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Message From Student Representative
Chelsea Newman

Six Questions to Ask About Your Clinical Fellowship

No matter at what stage of the journey you are, it is never too early to begin considering your Clinical Fellowship (CF) position. When pursuing your CF, it is important to understand every aspect of the positions for which you are interviewing. This is a very exciting time, and it can be easy to lose sight of some incredibly important aspects of the CF you are seeking.

During the interview process, you will likely be asked many questions and there will be a time for you to respectfully ask about some specifications regarding the position. Here are a few questions that can help you advocate for yourself and decide if a CF position is right for you.

Will my CF supervisor be on-site?
The purpose of a CF experience is to improve the clinical effectiveness of the clinical fellow. This is the time to tailor and refine one’s skills as a clinician through the feedback provided by their CF supervisor. This feedback cannot be given as effectively if one’s supervisor is rarely on-site to observe the clinician administer assessment and treatment. It is in one’s best interest to make the CF experience as beneficial as possible, which is likely more readily achievable if one’s supervisor is available on-site.

What type of benefit package can be expected?
This is important to consider as some companies do not offer benefits. If benefits are offered, it is crucial to understand the specifications of the package in order to be able to plan for these expenses. This may be a big factor if you are in the position of weighing different offers as paying for health benefits out of pocket can be costly.

What are the caseload averages and productivity expectations?
This question really helps you advocate for yourself. When you know your expectations upfront, you can consider whether you believe they are attainable for you during your CF experience. It would be very unfortunate to be surprised by an overwhelmingly large caseload or high productivity demand after beginning your position.

What modality of documentation is used in this facility?
This is an important factor to consider as there may be a significant learning curve involved in getting accustomed to a new modality of documentation. Perhaps there are ways you can begin to research the mode of documentation to help ease the learning curve once you start your job.

Is reimbursement for continuing education credits offered?
Not only can obtaining continuing education credits be costly, but it is required in order to maintain your credentials and license as a speech-language pathologist. This is an expense that must be considered for the future. It can also be an indication of your workplace’s value of providing the most relevant and up-to-date services to your clients.

What space will be available for me to use?
Not only is this important for you to know for your personal purposes of completing paperwork but it is crucial for the benefit of your clients. In order to provide therapy that fits the individual needs of each person we serve, one must know the space that is available for providing assessment and treatment. A change of environment may be just what your client needs in order to excel in therapy.

These are just some points that have come up throughout my personal experience in interviewing for a CF. Advocating for yourself in the beginning stages of your career can often lead to increased job satisfaction in the long run. Whether you have graduated or are just beginning your degree, I wish you all the best of luck!

House of Representatives Pass Student Loan Bill
For more information on this bill, click on the link below: http://www.asha.org/News/Advocacy/2013/House-of-Representatives-Pass-Student-Loan-Bill.htm

Click here for a Q & A on the new student loan legislation.

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