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Problems & solutions: Challenges faced by SLPs and ideas to help lighten the load

Constant Therapy | Clinician

Being a speech-language pathologist is one of the most rewarding careers one could imagine… but it isn’t without challenges. In today’s blog, we discuss some of those challenges faced by SLPs and things that Constant Therapy can do to help ease a few of those burdens!

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have a lot on their plates. We are tasked with the difficult balancing act of seeing as many patients as possible (dare I write the word “productivity”?), while minimizing our therapy costs (has anyone else ever had admin hide the cord to the copy machine before?), providing high quality and evidence-based care (fangirl here, who wakes up grateful for The Informed SLP on the daily), and somehow also living our lives as adults in society. While nothing I tell you can make these struggles disappear, I will give you at least a few tidbits of good news below!

That ‘forbidden’ word: productivity

I know, it sends shivers down my spine, too. The reality is that administration often puts completely unrealistic expectations on us as SLPs, and on other providers as well. There’s just not enough time in the day to train the kitchen on dietary modifications, train nursing on using low-tech AAC with your latest trach patient, and also somehow manage to document and spend X% of your time on billable activities.

  • The problem: We can’t be everywhere all at once, and our notes and data collection can often be things that suffer because we won’t let our patient care go.
  • Solution: Have you seen Constant Therapy’s handy WebDashboard? We recently added a helpful Daily Session Note that you can copy and paste right into your EHR, which provides data on what your patients did in session with you on Constant Therapy and describes everything right there for you so you don’t need to waste time reinventing the wheel! It also can pull data over time for you so you have quick access to demonstrate progress and continued need for therapy when a progress note comes due for insurance.

SLP therapy prep: maximize your time and save a tree

I’m not kidding, I actually did experience administration hiding a copy machine cord from us once so we couldn’t make any more copies because we had overspent on paper and toner as a department… and even when I did have copy machine access, I had to make sure I had remembered to print off everything I needed for the whole day because my sessions were back to back, have the right handouts with me for the right patient at the right time, and try to predict how the session would go so I could have the right material on hand to provide for homework. Executive functioning tax much?!

  • The problem: A good therapist can make therapy out of anything, but having the right tools on hand at the right time makes us even more effective, and that takes time when we use paper.
  • Solution: I always have my iPad with me as I go from patient to patient now – thank GOODNESS for technology. Knowing that I have Constant Therapy and the other various tools on my iPad makes my prep time much more efficient. I also have everything stored in my Google Drive, so if I want to pull up a useful handout I can. If you’re able to use an iPad, Chromebook, or smartphone in your practice, I can’t recommend it enough! More on that and other productivity hacks here!

Evidence-based therapy: In clinic and beyond

Again in a win for technology, there are so many amazing ways to take in updates on the research in our field. Whether it’s watching on-demand webinars, listening to a podcast on the drive home (if I’m honest, I’m usually listening to true crime by the end of a long day), or excitedly devouring The Informed SLP monthly digest, there are so many ways we can keep up with the research. But in the day-to-day, sometimes it’s tough to get access to actual therapy materials that apply those proven methods.

  • The Problem: Keeping up with the research is a task in itself, and incorporating it into our daily practice is a further challenge.
  • Solution: Use materials you KNOW are research and evidence-based. Constant Therapy’s tasks are all designed based on proven methods, and the app itself has been carefully researched and proven time and again (you can check out our science page here). Wondering how to make it work best for your patients? Check out this interview with expert clinician Janet Gruber, MS, CCC-SLP to learn how she uses Constant Therapy in her practice.

SLP mental health: put your own mask on before helping others

Our jobs aren’t easy. While there are incredible wins along the way, it’s hard to give of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically all day long – and then go home to your family and friends and continue to give and care for others. There is so much to balance, so many priorities to juggle. We are tasked with a big responsibility – the communicative well-being of others. We chose this task, we chose this journey – but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy every day.

  • The Problem: Many days, our jobs demand that we leave it all on the field, mentally, emotionally, and physically – and that takes a mental toll.
  • Some Solutions: I always find that laughter is one of the best solutions to strife and struggle. Need a good laugh? Check out our latest blog on tell-tale signs that you’re an SLP here! But on a more serious note, reach out to your friends and family when you need support. Call your SLP best friends. Check on them and ask them for advice with your own struggles. Celebrate the wins with your clients, but when the going gets tough, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for support for YOU! Our mental health colleagues are incredibly gifted and helpful and seeking therapy or other support for yourself when you need it will make you a better SLP and person in the long run.

Looking to try something new to alleviate a burden or two? Try out Constant Therapy for yourself! Download our clinician app today! Look for the pink CT icon in your Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon App Store today!

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