Sydney Elliott shares about her Summer 2021 externship experience:
“I completed my summer clinical practicum in the acute care inpatient hospital setting at White River Medical Center. I saw patients throughout the hospital – from the intensive care unit to observation. Although patient diagnoses varied greatly, the most common diagnoses for patients I treated included stroke, COPD exacerbation, respiratory distress, urinary tract infection with altered mental status, or hyponatremia. I also treated several individuals with a history of head and neck cancer, tracheostomy placements, or recent extubations. On a typical day, my caseload ranged from 5 to 12 patients. I also completed roughly 3 videofluoroscopic evaluations each week.
The first order of business each day was to complete clinical swallow evaluations for patients who were NPO. During these evaluations, speech, language, voice, and cognition were also assessed. Instrumental assessments were not frequently conducted, but videofluoroscopy was ordered when indicated. Patients often required additional services after the initial evaluation, but many patients also demonstrated no deficits and did not require additional services. After completing evaluations for NPO patients, I moved on to evaluate patients already placed on a diet by a physician. The final section of my caseload each day included patients receiving treatment rather than evaluation. Treatment often included direct therapy to improve swallowing, intervention to improve cognition, exercises to improve motor speech, or receptive/expressive language tasks for aphasia.
I am so grateful for my time at White River, my supervisor, and the knowledge that I gained. I am also thankful for the HU SLP program and the preparation I received for this placement. Despite any nerves I had, my coursework thus far left me completely prepared to evaluate and treat patients with a wide range of diagnoses.”
Thank you for sharing, Sydney!