School or Medical SLP: An SLP-CF Decision
For those SLPs who have been in the field a little longer than I (which is technically no time at all), when you applied for a Clinical Fellowship (CF) were you afraid to be stuck in one setting for your entire career?
I have been getting some serious negative feedback for possibly starting my SLP journey in a school system. Not in the sense that schools are a bad place to work; not at all! Rather, schools are an entirely different beast to tackle: IEPs, scheduling, groups of kids working on 5 different goals, billing, planning, field trips, snow days, teachers’ schedules… Then there are the medical settings: Constant swallowing evaluations, patients being discharged just as you get started, patients can be fine one day and pass away the next, uncooperative, non-compliant with diet consistencies. The lists for both go on-and-on.
The most common feedback is that if I complete my Clinical Fellowship in a school system, I won’t be able to transition to a medical setting as easily once I am finished.
Maybe this is just my own fear or my own insecurity combined with feedback, but I still have this pit of anxiety in my poor #slp2b soul. I convince myself that no matter where I start, I have the next 30+ years to get over it and transition to wherever I want, or that I can take continuing education to brush up on skills no matter where I start out. Blah…blah…blah. I am still anxious. Please excuse my anxiety this one time.
My SLP Graduate School Cohort as a whole wants to work in the medical setting, yet, not too long ago many cohorts were the opposite. What has put this ‘negative’ haze around working in a school over the ‘glamorous’ glow of a medical setting? I almost feel embarrassed when I tell others I am applying for a school SLP position, as if they are thinking “Aww, you are going into schools, how sweet of you to sacrifice your career.” When did working in a medical setting all-of-a-sudden become more respectable than a career in the school system? Each setting has it’s own challenges and I expect those working in each setting may have their own opinion about my somewhat-naive view about all this, but this has been a real struggle for me the past few weeks.
I have found this to be true in those hiring SLPs. For instance, a hospital/SNF/nursing home is less likely to hire an SLP who is looking to transition from schools to medical over an SLP who has been doing medical settings their entire career. Now, even that sentence sounds like an obvious choice for an employer; yet, how are these SLPs supposed to get hired, even though we are all getting the same education? That is my worry…
I am applying to both settings for my SLP-CF, but I am trying not to let this dilemma factor into my decision making. Or should it? I don’t see either one as lesser than the other, both have equal appeal to me. What has been your experience? Any help is appreciated because my hope and confidence is rocky at the moment.
**There are some amazing school SLPs who also blog that drive me to pursue becoming a school-based SLP because that was my initial desire when I started this long, long journey…Check them out!**