May 2018 is Better Hearing and Speech Month so we are taking this opportunity to spotlight some of our extraordinary SLPs! Sarah Shipley is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas and is currently doing her Clinical Fellowship (CF) in a school district in Washington State. We interviewed Sarah to find out more about her Clinical Fellowship experience.
“Being able to be a safe space for students and making a difference in their
lives is the biggest honor and reward that I could receive during my CF.”– Sarah Shipley
Get to know Sarah Shipley!
How did you find your Clinical Fellowship job?
I used the ASHA site to learn more about the expectations and requirements for the CF. Then looked at places I was interested in living and compared the cost of living, average pay, etc. I was introduced to Advanced through a friend, so I learned more about the details of traveling for my CF. Advanced was able to place me in a school district for my Clinical Fellowship and provide a SLP supervisor, so it was a great fit.
Where are you doing your CF and why did you decide on this?
I am working for a school district in Centralia, Washington. For many SLPs, adult and medical setting Clinical Fellowship jobs are very sought-after, however it is hard to find these opportunities. I never thought I would want to work in a school, but I actually really enjoy it. I have even signed up to come back for another year with this district.
How did you decide to Travel for your CF?
I really wanted to be able to explore more of the country and expand my experiences without the fear of not having a job. Traveling with a company like Advanced works great because they are able to help with relocation expenses and also provide guidance when it comes to the job market and my goals. Having the support system of my Career Consultant, Elle, and her team is great because I can always contact them to resolve any issues that may come up. Lastly, compensation is a big factor. I can earn more as a contractor rather than a direct-hire.
How do you work with your SLP Supervisor?
My supervisor is actually in the Midwest and is able to supervise me via tele-supervision. I reach out to her when I have questions and we email and text regularly. We use Zoom once a week for her to do my direct supervision. She is great about making sure that we are staying contact and that she is available to support me in any way that she can.
What do you like most about your CF?
I love working with students. If they are having a bad day, I try to turn it around for them and be another form of support. They are usually so excited to see me when they come to my class. It is a wonderful feeling to be a positive part of someone’s school experience. Despite the challenges of the job, the kids really make it worth it. I recently asked my students to describe how they feel when they come to speech and many of the students stated that they feel safe, lucky, and happy. Being able to be a safe space for students and making a difference in their lives is the biggest honor and reward that I could receive during my CF.
What advice do you have for future CFs?
You are so much smarter than you might even realize. Not everyone is going to understand what you do as an SLP, so it’s important to always stand your ground, have confidence and trust in yourself. You have to advocate for yourself and what we, as SLPs, do to help service not only the speech/language components, but also help to serve the whole child. Do not be afraid to try something new in a session; the only person that will know if it did not go quite as planned is you. The students are just happy to be having a chance to communicate freely and in a safe space. You are going to have days where you feel like you could have done better, however, know that each and every day that you go to work you are impacting the lives of those you interact with. And finally, be open-minded to new challenges and new opportunities. As I mentioned, I never thought I would want to work in a school, but I’m so glad that I tried it.