HCDM 45 | Speech And Language Pathology

 

In the medical field, Speech and Language Pathology is a relatively young profession. Starting as elocution, the field has grown dramatically since then. SLP addresses language, voice, swallowing, and cognition or thinking skills from the cradle to the grave. In today’s episode, Richard Marn, MD, brings on Leigh Ann Porter, a speech and language pathologist who primarily works with adults in the hospital setting. Leigh Ann explains the purpose they serve in healthcare. She also describes a typical day in an SLP’s life and talks about some misconceptions people have about her profession.

Listen to the podcast here:

A Typical Day In The Life Of An SLP With Leigh Ann Porter

Thanks for joining me. I found our guest through her podcast. Thank God I did because she is a lot of fun and knowledgeable about her career and her profession. It was a lot of fun to talk with her. It’s interesting that this career is not recognized enough and maybe even underappreciated. As we’ll learn, we’ll find how important it is to certain patients, who need them to have a better life and outcome because of whatever illness or disease that they have. Who I’m talking with is Leigh Ann Porter.

She’s a Speech Language Pathologist or SLP and sometimes she describes herself as a medical SLP which means that they take care of medical patients versus non-SLP, which is a smaller population of SLPs and they work mostly in schools as she’s described to me. It’s interesting how some of the patients she helps out with benefit from their care and watch them improve their lifestyle and their life outcomes because of working with SLPs. It was a great episode. I’m glad you’re a part of this. Let’s jump into it and learn about speech language pathologists.

Leigh Ann, welcome. Thanks for joining me.

It’s nice to be here.

Tell me a quick bio of yourself.

I’m Leigh Ann Porter. I’m a speech and language pathologist in Kansas City, Kansas, which is a border town, also in Missouri, but I live on the Kansas side. I work in a hospital. I work primarily in outpatient, so patients come in and they see me. I also float over to the acute side of the hospital and I work in our Inpatient Rehab Unit. I’ve been doing this for several years and I absolutely love it. I see a wide range of adults in my practice with a wide range of communication, swallowing and cognition, and voice needs. We have a wide spectrum of our profession. The title Speech Language Pathologist can be a little misleading when we go see people, they’re like, “There’s nothing wrong with the way I talk.” I’m like, “You are correct because that’s not what I’m here for.” I’m excited to chat with you about things.

As a quick bio, as a CV resume, how’d you get started? What’s your quick resume?

When I went through school, I didn’t know that I was going to end up as a speech and language pathologist. When I graduated high school, I was most interested in a field like International Studies as a major. I liked nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations. I wanted to be an advocate and change the world and all those things. I got my undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of West Florida and Pensacola. I was introduced to an amazing opportunity through Rotary International to study abroad for a year at the Master’s level in Public Health through a scholarship program that they had that was incredible. I did that and I earned a postgraduate Diploma in Public Health from the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand and that was a phenomenal experience.

It’s right next door to our country.

I know. It’s a hop, skip and a jump away. We’re basically neighbors. When I came back from that, it changed what I understood about public health and the direction of that career path wasn’t as appealing to me so I was like, “What am I going to do next? I need a career. I want something more than a job. What should I do?” My mom was instrumental in guiding me towards Speech and Language Pathology. She’s an elementary school principal. She’s retired now. Her understanding of SLPs and what we do was from the school setting and about half of us work in schools with children.

I applied and got into the master’s program for speech language pathology at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. I’m grateful for that because it is competitive to get into and I didn’t realize that. Most people who get into the master’s program have gotten a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders. As you can see, they do accept what we would call out-of-field candidates, so people who did not get their bachelor’s in that. You take some prerequisites at the undergrad level to prepare you for the Master’s coursework and you’re able to go through and do that because you do need a Master’s degree to practice as a speech and language pathologist.

Your Bachelor of Arts degree was initially not the standard degree that speech and language pathologists have.

That’s right. It was nothing like it.

Let’s do these four questions to give a quick overview a little bit about what you are. You answered a little bit about it where I asked, as a speech language pathologist, what purpose do you serve in healthcare?

Our role is to address language, voice swallowing and cognition or thinking skills from the cradle to the grave. That’s the broadest sense of the word. There are some SLPs who do that and hats off to them. They’re incredible. Usually, we narrow that down to a population. For example, I worked with adults, but I do language, voice swallowing and cognition.

What are the usual steps to achieve your professional degree?

HCDM 45 | Speech And Language Pathology

Speech And Language Pathology: You need a Master’s degree to practice as a speech and language pathologist.

 

You have to have a Master’s to practice. You can get the Bachelor’s and the Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders, or you can be like me and come in with a different undergraduate degree, but you have to have the Master’s.

What is the usual Bachelor’s degree that most people get before they go into the Master’s program?

It’s a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The Master’s program is called what?

It’s a Master’s Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. They’re repetitive.

What’s the best part of your career?

The best part is the patient. It’s working with people because we work one on one with them. We evaluate and create a treatment plan. We collaborate with the patient and their medical team on the best outcomes for their specific and unique needs.

What’s the least favorite part of your career?

It might be the fact that few people know that we exist, what our field does and the services that we can offer. Sometimes we don’t get consulted as often or as much, so that’s something that we all struggle with. As a simplistic understanding of what we do in the hospital, sometimes people might think that we’re the diet police and we’re a lot more than that.

I’m hoping this episode and what you share will hopefully bring to light to a lot of people what you guys do. Hopefully, your profession will be more recognized.

That would be great.

Let’s jump into more meaty stuff about your career.

Let’s do it.

Tell me what your typical day is like as an SLP? Do you mind if I say, as an SLP, is that an appropriate abbreviation?

That’s what we do. We call ourselves SLPs.

What’s your typical day like?

One of the misconceptions about speech and language pathologists is that they’re the diet police. Click To Tweet

I’m going to give you an example of an outpatient day because that’s my home. That’s what I do the most of. We work from 8:00 to 4:30. We will have a schedule that’s back to back. The whole day is filled with treatments and evaluations. Evaluations are 60 minutes generally and treatments could be 45 minutes to 60 minutes. It depends on where you work and what the needs are of the patient. On a fully scheduled day, I would have nine patients back to back. The hour at lunch does not have patients on it, but that’s time to catch up on documenting from the morning. At the end of the day, we have the 4:00 to 4:30 spot is another time to document catch up on that and wrap up for the day. I prepared an example of the types of patients I would work with on a day so I’ll go into that now.

On a day that I had in the past, my first patient of the day presented with oral dysphagia and motor speech issues. Dysphasia is our medical term for swallowing difficulties. For this patient, they had squamous cell carcinoma of the retromolar trigone region, which is in their mouth and their jaw. They had extensive resections including a partial glossectomy removal of the soft and hard palate. That means they had a large portion of their tongue removed and the roof of their mouth. When they open their mouth, you can see into their nasal cavity.

It catches your eye, doesn’t it?

That was the first time I had seen that view before so yes. This patient was pegged dependent. What is that? It’s a tube that’s inserted through their skin through the outside directly into their stomach and it is where liquid nutrition and hydration is deposited into their stomach.

It bypasses the esophagus, the mouth and the oral cavity.

This patient wishes to return to what we call PO intake, which is Per Oral so eating. She wished to eat by her mouth again and to improve the intelligibility of her speech. That’s what our therapy looked like. It was navigating that with her unique needs and that incredible anatomical change that she underwent because of that oral cancer. Also, finding textures, techniques and ways to transition the food through her mouth so that she could swallow it safely without it going up into her nasal cavity. When you have most of your tongue removed that is how we push food back in our mouth and out of our mouth so that we can swallow it. Moving the food through her oral cavity was our biggest challenge.

I presume when you’re taking care of these patients, you’re with them for a while. It’s not a one-day thing, a one-week thing, or even sometimes a one-month event.

We’ll create a plan of care for them with what we would estimate could be the term of service and sometimes that might be ten sessions. It might be twice a week for ten sessions, so that would be five weeks. When we do a progress note and talk about the progress that we’ve made, if our goals have not been met, if we still see that there’s more progress to be made, we would ask for recertification of a continuation of therapy for another X amount of sessions to continue addressing this patient’s problems.

Is this patient an inpatient or outpatient?

This is an outpatient so these are people who are community dwellers, people who live at home who are able to transport themselves to our therapy clinic and come in and see me.

That’s an outpatient example, but what type of patients do you see as an inpatient?

Those are people who need 24-hour nursing care and doctor oversight because their health is a lot more fragile. They are not healthy enough and not able to care for themselves to be able to live at home independently at that time. If they’re on the acute floors, then that means something happened to them within the last X number of hours or a few days that they need critical medical care to be staying in the hospital. If they’re in an inpatient rehab unit, they’re a little bit more stable and that’s where they will get three hours of therapy that’s divided between physical therapy, and occupational therapy. It’s definitely those two. If they also have needs that relate to our field, then an SLP will see them as well when they’re in an Inpatient Rehab Unit.

This episode is not too technical. It’s more about what’s your career about. Could you tell us one technique that you work with? How do you help them with some of the techniques that you do?

HCDM 45 | Speech And Language Pathology

Speech And Language Pathology: An SLP’s role is to address language, voice, swallowing, and cognition or thinking skills from cradle to grave.

 

The next patient that I would see that day, they were coming in for language and word finding. They had a progressive neurological decline because they had a history of two previous strokes and it was impacting their communication. My treatment with that patient focused on implementing a technique we call semantic feature analysis and picture descriptions. The spouse sent in pictures of family vacations and notable events in the patient’s life and we use those in our session to target their specific language and word finding needs.

Let’s jump to misconceptions. What misconceptions do people have of your profession?

We’re the diet police. On the acute floors, when people first come in, they’ve had some strong impact on their medical condition. They’re in a weakened state and unstable. They may have difficulties swallowing because our throat shares space with the esophagus where our food travels down and our airway. When we swallow, our airway is covered so that the food and liquid can pass behind it into our esophagus and go down to our stomach.

If there have been complications to our cognition, to our alertness to control planning and movement like stroke, traumatic brain injury, or even being snowed out on different kinds of medications, if you have delirium, it will affect the timing and coordination of your swallow. If your airway isn’t securely closed while you’re swallowing, portions of that food or liquid will travel down into your airway and we’ve all experienced this from time to time especially if we’re drinking something and somebody makes us laugh. Suddenly, we suck in a little bit of that drink, and we’re coughing our lungs out.

It goes into your nose. It’s a wonderful experience.

It’s pleasurable. Everyone enjoys it so much. The problem with that material getting down into your lungs, that food or liquid that’s not supposed to be there, is that it may be carrying bad bacteria with it. If it gets into your lungs, and you’re already in a compromised medical position, it colonizes and creates an infection in your lungs, like pneumonia, then that complicates your hospital stay.

What you do, if not done properly, can make things worse for the patient while they’re under your care.

We need to be thorough, be consulted and be thoughtful in our considerations. If we recommend that they for a short time, not eat anything by mouth, because they’re not protecting their airway that can impact their quality of life. How are they going to get hydration and nutrition during that time when they’re not able to protect their airway?

I interviewed a registered dietician nutritionist, Kait Richardson. I presume besides occupational therapists, and physical therapists that you work with dieticians and you also mentioned audiologists. What are the professions you are working with besides those professions?

It’s a healthy list. We collaborate closely with the nurses because nobody knows better than the nurse and the nursing aides and the hospitalists who are overseeing their plan of care, on the acute side. I transitioned between what we do in outpatient and what we do for acute care and inpatient rehab. On the floors, we work closely with hospitalists, pulmonologists, laryngologists, which are specialized ENTs, gastrointestinal doctors, neurologists, dieticians, social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapy colleagues.

Also, respiratory therapists, radiologists, and radiology techs, because we go into the radiology units to do modified barium swallow studies for our patients to get eyes on what’s happening. Is material getting down into their airway? The only way is if you see it and the only way you can see it, is through imaging, such as modified barium swallow studies in something we call FEES, which is Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. That’s fun. There’s a tiny camera on a flexible tube that we thread through a patient’s nostrils.

Do you do it?

Speech therapists do it. I am not trained in FEES, but I’ve studied it, so I already passed a scope. It’s threaded through their nostrils so that we can see down into their throat. We have the person eat and drink and were able to visualize if any of the material is getting down into their airway after the swallow or before the swallow.

I went to see the ENT doctor who was a guest on my podcast, Dr. Guy Lin and he put a scope down to see down my nose. It’s similar to that. It’s a fiberoptic scope. You’re looking at things a little differently than an ENT, but you do that procedure as an SLP.

Yes. It’s wonderful. We love it. It helps us be more accurate in our diagnosing and our treatment plans because we have to have eyes on pathophysiology. We have to understand where’s the breakdown and where’s the problem happening if we help to address it and improve it.

Do you help people to talk? We talked about this before. You help people learn how to speak. Is it moving their tongue and making it stronger? Am I getting a better sense of that as well?

We have to understand where the breakdown is or where the problem is happening if we want to help address it. Click To Tweet

Yes. It’s hard for me to translate this in-depth knowledge because we don’t want to oversimplify it, so I’ll take a case example for you. Someone who’s had a stroke can have difficulty pronouncing words. They’re an adult. They’ve been speaking their whole lives. They have a stroke, which affects a certain place in their brain that affects the motor planning movements. They will know what they want to say but when they go to say it, something else comes out instead. It may be a different word for what they want or it may be unrecognizable sounds. We would call those neologians. I don’t even know if I said that right. I always type it. I never say that out loud.

That’s okay.

They can have lots of different problems. It can be different levels of difficulty with that. There can be people who have no speech and there are people who have difficulty thinking of certain words they want to say, but they can be pretty fluent and pretty coherent. There’s a wide spectrum of what language damage after stroke looks like. The most important thing to know, though, is what we call it aphasia. That’s the language disorder and it is not a loss of intelligence. People still know things and they often know what they want to say. It’s forming it and getting it out is the difficulty.

It’s the oral communication aspect of it. You said the least favorite part of your career is?

It’s not being understood in what we do. Our title is Speech Language Pathologists, so we also do quite a lot with improving people’s ability to swallow without material getting down into their airways. We also work on the voice, so that’s the quality of your voice. We’ll go into a patient’s room, and they’re like, “There’s nothing wrong with how I speak.” We’re like, “Yes, however, we’re here for other reasons.” Our title can be a little misleading.

How would you describe your work and life balance?

It is always evolving because there are fluctuations. I’ve had to do a lot of learning about what brings me career satisfaction and how to be involved in and outside of work. I believe that the balance part isn’t 50/50 or when you know to turn off your brain and not think about work anymore. It’s bigger than that and it’s about having interests and positive relationships in your workplace outside of work and in the larger community of your field. What I have found rewarding lately is getting involved in the bigger community of SLPs, contributing, giving back, encouraging people, and providing learning opportunities for them to flourish and nourish in their profession. I enjoy the aspect of my field that I’ve carved out a niche for myself of investing in other SLPs because we will have heavy caseloads. We’ll feel an over such a wide variety of needs. It can be hard to feel like you know everything you need to be an efficient and excellent SLP. I want to support SLPs out there who are working so hard to bring the best level of care to their patients. I want to support them and give them tools to be successful and to have the best outcomes for their patients.

What do you think the future outlook is for your career? Not necessarily you but your profession.

It’s bright. I’m excited for it. In the medical field, we’re a relatively young profession. We started out as elocutionists, so if you think about the King’s Speech, that’s an early SLP. Our field has grown dramatically since then. It wasn’t until the 1970s that we started getting into becoming the experts on dysphasia, evaluating and treating that specific problem and adding that to our scope of practice. I’m excited to see what researchers in our field are looking at and how they’re adding to our body of knowledge in helping clinicians to provide evidence-based practice to our patients through a wide scope of topics and areas that we work on.

What type of students do you think would do well or flourish in this career?

Flexible and motivated. Also, students who enjoy learning because this is certainly a profession where you will never stop learning. Your days are never the same every day is different with different challenges. There’s always something to learn. People who are advocates will do well in this profession because you’ll advocate for yourself for your profession, but most certainly for your patients. Also, people who are students who are curious and that they’re able to build professional relationships across disciplines because that’s key. We collaborate with so many different professions across the hospital. You’ve got to be able to reach out and have conversations with the other people that you’re working with who are consulting you for their patients and sending people your way. You’ve got to collaborate with a wide range of people.

What kind of a student were you in high school? Were you a type A student? Were you focused on health care? What were you like?

I was in the International Baccalaureate program in high school and it’s a rigorous public school program to prepare students for college.

In Florida?

It’s International. It’s across the nation and across the whole world. It’s a set of standards. Do you know Advanced Placement Courses, AP classes in high school?

Yes.

It’s like that, but every single class you take is advanced placement.

It sounds nerdy.

It is. It was hugely nerdy and it was great.

I can relate.

It pulled students from all across the district, so it wasn’t the people who were already zoned for that school, it pulled people from all over. Because its focus is international, it did an amazing job of making it a cross-cultural group of students. I loved it. It was hard and tough. That was where I first learned that I was terrible at managing stress. That’s another reason why I got into international studies in graduate school because that was always my passion. What’s going on in the world? How can I have an impact on it? That was too broad.

What careers were you looking at around that time and age of yourself?

I thought I would work for an NGO, a Non-Governmental Organization that was looking at raising awareness of issues and problems. It could be environmental, political or social issues going on in the world that still impact us in the United States.

How did that lead you to New Zealand?

I had a friend who was getting her undergraduate degree in Public Health so she was telling me about it and it was resonating with me. It was that idea of providing education to folks, so you’re empowering and equipping them with the tools they need to make insightful health options. I’ll use smoking as an example. If you tell somebody, “This will take years off your life. Your chance of getting lung cancer is exponentially higher, would you still start smoking if you knew these things?” I was speaking to somebody who had not become a smoker at that point in their life. When you know what the ramifications are, would you still make the same decision?

That’s what appeals to me is giving people information and allowing them to make the decision. Not telling people how they should live their life or the decisions that they should make, but giving them the power to make that choice for themselves. I thought that was all that public health was about. I was able to get an amazing Rotary scholarship to study abroad for a year at the Master’s level in Public Health. That is where I learned that it’s a lot more of, working for the government, for example, and building policies that have a trickle-down effect.

Kudos to New Zealand, though. They’re aware that is not the best option for making positive changes in communities. They know, recognize and they were training public health people to go into the communities and find out what matters to the community. You might think, “This group of people has high rates of blood pressure disease. What do we need to do to fix that for them?” If you go into that community, and they’re like, “We live in a food desert. That’s our most pressing need. Could you work with us on attracting grocery stores that sell fresh food to our area? That’s what matters to us. That’s what we need.” It’s about getting in there and finding out what matters to the stakeholders or the people that you want to help.

It’s truly finding what the needs of those people are.

HCDM 45 | Speech And Language Pathology

Speech And Language Pathology: An SLP collaborates with the patient and their medical team on the best outcomes for their specific and unique needs.

 

Is this low-key becoming an episode about getting people into public health?

Maybe. Next episode, public health official.

That’s awesome.

We have to figure out what happened here. You went from a public health advocate. You still seem interested in some of the public health fields and aspects. What happened? How did you transition to speech therapy or speech language pathologist?

When I came back to the US, I still explored. What does it look like to work in public health? It was working for the state of Florida. I was living in Florida at the time, so I was reaching out to people in the scene. I wanted to be more involved in the community and not work at an office in a state building, so I needed a job where I interacted with people more. My mom was an elementary school principal, so she worked with SLPs in the school system. She was like, “If you want to work directly with people, have an impact, and change their lives, become an SLP.” I looked into it and that was what I thought I was going to do when I went into graduate school. I thought I was going to be an SLP who worked in the school system. When I took the classes on voice, swallowing, aphasia, and adult language disorders, I was like, “This is so fascinating. I had no idea we did this. I need to do this. I love it.” That was that evolution. I hope that made sense.

It was your mom introducing you to it. That’s what got you on that track.

Also, shout out to my high school best friend who became an SLP years before my mom was like, “Leigh Ann, you need to do this.” When she was like, “Become an SLP,” I was like, “That’s what my best friend does.” She was an undergraduate and she was on track to become a pediatrician. She took an elective that was sign language and that’s how she learned about the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at her university and she was hooked.

She switched majors. She’s an SLP in the school system. She loves her job. I went down to visit her when I was looking into it and I met all of her other little SLP friends. I got the inside scoop and I even got warned away. They’re like, “Don’t do it.” I was like, “Why?” Because spoiler alert, there will be people in every profession, who maybe don’t think it’s the best, but there is no perfect job. You have to find what works best for you.

What advice would you give students at this part of your career?

Looking back and everything I did wrong, I would tell students to build community early. I didn’t do it until the last few years.

What do you mean by building communities?

Network, have mentors, ask questions, engage, meet other SLPs and other grad students in and outside of your program. Open up those conversations. I was too scared and intimidated to ask the professors questions, which looking back is the dumbest thing ever because that’s literally what they’re there for. I was like, “They’re so important. I’m such a little person.” I had a lot of growing to do.

I find a lot of students are hesitant. Especially when you’re talking to the professional, there’s a sense of awe a little bit and a little hesitancy and trying to ask him the hard questions sometimes or even simple questions.

For some people, it could be easy to reach out there, start talking to people and build up those relationships. For me, it was exceptionally hard, so I didn’t do it and I paid the cost. I felt isolated. I was always questioning if I was doing my job right. I didn’t have enough people in my network. I had people involved in my early career who were hopeful as they could be, but I needed a lot more. I was encouraged.

Were you working as an SLP?

Yes. It was my first year out of grad school.

Let’s move to a fun part, which I call Rapid Fire Questions. Are you ready, Leigh Ann?

I’m ready and I’m completely terrified. Shoot.

You were not able to prepare for this.

That’s right.

What’s your favorite type of dessert?

Fancy ones, so the fancier the better. I love pastries. I love all the Froufrou stuff. If you can light it on fire because it’s, I don’t know, got alcohol on it like a Baked Alaska, that sounds awesome. If I can make it in my kitchen, I’m not impressed.

Who is your favorite artist?

Anish Kapoor pops into mind. I love his work. Andy Goldsworthy or is it Andy Goldsworth, I should know my favorite artist’s name. Both of these gentlemen are sculptors, large and huge pieces. My favorite thing about Andy is that he uses things in nature and takes pictures of them because they don’t last and they’re not meant to. Google his work. His work is phenomenal.

I don’t know those artists at all.

Do you know The Bean? They call it that in Chicago like that big reflective?

Yes.

That’s Anish Kapoor. A lot of people do know his work.

They don’t know the name.

He does such fun things. Google him. He’s a good time.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strict were your parents?

I’m the youngest and my older brothers would tell you that for me, they were a two. Easy. I would tell you that they’re a seven. What was great was my parents had boundaries which was great because I’m a boundary pusher. I knew expectations. I had a curfew and things like that. As I got older, I got a license and I had a car. I was also responsible, so they didn’t have needs to follow me around or anything like that. They were good.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to?

I’ve been to a lot of different places and that’s hard to pick one. The first thing that came to mind, I was young and I went to Honduras. We were traveling in a rural area and the sun was shining. We came over this hill, and there was this huge leg and the light was reflecting off of it. It was a moment that I had. What makes a place beautiful is being able to stop and appreciate it. I go in my backyard. A corner of our backyard is up against trees and it’s not developed. It’s my favorite place now. Nothing beats my backyard. At this moment, it’s cold and the trees are bare, so it’s in the spring and the summer.

How many days do you wear the same pants in a row before it becomes a problem?

It could be up to five because it’s going to have to get stained or visibly soiled before I retire those. That’s unless I’m going into work because if I’m going into work, I’m working in the hospital, those things are getting laundered the second I get home. If I’m working at home, hanging out, doing stuff around the house, it could be five days. I should say there are stipulations involved. Please don’t think I’m going out in public with the same pants for five days. These are house pants. I feel like I should buy the same pants like five pants and they’re all the same.

What game are you good at?

Richard, are you ready to have your mind blown not that I’m good at it?

Yes. You’re already blowing my mind with some of these answers already with the whole five days in a row thing but go ahead.

My husband and I found out about escape room games. You know about escape rooms out in the real world. You go into a room, they have puzzles and you solve them. You have an hour. There are games that you can buy and bring into your home and play them. You set a timer and you have all these different little puzzles to solve. These are our new pandemic favorite things in the world.

What’s the name of the game?

There are a couple of different ones. One is called Unlock and they have a series of different games within the Unlock Universe.

Where can readers go to reach you and learn more about you? I know you talked about it before about how you can want to contribute to a larger community of SLP. Where can people reach you and what are you doing?

I’m on Instagram @SpeechUncensored that’s where I interact the most with people. I have a podcast for SLPs.

That’s how I found you.

It talks shop about our profession and what we do and it’s called Speech Uncensored. I also have a website, SpeechUncensored.com and that’s where the show notes for the podcast live. I build the show notes with links to dig deeper into the topic that I’ve discussed with the guest so people can continue learning. Learning doesn’t stop when you listen to a conversation that we had. You keep digging into it and find out if you could use this tool, if it would help your patients and things like that.

I’m hoping like this episode and your podcast launches people to explore other things and inspires them to say, “Let me learn more about that.” This time with each other was fantastic. I had a great time. I learned a lot. Thank you for sharing. Is there anything else you want to say before we sign off here?

Yes. If you are curious at all about our profession, there are a ton of SLPs on Instagram. If you look up the hashtag #MedSLP, you’ll get so much good stuff about SLPs working in the medical setting and all the various wonderful things we’re doing. If you’re at all curious, stalk some people on Instagram and reach out to them and start a conversation.

Don’t only stalk.

You can do some research and you can call it stalking. It’s okay. Get the lay of the land and start talking to people. We love our profession. We love what we do and we want more people in it.

Thanks for being on this episode, Leigh Ann.

Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for shining the spotlight on Speech and Language Pathology. This is a true treasure. I appreciate this so much.

It’s my pleasure.

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About Leigh Ann Porter

HCDM 45 | Speech And Language PathologyLeigh Ann has been living that SLP life since graduating with her master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2013 from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Prior to that, Leigh Ann graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies from the University of West Florida in Pensacola. As part of the Honors College, Leigh Ann took class trips to Mexico and Cuba. During undergrad, she spent a semester in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University eating all the things, seeing all the things, and experiencing all the things.

After graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps service member from 2005-2006 and completed projects in Washington DC, Louisiana, Virginia, and Maryland in partnership with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club, Valley Forge National Historic Park, the American Red Cross and others.

In 2007, Leigh Ann was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study Public Health in New Zealand. While we’re sharing interesting stories, Leigh Ann amused Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of NZ with her American accent at a reception. Before departing the southern hemisphere, she earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health from the University of Otago (Wellington Medical campus).

While at UCF pursing her masters in Comm Dis, Leigh Ann was part of a grant to prepare SLPs to work with English Language Learners, earning a graduate certificate of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Leigh Ann now resides in Kansas City where she divides her time working across outpatient, acute, and inpatient rehab settings. She has presented for ASHA CEUs to regional Speech & Language Pathologists (SLPs) on topics such as how the respiratory system and cough influence dysphagia, a review of the literature on dysphagia exercises, and generating measurable dysphagia goals. For multidisciplinary continuing education with PTs and OTs, Leigh Ann has presented on topics such as Cognitive Retraining with an emphasis on memory strategies, stress management for the rehab therapist, and the SLP’s scope of practice & making appropriate patient referrals to the SLP.

Leigh Ann’s favorite thing about being an SLP is that there is always something new to learn. Her least favorite thing about being an SLP is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to learn all the things! Patience isn’t one of her virtues.