Working in Multiple Settings
After college, Libby DeMull knew that she wanted to work as a speech language pathologist with older adults in a variety
of settings, but was really drawn to those with neurologic disorders. She knew that working in a variety of settings might be necessary, as most skilled nursing facilities do not have the caseload to support a full time SLP. She currently works in skilled
nursing, home health, and inpatient/outpatient care settings.
DeMull currently enjoys working in this assortment of settings. She has had to customize her schedule to fit in hours for
her inpatient hospital care and home health. She finds inpatient care exciting because of its urgency, and the resources that are available while collaborating with doctors and nurses. Although urgency can be invigorating, it also can create stress with the
seriousness of the situation.
Skilled Nursing Setting – A Great Family-like Atmosphere
However, the majority of DeMull’s time is spent working in skilled nursing setting. She was originally drawn to this setting
because of her desire to work with adults with neurologic disorders and post-traumatic brain injuries. When a position opened up at a nursing facility with a good reputation, she jumped at the opportunity. At the facility, DeMull has been able to work with
those patients who have significant swallowing problems that can be even more complicated because of dementia.
DeMull has found, that in addition to it being perfect for her skill set, long term care also offers her a great working
environment. She appreciates the flexibility that comes with having all of the patients in-house, so schedules can be rearranged as needed. She also appreciates how relationships form in an SNF setting among the staff and the residents. “Skilled Nursing provides me with a family atmosphere,” says DeMull. As a young professional, she finds it extremely life giving to learn from those of a generation different than her own.
Challenges of Working as an SLP in Skilled Nursing Facility
DeMull says that unlike outpatient, the residents in a long term care facility are medically fragile. “They are in long term care for a reason.” she states. So, she says, there are pretty significant swallowing problems, as well as cognitive problems that she faces
DeMull is continuing to further her skills and education. “As a new grad, I am still growing in my clinical expertise” says
DeMull. While she hopes to keep working in a similar fashion for the next few years, she is completing her VitalStim Certification, and is interested in growing more in the field of Dysphagia Therapy.