Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dusting off the Cobwebs.....Realtalk

Hey everyone! Yes I am still here.

Yup months later I'm dusting off the cobwebs off this blog, shaking it up, and promising to write more often. Honestly I've been trying to organize and compartmentalize over the past few months. Those who know me know that the wheels in my head are always turning, most of the time too fast for me to catch up with. With running a practice, a blog, an app, slpchat, a magazine and everything else in my life it was time to put some things on hold and refocus. Unfortunately my twitter time has reduced significantly since these changes have happened and the blog posts have reduced to almost nothing, but I'm a work in progress, so hopefully that will change in the coming months.

I've decided to put all my focus right now into my practice. Those who are in private practice know that  it is TOUGH! I've found myself struggling and feeling absolutely overwhelmed in recent months, managing clients, admin work, accounts, keeping up on all the current trends, research, apps, everything. I've been forced to turn into superwoman! In a country where there are only 4 SLPs, to say the demand is high is an understatement, and that's where caseload management becomes difficult. Remember in grad school you had to sit with your tutor after a clinic session and reflect on your performance? What went well, what didn't go so well, what you would do differently next time. You need to constantly be doing this in your practice It's not just evaluating your patients' performance and progress, it's about looking at your performance and personal growth as a therapist and in some cases a business owner. A few things came to light in my reflections which I decided I would share:

1. Quality beats quantity anytime! It's better to have 5 patients that are getting the best service that you can possibly give, than to have 50 that you're not giving your best to.

2. There's a point when you have to say No (and stick to it), or at least a 'not right now.' People may get angry, but you can't please or help everyone. Your practice will be better if you don't take on more than you can handle. If people respect that you want to provide an excellent service they will understand.

3. Ask for help! There are people out there that have been doing this way longer than you have. Find out how they are managing everything. What strategies are they using to handle caseload management, deal with paperwork, stay on top of reports etc.

4. Realise you can't do it all on your own. Since hiring a personal assistant life has become so much easier. Delegate some duties, the time you're laminating those PECS pictures you could be planning some goals.

5. Set aside specific time for your professional development. I try to do at least an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Speechpathology.com now has some of their seminars in podcast format, which I like to listen to in the car or at the gym.

6.  Improvise! I was having difficulty writing up session notes on the days that I was moving from house to house for visits. I then started to record my spoken notes on my phone's voice recorder (to store in a secure place) in the car on the way to the next patient so that it would still be fresh in my memory to write at another time.

7. Remember to still have a social life! It's important to maintain that balance between work and personal life. Take a break from writing those reports and go have a drink (However don't write reports while under the influence.....)

Hope those tips are of some help to someone reading. I have a couple blog posts in my head that I'd love to share, so hopefully they come soon :) Also look out for the newest issue of EasySpeak Magazine due to release next month. This magazine is my favorite hobby right now and I'm glad that it has been so well received across the field of Speech and language therapy/pathology :)

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