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  • Writer's pictureAmy Williams

A month of firsts

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

In line with celebrating the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist’s (RCSLT) 75th anniversary, RCSLT have suggested themes for each month. Being January, this month is “firsts” and is super relevant to me as it’s been my first month of practicing solely independently.

So what have I been up to?

Firstly, getting used to my new routine. It’s the dream to work some of the time from home when you’ve got a young family but it’s very new to me, having worked in the NHS for 13 years, either on a ward or stopping by to an office in between my community visits. So making sure I keep on task and don’t get distracted by being on my own with no other people (or little kids) around, has been a new learning curve.

Getting out and about has been the key to this. I’ve been to see new clients, set and achieved goals and continue on with my lovely, regular clients.

I’ve been networking with other Speech and Language Therapist’s that are working independently in Essex too. This is so important for me, as having professional support from my peers is invaluable. It’s means we can share resources, information from courses we’ve attended, news relevant to our profession, general advice and sharing of good practice. It’s key to my continuing professional development (CPD).

Another CPD activity I did this month was meeting with a colleague for a supervision session, regarding my caseload. Clinical supervision is a confidential one to one meeting where I can reflect on some of my cases and discuss how I am going to go forward with them, with specialist advice from my clinical supervisor. It is essential to maintain good practice and further develop my specialist skills. I am looking forward to taking some of the things we talked about into my sessions with clients.

As you can tell, I love connecting with other people and I chose to attend a local business networking meeting for women in Rayleigh too. There were women from all over the local area (Hockley, Benfleet, Leigh on Sea and Southend and more) and we all shared a little about our businesses, enjoyed a bit of cake and listened to a talk by from a local business coach about setting business goals. A whole new world for me having worked in the public sector for years!

Something I’ve really enjoyed this month is providing some short and snappy training sessions at a care home to nurses and staff. From my experience of working on wards and working alongside some great nurses and carers, I’ve learnt that long training sessions are not helpful. Staff are needed on the floor, all the time.

So I organised these training sessions to be 15-20 minutes long , training small groups of staff at a convenient time but repeating the session multiple times, to cover all the staff working that day.

The beauty of working independently is that I can work my own hours, so I repeated another of these sessions in the evening, to capture the night staff as well. I think it was well received and the staff gave me lots of ideas of how to make my input into that care home more valuable to them.

It’s been a good month all in all. I‘ve taken my first baby steps into being a completely independent Speech and Language Therapist and I like it. Onto the next...

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