Why are the following traits crucial to success as a speech-language pathologist?
Speaking, fluency, communicating, even swallowing – these are essential daily activities
that the majority of people take for granted. However, for a surprising portion of the population, these tasks represent difficult obstacles and require special treatment to circumvent. Any speech-language pathologist might offer treatment, but true success stems from possessing crucial traits that will fully aid a patient.
A speech-language pathologist must first and foremost possess strong interpersonal skills. Unlike other professional relationships, the basis of the pathologist-patient relationship is founded on teamwork, understanding that the two work together to remediate the speech problem. Interpersonal skills allow for clear, effective, and positive communication between pathologist and patient, ensuring a strong partnership in their mutual quest. Additionally, interpersonal skills aid professional relationships, increasing the sharing of knowledge and experience between colleagues and therefore increasing one’s own effectiveness as a speech-language pathologist.
Another essential skill involves the ability to see from another’s perspective. Frequently, poor communication occurs when one fails to understand how another sees a situation. If, however, the speech-language pathologist understands the patient’s perspective, then the
effectiveness of communication increases when explanations are put in terms of the patient’s
understanding and not solely the pathologist’s. Additionally, the pathologist will be able to sympathize with patients, understanding how they feel and knowing how to most professionally approach them. Since communication is the foundation of the relationship, the best communication comes from the pathologist expressing instruction in the most sensitive and valuable ways.
Finally, the effective speech-language pathologist must have a strong drive and ability to problem solve. No two patients are alike, and it is likely that no two solutions for patients will be identical. To successfully aid each patient, the speech-language pathologist must readily identify the problem and its causes, determine which unique approach can serve the patient’s needs best, and then proceed with the appropriate, custom-made solutions.
While some pathologists may merely concern themselves with the obvious traits of knowledge and practice, the truly best and most successful will be sure to treat the whole person, not the disorder. And the whole person is best approached with interpersonal skills, understanding, and problem solving.
Describe a problem or challenge you have faced, and describe the process you went through to solve the problem:
Many college students may not need to worry about finances, but I did. I remember silently cringing when fellow students would roam around campus in their cars, buy the newest and most expensive textbooks, and even flippantly waste their money on alcohol. Unlike them, I had to earn every penny of my own education, and while they were free to join clubs or ceaselessly study, I had to figure out how to do those and pay for my own college education.
My parents told me that they would help me with what they could, but for the most part I would be responsible for my own college expenses, including tuition and dorms. So I knew when I applied to ______________ I would need to be concerned with not only my education, but also solving the problem of the very large bills I would accrue. I felt confident, though, that I could successfully manage my classes and my problems. And I did.
I knew that the solution to my problem was simple – if I needed money, I needed to work
for it. And every cent of what I earned went to my education, not wasted on cars, lavish materials, or drinks. The summer prior to beginning college I landed a job as a surveyor, which was hard work, but good money. Additionally, once at school, I got not one, but two jobs. The first had me working afternoons at the front desk, the second during evenings as a waiter at a local restaurant. Although my schedule between classes, studying, and work kept me busy –
even frantic – at times, I never regretted the energy I spent. I realized that my own sweat was earning my own education.
Throughout my years at college my employment varied, but my job – my goal to support
myself through college – never faltered. As a trainer, an RA, a tour guide, as a cashier, clerk, and salesman, I knew that my education was my own. Bought and paid for with my own breathless lungs, wearied hands, and sleepless nights. I feel pride that my problems were problems, but not obstacles. My finances were hills, but not mountains. Others might have faltered where I stood strong. And I still believe that hard work, more than any other virtue, will turn even the most insurmountable problems into historic landmarks of triumph.