All in a Day's Work: Nicole Gawloski, a speech pathologist who works with stroke patients at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, talks about her job. She discusses why she became a speech pathologist, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I evaluate patients who have had strokes and see inpatients and outpatients for therapy. Most of my patients have aphasia, a communication deficit in which they have difficulty understanding information and expressing thoughts and ideas. I help them understand information, follow directions, answer questions, name objects, describe things and hold a conversation. Some patients also have apraxia, which is difficulty forming sounds on your lips. My patients range in age from 30 to 80, with a lot of 40- and 50-year olds.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
I think of myself as part of a team with physicians, nurses, social workers, physical and occupational therapists. We all play a part in providing excellent care to our patients. I feel honored to be are part of that team. I think you need every single one of us to give someone good care.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with other speech pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, physicians, nurses and nursing assistants, and occasionally a dietician and respiratory therapist.
Q: Why did you become a speech pathologist?
I wanted to work with kids. I was fortunate enough to get an internship here at North Memorial during graduate school and fell in love with the place and developed a passion for working with adults. They're such a unique population and they're very motivated. I am passionate about helping them to get back to some semblance of a normal life.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I may see a patient for three to six months or up to a year. I love seeing the progress that they make. It's incredibly rewarding. I get to be a part of a patient's life for a very brief period of time and see dramatic changes.