, interviewed eight professionals in communication sciences and disorders for their opinions about the problem and how they think it can be fixed.
Three clinicians, three researchers and two students offered their insights, touching on communication, culture, learning principles, research direction and solutions.
For example, researchers and clinicians prefer to communicate with each other in different ways. All the clinicians reported using Twitter and Facebook for professional dialogue, Jeng says, “while researchers tended to refer to the ASHA Community and conferences as where they interact with clinicians.”
Everyone interviewed said they know fixing the gap will take work from both sides. “Just as we extend empathy to our clients and students, we need to extend that same empathy to whatever role you are not,” one researcher said.
Outfitted for SNFs
A recent speech-language pathology graduate—worried about productivity standards in her upcoming clinical fellowship year at a skilled nursing facility (SNF), where most patients are seen for cognition and swallowing disorders—wrote to Gray Matter Therapy’s Rachel Wynn asking for advice. In response, Wynn posted resources and links on her blog for any newbies entering rehab centers.
“Have a game plan for how you will assess swallowing function,” Wynn advises, sharing a previous blog post with mnemonic tips. She also notes the importance of understanding the difference between rehab and habilitative approaches for people with dementia, and she links to a post from an SLP who already completed her fellowship year in a SNF.
Wynn suggests doing research about which type of assessments are used in your building. “Also, develop a game plan for informal assessment, which I find incredibly helpful for developing functional goals,” she writes.
As for productivity? “My advice to you is to not worry about [it.] … When your company hired you, they knew you were a new graduate,” Wynn writes. “New clinicians often need more time to get oriented to a new employment setting and providing patient care. Focus on excellent patient care and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great therapist!”
Plan on It
Communication—with patients, families, physicians, other health care providers—is crucial to providing appropriate care. Do you have a plan for communicating effectively with all these groups?
“With such varied information to convey to a diverse set of listeners, no wonder clinicians are overwhelmed, particularly if the setting is new to them or if the disorders are complex,” writes speech-language pathologist Pamela A. Smith in a blog post for Dysphagia Café. She shares how to plan for and tailor interactions to fit each unique situation.
  • Establish positive relationships. It may take some time, but you need to gain the respect of the colleagues you work with. “One cannot walk into a health care setting with an assumption that one’s judgment will automatically be respected,” Smith writes.

  • Consider the listener’s code. “The receiver interprets the message in the context of their own experience and the way they think and feel about situations.” Smith suggests tweaking the content and delivery method of your message based on the priorities of the person receiving it.

  • Give them what they need. Develop a short “elevator speech” about your services so your communication with other busy professionals is understood quickly and appropriately.

In her post, Smith also includes examples of communication plans for physicians, nurses and administrators, as well as for patients and families.
On the Road Again
When you’re a busy SLP traveling to and from client homes, day cares and other settings, you spend a lot of time in the car—and Sublime Speech blogger Danielle Reed can relate.
“One of the things I have learned is what I need to have to make my ‘Speechmobile’ a functioning ‘office’ during the day,” she writes in a post listing her 10 must-have items for every mobile SLP.
First, Reed conquers safety and hunger: an emergency roadside tool kit can save you from mishaps, weather-related or not, and a packed lunch ensures you won’t have to skip a meal if your schedule gets tricky. Don’t forget car-friendly snacks (think foods that won’t melt and are nonperishable) and a water bottle, too—you need to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Bringing along an iPad or computer can allow you to use spare time or last-minute cancellations to do paperwork. Also consider buying some organizers for travel-friendly office supplies and other materials; investing in a big, sturdy bag makes it less stressful and less time-consuming to transition from car to appointments.
And when you spend hours in the car, “there’s only so much T. Swift a person can listen to,” Reed writes, suggesting podcasts as an alternative. And don’t forget your mileage tracker and map apps, she advises.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2015
Volume 20, Issue 12