Discover a CF Program Where You Can Take Ownership of Your Training
When I was a young, wide-eyed Clinical Fellow (CF) a million years ago, my mentor was a prehistoric Tyrannosaurus jerk.
I went home every night with less enthusiasm, feeling like an indentured servant. I questioned whether pursuing a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) position was the right career choice. Things were so bad, I switched placements about eight weeks in.
I found an amazingly supportive environment for the remainder of my Clinical Fellowship Year. Although I was working more at the second placement, I loved it! I was being treated with respect and was given enough freedom to become the therapist I knew I could be.
When I took my first position as a practicing SLP, I looked forward to the time I’d be able to mentor a CF myself. I wanted to give back by providing the best experience I could as a mentor.
At Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS), I have the extreme good fortune to head up our Clinical Fellowship Program.
I coordinate training and support for CFs who work in several therapeutic specialties, including SLP jobs, in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
It’s one of my favorite duties. And all of us at PTS take our CF program with the utmost seriousness.
Five Keys to a Strong Clinical Fellowship Program
Whether in SLP positions or other specialties, our Clinical Fellows benefit from a program that makes a big impact on their professional development.
I’ve found five factors matter most:
- Clear Expectations:
We start each school year with a CF Boot Camp. We discuss our expectations of the CFs, their expectations of us as a company, and their expectations of mentors. When spelling out the roles of CFs and mentors, we cover:
- supervisory methods.
- support levels.
- conflict resolution strategies.
- Empowering Ownership
We want to be sure CFs understand they have a say in shaping their Clinical Fellowship Year. In fact, we encourage them to take ownership of it by:
- Tracking their own time and supervision.
- Giving their mentors feedback at the end of the segments (not just receiving feedback).
- Initiating the process of changing whatever aspects need to be changed or delivered differently.
- Multiple Supports
While we believe CFs must take charge of the overall trajectory of their experience to gain the most from it, we don’t leave them on their own. Whenever CFs want or need help with specific cases or specialties, they have ongoing access to our large library of diagnostic tools and other clinical resources. They can also reach out to:
- Their assigned mentor, who directly supervises them, regularly gives them substantive and constructive feedback and orients them to pediatric SLP practice.
- A Speech Clinical Director and a Clinical Director assigned to the school district, who provide on-site program management and team supervision so advisory support and professional representation are never far away.
- PTS’ huge network of therapists with in-depth knowledge, extensive experience, and great ideas, and who are always within reach via social media pages and at regular PTS-sponsored events.
- Skilled and helpful PTS office staff, who can quickly connect CFs to the people and resources they need to succeed in school speech-language pathology jobs.
- Face-to-Face Relationships
At PTS, we focus on face-to-face connections because nothing can replace them. We have ongoing networking and meeting opportunities to help CFs with any issues that arise. Any time CFs need support, a pep talk, or a check-in, all they have to do is ask.
- Rapid Responsivity
When CFs ask questions, they need immediate answers. Even if they need to send a report to review for a last-minute meeting scheduled for the next day, we can do that. CFs need real-time responses. We make their requests and questions top priorities.
Let PTS Help You Excel in Your School Speech Pathology Job
Nothing matches Clinical Fellows’ enthusiasm and excitement. They come to their positions as SLPs or other therapists with great ideas and great attitudes, eager to apply the latest knowledge. Their terrific energy spills over to the students they work with.
Overseeing the CF program is extremely rewarding. This program is about more than just having someone review your paperwork. It’s about feeling connected to a bigger purpose. Knowing we’re sending qualified CFs on their way to earning a Certificate of Clinical Competence is very satisfying.
After my experience all those years ago of feeling like a pebble in the working world’s shoe, I vowed to make every CF I work with feel valued and appreciated. I often think, “What a shame for my first mentor! She missed all the greatness of mentoring and developing CFs.”
That’s something we don’t take lightly at PTS!
To explore the possibility of doing your Clinical Fellowship as part of the PTS team or to find out about currently open school-based SLP positions near you, click here to contact us.