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In December of 2014 I began the application process for a Connecticut Speech-Language Pathology license from the State Board of Examiners. I wanted to get this license primarily to have another license with in New England and open up new travel opportunities in the northeast.
The application process for a Connecticut Speech-Language Pathology license lengthy considering that I am a nationally accredided SLP and hold other state licenses. You would think that these licenses demonstrate that I have completed the necessary requirements to be an SLP such as a Master’s Degree, Clinical Fellowship Year and Board Exams but yet I had to mail CT copies of my final grad school transcript, board scores and a signed letter from my clinical fellowship supervisor.
On top of being already lengthy and requiring me to dig up items from my deep past, I kept on having one set back after another that delayed the process of getting the license. For instance, Texas mailed CT a verification letter that I was in good standing with their board and signed it, however they forgot to check one box, which made the whole letter invalid and I had to start that verification process again from scratch. It seemed that just when I thought I had everything in order I got a call saying that something was submitted incorrectly and I ultimately had to keep on resubmitting the same information. By the time that April rolled around and I was leaving for a trip abroad I was ready to call it quits and forget about the license all together. I was actually surprised in May when I got a call from the board telling me that my license was approved. At the time I honestly forgot about the CT license because I had my mind set on going to Hawaii next, but now in retrospect the one assignment that I have done so far in CT has made the whole process worthwhile.
Over the summer of 2015 I had primarily been doing a lot of PRN work full time in eastern MA to give myself the flexibility to go to Hawaii if an assignment opened up there. However, by July I was getting frustrated with the lack of Hawaii jobs and my PRN schedule. Working PRN meant that that I had to constantly schedule myself for work, work almost all weekends, deal with last minute cancellations and having to bounce between 2-3 buildings a day to make the money that I wanted to make. When my recruiter called me mid July and asked me if I wanted to be submitted for a job in Hartford I jumped on the opportunity. A day later I was doing a phone interview from my car as I was driving 30 miles in-between buildings for work and before I knew it papers were being signed and I was planning my move to CT at the end of the summer.
I had been doing PRN and local temporary assignments for a while, so it had been a couple of months since I had taken an assignment on the road and was hesitant about where to stay and what to pack. When I haphazardly posted on facebook, “Taking an assignment in Hartford, need a place to stay, let me know if you have leads”. I was surprised that my former manager at an assignment in Western Mass who is an Occupational Therapist, Laura, responded saying that she just bought a farmhouse in CT and was looking to rent out a room. Perfect!
So in August I packed my bags and headed west out of Mass to CT. I had just attended one of my best friends weddings in Pittsburg over the weekend and got home to Boston late Monday night. Tuesday I packed my stuff up and I arrived at Laura’s house at around 9 pm and quickly unpacked some stuff out of my car while trying to relax and get my mind together to start my new job at 7:30 AM the next day.
My first impressions of my job in Hartford were that it is a very patient centered, outstanding medical center. These first impressions have continued to be true over my time there. In the five months that I have been working in Hartford I have been treated like a part of the large family of therapists and nurses and have been valued and supported as a clinician.
In a department of multiple speech pathologists with varying levels of experiences I have been able to establish wonderful working relationships with those in my department and have learned new techniques that have enhanced my practice. In a world of google, online CEU’s and instant answers, one of the more salient things that I learned clinically on this assignment was when my coworker pulled out an envelope with an old Nancy Helms-Estabrook article from the 80’s on Visual Action Therapy (VAT). While I had not thought about VAT since graduate school I found this approach to be extremely useful when working with patients with severe auditory comprehension deficits and could see results in my treatment.
More so than anything on this assignment I made it my personal goal to feel connected to other people. This would be the first assignment that I would be taking as a single person in almost three years and it was really important for me to connect with those around me. I went out of my way to be vulnerable and to meet others. From taking personal development seminars, attending weekly events with Penn State Alumni Association or trying every sushi happy hour in town, I have put myself out there and have met a lot of wonderful people.
This assignment reminded me of why I travel and has me excited about the possibilities in the future. I am definitely going to be sad in February when my contract ends, but am looking forward to the 5 week trip that I have scheduled through Central America. I just mailed in my application for licensure in California, which I hear is no walk in the park either, but hopefully it will get approved before the late spring. Oh course, I am still waiting on that job in Hawaii, which is my ultimate dream travel job and will most certainly happen in the future.
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