Posted on Wednesday August 26 2015 by RIG Healthcare
Changing roles from a permanent Speech Therapist to a locum Speech Therapist can bring with it some challenges for developing your professional identity. Despite the dramatic increase in your hourly rate, it is important to remember that your professional development is to be independently managed and financed. It also often eats into your own time.
I won’t lie – it’s quite difficult to keep on top of it all. It requires strict organization. The advantage of being part of a national body such as Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) or the Royal College of Speech Language Therapists (RCSLT) is that you have access to calendars full of, and discounts for, CPD events. Unfortunately this is not often considered as a locum speech therapist, so seeking your own professional development is often necessary.
I found that the best way to keep up with the ‘haps’ was to find online seminars (through a simple google search - the USA have a number of online conferences and CPD courses which are ASHA certified), Pinterest of all places (attempting to not sound like too much of a goober, follow my “Nerd Alert” board…it even includes Ryan Gosling Speech memes!) and by being included in workplace distribution lists. The great thing about being a locum speech therapist is that you are almost guaranteed to be able to take time off to attend conferences. It’s also worthwhile keeping an online subscription to a journal (e.g. Dysphagia). Everyone loves a bit of evidence based practice time!
The other stumbling block is access to resources. I found that a number of hospitals didn’t have adequate rehabilitation resources. Again, Pinterest and good old Google seemed to be a reasonable source. I have created a list of the “Top 10” clinical resources/items that helped me to get through my two years of locuming, which you can find here.
No matter what you do, the key is to be organized and continue to independently seek out new conferences and professional development opportunities. Workplaces will always appreciate your contribution to their team!
Gen Howard, Locum Speech Language Pathologist. LinkedIn Profile
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