Clinical Practicum Highlight- St. Bernard’s Medical Center

Dallas Johnson shares about her Summer 2020 externship experience:

“For my offsite placement, I was at St. Bernard’s Medical Center. My caseload consisted of adults over the age of 50 with a few who were younger. Most of my patients had a history of CVA, TIA, TBI, pneumonia, cancer, respiratory failure, and heart failure. Each patient that I saw either had difficulties swallowing, cognitive decline, and expressive and receptive language. A typical day at my placement would be to come in and chart review, perform VFSS in X-Ray in the morning, do bedside swallow evaluations or diet tolerance evaluations, perform swallowing therapy, and assess speech & language/provide treatment. Each day we received new patients with different diagnoses and admission reasons allowing me the chance to see a wide variety of clinical scenarios. I had many patients go to hospice which showed me how real and raw that this job can be. We are taught in our classes how important and special it is to share a meal with our loved ones and eat to be fulfilled. When patients are in that portion of their life, eating for pleasure is sometimes the choice when they are heading to hospice. On the other hand, there were many patients who recovered their speech, language, and swallowing abilities all with a little therapy. It was really rewarding to get to see these patients be able to get their life back. My supervisor was wonderful. He allowed us to learn the role of being a hospital SLP in a stress-free environment and taught us to take our mistakes as lesson to be a better clinician in the future. Taking neuro and dysphagia my first year really prepared me for this experience. Though those classes were hard, and I didn’t believe that I could survive them, they allowed me to make clinical decisions like I had been doing it my whole life. I will really miss going to St Bernard’s every day, but I am happy for the connections I made while I was there.”

Thank you for sharing, Dallas!

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