The Number One Personal Quality of a Speech-Language Pathologist

As the summer season fades away and autumn starts to tiptoe up to our front steps, most of us lovingly welcome the seasonal transition because autumn brings many lovely things with it. From pumpkin-flavored things to Halloween-themed things, this time of the year is a favorite time for many individuals (myself included!).

Ah-choo!

Oh, and sometimes with the change in seasons, you might also find yourself getting a bit sick. Did you know that October is officially the kick-off month of the flu season in the United States?

Visiting with doctors.

The chances that you might get a bit sick with the sniffles during this time of the year are pretty high. And the chances that you might visit a doctor to help you with your sniffles; that’s pretty high, too.

Personal qualities of a health care provider.

As a speech-language pathologist, I can’t help but notice that sometimes doctors don’t have the best “bedside manners.” Sometimes when I have the sniffles and I visit a doctor, sometimes they aren’t as warm as I’d hope they’d be. And let me be clear, not all doctors are like this, but some certainly are so it forces me to think about interactions, as a whole. The ways that we, as health care providers, interact with our clients are important to think about because our chosen approach and attitude to interacting can (and does) set the stage for improved/effective care and client satisfaction.

SLP personal qualities.

As I mentioned in the video portion of this blog post, my friends and I recently got into a great discussion about what’s the one personal quality that every SLP should have, in order to be the best clinician who provides the best services? Maybe it’s being encouraging when we interact with our clients. Maybe it’s being patient during these interactions. Maybe it’s being appropriately humorous. How about being self-aware? Imaginative? Empathetic?

Which one is THE ONE?

The answer to that question is quite simple: there isn’t an answer because there isn’t a magical ONE. If we want to think about our SLP “bedside manners” and how we interact with our clients, we need to fully understand that, in regards to the aforementioned personal qualities, we need to have a combination of all of those, and more, if we hope to be the best clinician who provides the best services.

Think about your personal qualities.

For anyone that knows me, ya’ll know that I’m all about reflecting. I’m all about taking an honest look at myself, as a clinician, to evaluate how I’m doing. When I do these self-evaluations on myself, I always come across some aspects that I know I can improve upon. During my most recent self-evaluation, I came to the realization that I could afford to be more organized because my organization isn’t as strong as it could be. Organization and the act of being organized, that’s a legitimate personal quality and it’s one that I want to improve. I want to be more organized (particularly with my therapy filing cabinet and my whole filing system) because I know it will set the stage for improved/effective care and client satisfaction when I interact with my clients.

Find the colleagues that are doing it right and mirror what they’re doing!

Maureen Wilson is a good friend of mine and I’ve learned so much from her over the past few years. The moment that I said to myself, “Yo! Erik! You need to improve your organization . . .” Maureen was the first person I thought of. She’s an SLP organization champion – as evidenced by some of her more recent blog posts like I Heart Organization, How Do I Make A Speech Therapy Schedule, and What You Should Be Bringing To An IEP Meeting. So since reading the blog posts that I’ve just mentioned, I’ve adopted some of her ideas into my world and I’ve totally been reaping the benefits from the new organized me!

You can improve your personal qualities if you want to.

I’ve come across a lot of people in my day say things like, “Oh, personal qualities are so deeply engrained in you that they’re all pretty set in stone.” Well, I respectfully disagree with that notion. Humans can change if they want to. If you’re a doctor that doesn’t have the best “bedside manners,” you can work on empathy and other aspects that relate to “bedside manners.” And if you’re an SLP who feels he’s a bit unorganized, you can absolutely work on organization. All personal qualities can be improved; you just have to want to improve.

In closing . . .

As an SLP, what personal qualities do you want to work on so that you keep on growing as a clinician? Maybe you want to work on some of your “bedside manners?” Or perhaps you want to work on being more organized? The sky is the limit with you, so let’s make sure we keep on having conversations with on another that encourage clinical growth. Cool? Cool!

The Number One Personal Quality of a Speech-Language Pathologist

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