I first thought about becoming a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) when I was roughly 14 years old having received therapy as a pre-school child. I am now 27 and a newly qualified SLT at Derriford Hospital.
This is how I got to where I am today
After finishing my A-Levels I wasn’t completely sure that Speech and Language Therapy was what I wanted to do and thought there may be other career options that I hadn’t explored yet. So after a year of travelling the world, I decided to go to university and study Physiology – something that I found interesting and that could potentially lead to a career in healthcare further down the line.
Although I really enjoyed studying this subject it was very research focused and made me realise that I definitely wanted to work directly with people in a healthcare setting, rather than behind the scenes. During this time I had also seen the positive effects that therapy can have first-hand, particularly during the rehabilitation of a young family member following an illness.
I started to think about Speech and Language Therapy as a possible career path again and spent the next couple of years getting some adult and paediatric work experience – working as a healthcare assistant in an acute hospital and then a teaching assistant in an autism provision of a special needs school.
I was accepted on to a two-year Speech and Language Therapy Masters programme at Reading University. At the beginning of the course I envisaged a future career working with children in schools, possibly specialising in autism at some point. However, I kept an open mind and by the end of the two years I found myself much more interested in dysphagia, particularly in the acute setting – a side of speech and language therapy I knew little about before starting the course.
Coming to Derriford
This led me to applying for my first, newly qualified SLT job here at Derriford and, since starting in October 2016, I have continued to enjoy the fast pace, the diversity of patients and learning about all the different medical conditions that come with working in an acute hospital. I feel very lucky that my first job has given me so many opportunities to develop and learn new skills on a daily basis whilst working with adults with dysphagia and/or communication difficulties.
Looking forward, I now envisage that my career as an SLT will remain within the acute setting but I will continue to keep an open mind!
In the future, if the opportunity arose to work in neonatal or paediatric dysphagia, this is something I would love to consider.
Speech and Language Therapist
Naomi is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from Speech and Language Therapy, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.