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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A QUADRIILINGUAL SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST

By Sara BaChar, Speech-Language Pathologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Managed by Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA)

September 2016



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I am a speech-language pathologist practicing in an acute care hospital providing in-patient and out-patient services. I am going to use my story to tell you about the work I do and supply you with ways to hopefully improve different portions of your day as a speech-language pathologist because I know you have similar days and caseloads. 

 

I wake up each day to make a difference in the lives of actual people with heart-beats, futures, wants, and needs. At times, it does get hard. However, I love seeing a patient improving. This can be something very small (such as a young child learning to say his name clearly without an omission or substitution) to bigger things (such as a child who can now drink his milk orally for the first time in his life with parents who are very excited about this gain). Yet, meeting everyone's needs with the resources I have available can be challenging at times.

 

A typical day for me involves doing eight to ten individual assessment/screening and/or therapy sessions in four different languages (Arabic, French, English, and Spanish), as well as many different dialects and accents with children and adults between 1 day and 100 years of age.

Yes, you have read it correctly!!! I do receive very tiny newborn babies from the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to do VFSS (videofluoroscopic oropharyngeal swallowing studies) or bedside swallowing assessments to decide either to start oral feeding or look at alternative enteral feeding plans such as: TPN (total parenteral nutrition), NGT (nasogastric tube) or PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) Tubes.

 

During the same day I can see a geriatric patient who is 85 years of age, admitted at the rehabilitation ward with a newly diagnosed stroke leading to dysphagia and expressive aphasia.

Throughout the day I may provide fluency therapy for an 18 year old patient with stuttering.

The next patient can be 6 years old with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and a language disorder or a 4 year old boy with hearing impairment. The next session may be voice therapy for a 38 year old teacher with dysphonia. And, the list doesn’t stop here. Basically, during one day I can see a multiple variety of cases and ages. And, I know you can relate to this because speech-language pathologists around the world often have such caseloads.

My day may also feature a group therapy session, parent and/or caregiver training workshops, and phone calls with parents about concerns or wanting to make appointments for an initial assessment and/or to go over reports. I also find time to guide junior staff at the clinic; attend to multidisciplinary clinics such as the Nutrition Support Clinic, Tracheostomy Clinic, and Cleft Palate Clinic; go to meetings; write reports; and liaise with other health professionals such as pediatricians, audiologists, and occupational therapists.

 

And, of course, with such a productive busy day, I still find time to read the latest articles and look for speech therapy science updates, research, and good speech-language pathology related articles to select the best to share with parents, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals through my media pages in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook: Speech Therapy Corner.

 

I acknowledge that I am grateful for having a profession that makes an impact on so many people. I am also grateful for opportunities in my profession to work alongside some awesome SLPs (speech-language pathologists). At the end-of-the-day (with all uncrossed to-do items aside), I tried my darnedest to make the world better. That feels good. I love my profession, and I know you do too.

 

About the Author

 

Sara is a Quadrilingual (Arabic, English, French, and Spanish) Speech-Language Pathologist with many years of international experience in the areas of Communication, Speech, Language, Voice, and Swallowing disorders. She graduated from the College of Educations Sciences and Psycology - SPEECH PATHOLOGY - in Malaga, Spain (Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación y Psicología- LOGOPEDIA, Universidad de Málaga. Málaga, España).

Sara has acquired extensive international (USA, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) experience in the field of speech-language pathology. After graduating in Spain, she moved to Paris, France acquiring new experiences with Elizabeth Faujour, Speech-Language Pathologist and Scenotherapist in Paris. After that, Sara went back to her home country Morocco where she joined an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) clinic in Casablanca as a Speech-Language Pathologist, and then she headed to Cornell University in New York as a volunteer Speech-Language Pathologist in research related to speech-language therapy. In 2009, Sara joined SKMC (Sheikh Khalifa Medical City) in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Today Sara is a prominent member of the Medical City staff, practicing and providing the best speech-language therapy services possible. If you wish to contact Sara, her email is sarah_bachar@hotmail.com.