Monday, September 29, 2008
A Beginning Clinician
I guess that since I now have a gold-colored plastic nametag that says “Emily MacLeod, Student Clinician,” that makes me one. I have had two clinic sessions, one with each of my clients. I have a clinic partner with whom I will be developing goals, strategies, and tasks, and a supervisor who will send us reflections on each clinical session, letting us know what strengths we exhibit and what weaknesses we can work on.
The first session with each client is devoted to evaluation. The clinic does not run over the summer, so even if the client is returning to our clinic they have not been there for the past four months or so. My first client is new to our clinic, and we did not have so much as a medical record for him. We basically knew nothing about what to expect, but we were given the most pleasant of surprises. He is funny, open, and very aware of what his deficits are and what compensatory measures work for him. He’s excited to be involved at the clinic and we are excited to work with him.
Our second client has been to Calvin’s clinic before, but not for a year. She is equally wonderful, and I am pumped about the experiences I will get to have this semester. I am so lucky to be at a school with state of the art facilities and opportunities for so many of the students. I naturally know the most about what the speech pathology department has to offer, but I did not come to Calvin for the speech pathology department. I came in as an English major three years ago now, but am blessed to be at a place where I had the option of changing to speech pathology (not many Christian schools have a program), and where the program was so stellar. There are a number of transfer students entering the program every year, and I am just so happy that I’ve been able to stay at the school where I began, made friends and connections, and settled in, and still get to have such excellent experiences.
I’m getting to do graduate level work in a number of areas this year because I am at Calvin College. I am researching language skills in students whose first language is other than English alongside a professor. I have two clients in a stroke clinic that I meet with for an hour each week, developing my clinical skills and making a difference in someone’s real life. I am mentoring two freshman speech pathology majors and showing them the opportunities that they have here. It is all very exciting (and time-consuming!), and I feel as though I am being excellently prepared for graduate school.