Tracy Meyer, a speech-language pathologist at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
About 70 percent of my patients have had a stroke; others have had other neurological trauma, brain injury or spinal cord injury. I see patients for 30 to 60 minutes, usually twice a day. Many have communication or language impairments, so I help them learn how to speak again. I also provide cognitive therapy, helping establish strategies for short-term memory, attention, safety, judgment and problem solving. I also train patients in swallowing exercises and monitor their function and safety in eating and swallowing.
I lead a stroke education group for patients and families. I am in charge of scheduling and also attend team conferences/rounds daily to discuss specific patients and their plans of care.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Speech-language pathologists play a big role in the communication and nutrition piece of patients recovery. These are some of the basic lifeline functions that we're the experts in.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with other speech-language pathologists, with physical and occupational therapists, nursing staff, doctors, dieticians, social workers, recreation therapists, patients and families.
Q: Why did you become a speech-language pathologist?
My aunt is a speech pathologist. I shadowed her and initially thought I'd work with kids, but during my college internship I realized I wanted the challenge of working in a fast-paced healthcare setting.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I enjoy patient care, healing and interaction. In the rehab setting you see so many positive changes and that's very rewarding. I've established great relationships with my co-workers and that keeps me coming back every day. Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute is a great organization to work for.