Current Job Title:
South Bend Clinic
Describe your current job:
I am currently a clinical audiologist serving patients across the lifespan. My typical day spans across most of the scope of audiology practice, from completing auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing on newborns that did not pass their newborn hearing screenings, to working a patient through a videonystagmography (VNG) and electrocochleography (ECOG) assessment for dizziness. I additionally complete pediatric and adult hearing diagnostics, traditional and bone-anchored hearing aid evaluations and follow up, cochlear implant candidacy evaluations and programming, and sedated and retro cochlear ABR evaluations. Part of my work week additionally involves being on-call for diagnostic testing as referred by a group of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to give a patient back access to sound and thus oral/aural communication. As Hellen Keller stated, 'Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.' For people that are spoken language communicators, a loss of hearing can have a significant impact on their quality of life and social interactions with friends and family. The most challenging part of my job is working with insurance companies, and proving the need for services. Audiology is a unique field, with many billing and coding challenges. In many instances we are the primary advocates for our patients, which requires us to be assertive in stating and supporting our patient's needs.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Part of the audiology doctoral curriculum at WMU involves a wide span of internships and experiences. Having such a diverse set of opportunities set the foundation for me to be able to serve such a large scope of practice today. Having this skill set ensures that I will never have a boring or predictable day, and requires that I continue to keep my education level and diagnostic skills up to date on current best practice guidelines. The reasons that I am glad I chose WMU for my doctorate stems from the exposures I was able to obtain with new internships every semester and a year-long externship at the end of my program.
What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path?
For students that are exploring career path options, I would say thing about the parts of your life that you enjoy the most. Are you a detective, who enjoys finding the connections in a group of puzzle pieces? Are you a teacher, who enjoys helping people learn and understand new things? Are you an organizer, who enjoys bringing together a big group of people and coordinating many moving pieces? Knowing your attributes is a big step in determining what kind of career you want. Find something with opportunities or lateral or upward movement. In audiology, I know that if I get burnt out working with hearing aids in 15 years, I have the degree and skill set that would allow me to continue working in my field, and never touch another hearing aid. Find a career with many specialties or subsets, and then work to ensure that you are competent in all of them to give yourself a lifetime of possibilities.