The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast Full Transcript
Mattie Murrey 00:03
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a modern med SLP? Well, today we get to find out as we talked to Brooke Richardson. Brooke is a medical speech language pathologist in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a graduate of the medical SLP program at the University of Washington, and has more than 12 years of experience treating adults with complex medical needs in the inpatient, acute and outpatient settings. She has been instrumental in establishing respiratory muscle training programs in multiple hospitals and other healthcare settings, and is spoken internationally on RMT, respiratory muscle training. When she's not teaching or working at the hospital, Brooke enjoys spending quality time with her husband and daughter, drinking coffee, and traveling. She and I really connected on this show, and I'm sure you will too.
Welcome to The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. Have you ever wished you could go back and tell your younger self a way to do something better, or something that you’ve learned, or, gosh, just those words of wisdom that you would have loved to have known when you first started? That's what this series is all about. I am interviewing guests, and we reflect back on their words of wisdom, and what they didn't learn in grad school. And you'll be surprised by each one of these episodes. So, sit back, listen, and enjoy.
Welcome to this episode of the Missing Link for SLPs podcast. We are here with one of our final What I Didn't Learn in Graduate School Series, and we are here with Brooke Richardson. Welcome.
Brooke Richardson 01:50
Thank you so much for having me.
Mattie Murrey 01:52
You and I have been trying to connect for like a year, and I think everything's lined up, and this is working out even better. I have followed you for years since I first met you on the Modern MedSLP website, and the work that you do. And so, I'm really excited to have you on as a guest.
Brooke Richardson 02:09
I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Mattie Murrey 02:12
So, other than your bio, tell us who you are, and what's your big ’why’ of being an SLP?
Brooke Richardson 02:19
Yeah, I am Brooke Richardson. I've been an acute care and general med SLP since 2009. I went through the med SLP masters program at the University of Washington. I was actually in the first graduating class of that program, which makes me feel, and sound, very old!
So, ending up as an SLP was not a straight path for me. I met a lot of people who just knew they wanted to be an SLP their whole life. And I was definitely that little girl who was going to be a marine biologist. I moved from Colorado to Seattle to pursue my dream of being a marine biologist, and realized pretty quickly that that seemed like a lot of work, a lot of schooling and not a lot of money! And I thought, “Oh gosh, I don't know that I want to go to grad school”. Well, isn't that ironic?
Mattie Murrey 03:22
Yeah, that's what I was thinking!.
Brooke Richardson 03:25
But, you know, when I ended up going to grad school it was for something I was unquestionably passionate about …
Mattie Murrey 03:32
Brooke Richardson 03:32
… and it seemed like I could make a good career out of it. So, it ended up being a good thing! But my older sister actually has a developmental disability. She has complete agenesis of the corpus callosum, and atrophy of the lateral ventricles. And when I realized I no longer wanted to be a marine biologist, I started thinking, what do I want to do? And I happened upon the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department, and watched a few sessions in the student clinic.
Mattie Murrey 04:08
Brooke Richardson 04:08
I realized immediately I didn't want to work with people with autism. I fell in love with people with aphasia, and became a major in speech and hearing, and stuck around for grad school.
Mattie Murrey 04:25
That sounds exactly like my journey. I had something I was going to do before, observed and like no autism for me, definitely med SLP route.
Brooke Richardson 04:35
Yes, yes. I never even babysat as a kid. It just was not …
Mattie Murrey 04:39
Brooke Richardson 04:40
… I didn't have baby dolls.
Mattie Murrey 04:42
No, me neither.
Brooke Richardson 04:43
It was just not part of who I was. And so, when I saw that you could work with adults, and you could do medical – I've been a medical nerd my whole life. I was sold. So, it's really funny how some of us just know right away yes to this, no to that, and away we go.
Mattie Murrey 05:04
Mhm. And for those listening who are like not – who are not that clear on, yes, this is where I want to go – you've done quite a bit of work – which is why I'm excited to talk with you – quite a bit of work with new SLPs to the field. Have you found that SLPs find more direction, the more they examine, and are curious about what they enjoy doing?
Brooke Richardson 05:27
I think generally so, and a lot of this is based on my experience with taking grad students in the hospital setting as well. So, by the time people make it to my website, typically they know they want to be a med SLP, or they already are a med SLP. But from my experience with grad students, I've had a few come into the hospital setting who go, “Nope, I definitely want to work with kids …
Mattie Murrey 05:53
Brooke Richardson 05:53
… let's just kind of get through my hours”. And then they go – by the end of their experience, they go, “Oh, no. Now I really don't know what I want to do, because I was so convinced that I wanted to go down this one path, but I've seen what SLPs can do on the medical side, and now I'm not so sure. Can I have the best of both worlds once I leave grad school? Can I do both?”. So, it's funny because sometimes people – like you and I know for sure straight out the gate, it's med all the way, and some people know straight out the gate it’s pediatric education all the way.
Mattie Murrey 06:30
Brooke Richardson 06:31
And then sometimes people do change their minds.
Mattie Murrey 06:34
Brooke Richardson 06:34
Or decide they really do want to try and do everything.
Mattie Murrey 06:39
One of the beauties of our field is – when I started, I was like no children. I was like you. I didn't babysit or anything else like that. Had my own children, fell in love with my own children. Now, I'm primarily – well, I'm a graduate professor now, but when I work, I carry a clinic on Fridays, intensive care, acute care, and I get a sprinkle of some pediatrics in the outpatient clinic. And now, I do feel I have the best of both worlds.
Brooke Richardson 07:10
Mattie Murrey 07:10
So, our careers, yeah, they can be so dynamic, and so lateral.
Your website has a – it's The Modern MedSLP. So, you are heavy on the med, which is great, because there are a lot of SLPs out there who are transitioning, and want to have the best of both worlds, or they're shifting from the school into the med setting. Can you tell us about what makes your site unique?
Brooke Richardson 07:37
Yeah. So, like you said, it's really focused on medical, because I think that as a field we do have that diversity of choice…
Mattie Murrey 07:48
Brooke Richardson 07:49
… of working – gosh, even within the medical field in many, many different settings, not to mention expanding that out to pediatrics.
So, I think it's important if we want to become really, really skilled clinicians who have a good understanding of the evidence base to have a really focused approach to understanding what it is that we do, and to commit to a lifetime of learning so that we can provide the best patient care. And I'm going to use the word patient since it's all medical, to provide the best patient care that we can and understanding that the best patient care that we're providing tomorrow is going to look different than the best patient care we were providing five, 10 years ago, and that's okay. That's good.
Mattie Murrey 08:34
Brooke Richardson 08:35
We have to embrace and accept change and challenge. And that is a huge philosophy of mine, is always to embrace this change, and this idea of momentum and moving forward because that's what I would want. If I were a patient, or a consumer of healthcare, I want somebody who is keeping up to date, who is modern, who is connected with other med SLPs in this case, who share that same understanding, who don't want groupthink, who don't want to be told, “This is how we do it. This is the recipe”. There's no recipe for what we do…
Mattie Murrey 09:23
Brooke Richardson 09:24
… and we need to embrace critical thinking …
Mattie Murrey 09:28
Brooke Richardson 09:29
… and accept those challenges. And that's, I think, one of the really special parts of my website, is my philosophy surrounding community with other SLPs and teaching SLPs how to fish so that we can all go out and feel confident in managing even the most complex challenging patient cases, family situations, but still have that supportive community to go back to.
Mattie Murrey 09:57
Mhm. It’s funny you use that “teach them how to fish” because I often use that quote at the beginning of my courses, and I think it's – but I put SLP in there. So, teach – “Give an SLP a fish, feed her for a day. Teach an SLP how to fish, feed her for a lifetime - or him”.
Brooke Richardson 10:15
Right. Right, and feed their patients for a lifetime. Right?
Mattie Murrey 10:19
Brooke Richardson 10:19
I mean, it's you're feeding a whole lot of people if you're teaching an SLP how to fish…
Mattie Murrey 10:25
Brooke Richardson 10:25
… and that's – that’s critically, critically important.
Mattie Murrey 10:28
So, before the podcast started, I asked you about the name of your website, The Modern MedSLP, and you gave a great reason how you came up with that name. Can you walk us through that?
Brooke Richardson 10:39
Yeah. It took a lot of thinking. I’m not great with coming up with names, so I'm not going to say this came to me quickly. But I was really thinking of how – what my principles are, what my values are as a clinician, and as an educator, and as a citizen of the world, because I realized that nothing that I do is in a vacuum. Everything I do affects my family, affects my colleagues, affects my patients, affects the people who take my courses. So, really trying to have this big global picture of what it is that I do, and why I do it, and how I want to help other SLPs to really thrive.
And also, a lot of changes have happened in our world in the last couple of years. Obviously, we've had the COVID pandemic! But also things like George Floyd's murder, and I've been awoken to a new understanding of how important diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are in the world, but also in our field for our clinicians, for our future clinicians, for our patients, and doing my own work in trying to remain modern and up to date, and always moving forward with with these guiding principles.
So, that's really, very, very important to me, is this global community that we're all a part of, and making sure that everyone is invited to the table, and that we're elevating voices that typically aren't heard, and whether that is somebody who looks like you, or who is older than you, or younger than you, or more experienced, or less experienced, or comes from a different racial background, or gender, we all are modern SLPs. We're modern med SLPs, and we're all a part of this modern community. So, that's in addition to keeping up to date on best practice, and evidence, and all of that, is really looking at this from a global perspective.
Mattie Murrey 13:08
One of the things that I love about your website is you are heavy in case studies.
Brooke Richardson 13:14
Mattie Murrey 13:14
And you work hard on connecting that link, kind of like the missing link for SLPs. That's why I came up with my name. It was the connection between classroom and clinic…
Brooke Richardson 13:27
Mattie Murrey 13:27
… and you do that on your website with a very unique approach. Can you tell us about that?
Brooke Richardson 13:33
Yes. So, my website has a la carte courses in really specialized areas that you can take, but I also have a membership that is based in case studies. And the whole goal of this is to really integrate what we learned in the classroom, or what we read in a journal article, or what we hear somebody talking about, or what we hear in a podcast – really taking that information and integrating it into a real world case study. So, it's not just me. There are opportunities for other people to present their cases as well.
So, we're integrating this best evidence, but also not in a vacuum, because none of our patients beautifully fit that Broca's aphasia mold, and have no other deficits…
Mattie Murrey 14:24
Brooke Richardson 14:25
… or perfectly fit the head and neck cancer mold and no other deficits, or have only a trach and no other deficits. So, the case studies provide an evidence based background, but also really infuse that clinical knowledge with a real live patient that we have treated. And it's not all about either saying, “Well, I nailed it. I manage that patient with no problem. That was easy peasy”. It's about saying, “You know, it was really challenging for me to get this one physician on board, and I tried everything that I could. I advocated. I provide my rationale, but I just could not get this one physician on board”. So, we're talking about the case, but also the realities of being a modern med SLP, of being a clinician in the real world.
Mattie Murrey 15:25
So, you're integrating the knowledge with the skills in the art of being an SLP.
Brooke Richardson 15:32
Mattie Murrey 15:32
I tell my students it's not necessarily science, because it's not a, b, c, d. It’s the art of applying all of those things.
Brooke Richardson 15:40
Mattie Murrey 15:43
So, you just mentioned self advocacy. That's a hot topic nowadays. Do you have any recommendations on how SLPs can better advocate for themselves in our field?
Brooke Richardson 15:53
Sure. It's not easy, and it is not something that ever stops, right. It's like I said, a commitment to providing the best patient care is a commitment to lifelong learning. And the same is true for advocacy, because I've worked full time in three different hospitals, with three very different work cultures, and have had to do varying degrees of advocating for either myself as an individual, or my patients, or my services.
So, I think it would be really helpful to understand that advocacy is rooted in understanding. People need to understand what it is we're advocating for and why we're advocating for it. But we also need to understand that trust is part of this. And trust is something that is earned, it's not necessarily given. And I think, especially in health care, we need to make sure that we're earning the trust of our colleagues in nursing, and medicine, and respiratory therapy, physical, occupational, and even sometimes other speech pathologists.
So, we need to make sure that we're earning trust by showing what we can do for the patient. Now, again, it's not a bragging, “Look, look what a great job I did for your patient today”. But really showing through our actions and our words how we're helping this one individual patient. And then the more that the nurse, or the physician, sees this over and over and over again, they really start to trust you and respect you as an individual, and as a practitioner. And as you continue to develop these relationships, to earn people's trust and respect, if there are other ways that you need to pursue advocacy, you can.
So, you can say,”You remember those five patients we worked together on with communication in the ICU? You know what would be really nice is if your nurses had access to a communication cart so that they don't have to wait for me to come in within 24 to 48 hours. They have access to all of the tools that they need while they await a consult from speech pathology. What do you think about a cart like that?” So, you can advocate in these ways as well. It's not just about going up and giving a PowerPoint presentation, which also has its benefits, but really developing these important relationships with the people around us.
Mattie Murrey 18:36
Mhm. Excellent. Excellent advice. How about burnout? I know that's also something that's a hot topic in this area. Do you speak much with burnout? Any words of advice there?
Brooke Richardson 18:49
I have experienced burnout for the first time in my career because of the COVID pandemic. In February- March in 2020 my hospital hadn't seen its first patient with COVID yet, and I felt very much this calling to go in and work with these patients, and to provide them the best care possible. I really – I don't know. I felt invigorated, I guess. I'm not sure what the right word is, but I really felt compelled to go in and help these patients.
And as time has gone on, of course, I still help these patients, just like I help all of my other patients, but seeing how healthcare continues to change. It's changed a lot …
Mattie Murrey 19:41
Brooke Richardson 18:41
… in the 13 years I've been in the hospital systems. Seeing how it's continued to change, and how little control I have over that has been very, very eye opening. And so, I do admit I've experienced burnout in the last couple of years, and I never ever, ever thought that I would experience that, and here we are.
So, I think recognizing that you are feeling burned out, and knowing what burnout looks like to you is different than what it might look like to the next person.
Mattie Murrey 20:22
Brooke Richardson 20:22
And so, really acknowledging there's no shame in being burned out.
Mattie Murrey 20:27
Brooke Richardson 20:27
And I think that's – I think sometimes we feel like there's shame in it. And I think acknowledging, you know, I've been sleeping a lot more, or I've been more short tempered, or I've been eating too much, or I've not been eating enough, or I'm not exercising, or I just feel like I'm going through the motions when I'm working with my patients. Whatever burnout looks like to you, recognizing that maybe that's what it is.
Mattie Murrey 20:58
Brooke Richardson 20:58
And if you are going through burnout you can try a couple of different things. I'm no expert in this myself, but you can try the – I think it's called The Three Good Things. It's from Brian Sexton at Duke. He's very good about resilience in health care workers. So, Three Good Things can be really beneficial. I even do that with my own – with my seven year old when she's had a bad day at school. So, recognizing three good things that happened to you that day. They could be tiny. It could be that you saw a rainbow. It could be something big, like I helped a person with aphasia communicate. It doesn't matter. Three good things from that day, and either thinking about them and reflecting on them, or writing them down. If you look up Brian Sexton's work, he has more information on that. That's really important.
And also, if you think that you need support from a mental health perspective, whether it is seeing a counselor, or a psychiatrist for medications, do that. If you feel like you need a support group, even if it's not a technical support group, but a community of people who you trust to talk things through, and who have also maybe experienced burnout, or who have maybe successfully managed their burnout, maybe find that group. Maybe it's another group of SLPs. Maybe it's a group of nurses. It could be anybody, but find your people, and do what works for you. What works for me does not work for everybody. But really, again, identifying what burnout is for you, what you would like to change, and figure out ways that work for you that would make that better.
Mattie Murrey 22:59
I was part of a podcast – I do the podcasting for our Minnesota Speech and Language Hearing Association, I moderate their group, and we had this guest come on one time and she talked about burnout versus being overwhelmed. And she said, a very important identifying feature is when you leave and go away on a trip, and you have a wonderful time and you come back, if you're ready to step into your job again, and you're like, “Oh, gosh, that was great. Let's go. I'm ready for Monday”, then you're overwhelmed, and needed the break.
Brooke Richardson 23:29
Mattie Murrey 22:30
But if you come back, and you've got the Sunday night squeegees, where you're like, “I do not want to go to work”, then it's more likely burnout.
Brooke Richardson 23:38
Mattie Murrey 23:48
Yeah. I thought that was a good differentiation. And you said earlier when – gosh, when COVID hit, I just wanted to go. And you and I, and I'm sure many of our listeners, share the same passion for the med SLP work we do. We're like, this is what we do. This is why we do it. And sometimes when we are gung ho about these things – for me, it's about problem solving in a puzzle.
Brooke Richardson 24:04
Mattie Murrey 24:02
I mean everyday puzzles, and you figure it out. I can let those boundaries blur a little bit, and I give away too much of my time and energy, and then I realized, whoops, I'm getting burned out.
Brooke Richardson 24:18
Mattie Murrey 24:19
And so, that's when you're like, “Okay, I'm on the path to being burned out, or I am burned out”. And that's where those techniques, like Brian Sexton is like – the three good things. Many resources out there, and establishing boundaries, and yeah. So, good discussions.
Brooke Richardson 24:41
Yes, yes. And boundaries are things that I'm not great at, but I've been working on improving them. And I think recognizing that boundaries can change over time…
Mattie Murrey 24:53
Brooke Richardson 24:53
… and it's okay to establish new boundaries, and to maybe make your boundary a little more fluid with this person, but a little bit more rigid with that person, and understanding that people don't always receive boundaries well either.
Mattie Murrey 25:08
Brooke Richardson 25:08
So, if you haven't established boundaries before, and you start to establish them, you might feel a little bit of resistance from somebody, maybe like an employer. And really recognizing that establishing boundaries is not easy, but it's very, very important. And to just be true to yourself, and do the best that you can, and do what you need to do.
Mattie Murrey 25:32
And that's where that advocacy piece comes in.
Brooke Richardson 25:35
Mattie Murrey 25:35
Sometimes it's self advocacy. I worked at a spot one time where I carried a high percentage of the evaluations, like probably 82% of my caseload was evaluations, which was great, except everybody else was doing 3% or 4%.
Brooke Richardson 25:53
Mattie Murrie 25:54
And that's the way it rolled out. It was supposed to be around 30%, and it just edged up, edged up, edged up. And, I was – this was a while ago, but I was talking with my boss, and “Hey, we need to – you’re going to burn me out”, and I wasn't getting a response. And my teammates then we're like, as a department, “Here's what's going well. Here's what's not going so well. And here's some solutions”. So, sometimes when – yeah, being able to advocate for yourself so you don't get burned out is just something you don't learn in grad school, right?
Brooke Richardson 26:34
Oh, no. No. And I think – it's funny to think back on what you don't learn in grad school. There's a lot that we do learn, and there's a lot that we don't, and that’s normal.
Mattie Murrey 26:48
Brooke Richardson 26:48
No diss on grad school here. We can't learn everything…
Mattie Murrey 26:51
Brooke Richardson 26:52
… we do in grad school. I can't learn everything I need to know in my entire career!
Mattie Murrey 26:55
Brooke Richardson 26:55
But also, I think for me, I, ironically, have been cleaning out my home office and trying to get rid of old papers and things, and found old notes from grad school. And one of them was on expiratory muscle strength training, which I can teach courses on, but I could have sworn up and down that I never heard a word…
Mattie Murrey 27:25
Brooke Richardson 27:25
… about [crosstalk] muscle training. And here I go, I see a couple of different lectures where maybe it wasn't the focus of the lecture, but I definitely saw some of the devices and I went, “Oop”.
But we prioritize – our brain has to prioritize. We cannot absorb all of the information.
Mattie Murrey 27:44
Brooke Richardson 27:44
And also, if you would have told me in grad school that I would experience burnout, I would have gone, “Ha. Yeah, right. Doesn't apply”, because I love my job. I love what I do. I write, like I said, in February of 2020, if you would have told me I would have burned out, I would have said, “Yeah. No – that. No, I love what I do. I'm excited for this”...
Mattie Murrey 28:08
Brooke Richardson 28:08
… and here we are. So, I think that's kind of one of the funny things about learning. Not just in grad school, but in life, is our brain compartmentalizes things and decides what to do with it without us knowing that.
Mattie Murrey 28:23
Well, that's the conscious and subconscious, and learning how to deal with, and bring to the surface the subconscious processes that we have going on behind the scenes that lead to those blurred boundaries, and the burnout and things like that – which also leads to imposter syndrome, and I know you have some thoughts on that.
Brooke Richardson 28:45
Oh, yes. I experience impostor syndrome, not – maybe not every day, but I do experience it in and spurts. I mean, even being invited to be on a podcast is – it kind of hits at my imposter syndrome a little bit there because I think, “Well, why would anybody want to hear what I have to say?” Or “I don't necessarily know any more about x, y, and z, than anybody else. And so, that – I get impostor syndrome in that way from my teaching, and sort of, I guess, guest podcast guest perspective. Putting out a website – why would anybody want to listen to me?! I mean, I get impostor syndrome there too.
And it took a long time for me to get over the really big bits of impostor syndrome with my everyday patient care. So, I'll tell you that, for example, laryngectomy is not a patient population I work with very much. I haven't changed a TEP in years. I'm sure they've changed a lot since the last time I ever laid eyes on one. So, I would definitely have impostor syndrome if somebody wanted me to come in and give a talk on something like, I don't know, laryngectomy management. Because I can talk to you about it very, very vaguely for acute care, but definitely not anything more in depth. But I'll get impostor syndrome with – sometimes working with somebody with a really challenging aphasia, where I go, “Oh, it does not really fit into any box very neatly”. And, “Gosh, this person really feels like I'm the best person for the job.” And, “Oh, am I …”.
So, there are these times where I have these really challenging cases where I can start to question myself a little bit, but then I have to realize that I am more knowledgeable than the patient's family member, for example, or the neurologist when it comes to treating aphasia, and really trying to sort of build back up my own self confidence, I guess, in a way, right? It is acknowledging that there are limitations in my knowledge and skills. We all have limitations in our knowledge and skills. I don't care how long you've been practicing.
Mattie Murrey 31:22
Brooke Richardson 31:22
We all have them. So, acknowledging that, accepting it, working to improve your knowledge and skills in that area, and then accepting that, moving forward and saying, “Okay, I am worthy of treating this very challenging patient. I am the best person for this job. I am the best person available for this patient. I maybe will lean on a mentor, or my resources. I'm going to do the best job that I can for this patient”.
Mattie Murrey 31:57
And shifting that negative mindset to a positive mindset.
Brooke Richardson 32:02
Mattie Murrey 32:02
Yeah. I think imposter syndrome is not necessarily – it can be tied to confidence, but it's also this chronic little SLP sitting on your shoulder that says, you know, “You can't do this, and you're faking it”. But turning to the other SLP on the other shoulder, no matter what level of skill you have, maybe you're in grad school and you're going to start your first student…
Brooke Richardson 32:31
Mattie Murrey 32:31
… because you're in your first semester, and your clinical director just assigned you somebody. You still have the courses, or the start of the courses, or the start of something to confidently step forward, and turn and listen to the positive SLP comments, and change that neuroplasticity pathway.
Brooke Richardson 32:51
Yes, definitely. And I wonder if impostor syndrome is more common in people who are high achievers…
Mattie Murrey 33:01
Brooke Richardson 33:02
… and who are actually very, very knowledgeable, and very skilled.
Mattie Murrey 33:06
Brooke Richardson 33:01
… because I think there's a real danger in being overly confident, right?
Mattie Murrey 33:11
Brooke Richardson 33:12
I mean, how many times have I said on this show already that we need to constantly be learning, and I'm imperfect. And when we're a student, or a clinician, or just a member of this planet that we live on, and we think we know everything, that's dangerous to me.
Mattie Murrey 33:35
Brooke Richardson 33:35
I think impostor syndrome, as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it is, if we can acknowledge that having impostor syndrome, it ironically means that we're probably pretty darn good at what we're doing, and not letting it paralyze us.
Mattie Murrey 33:54
Brooke Richardson 33:55
I think – I don't know. I think that's something that we should probably reflect on if we're experiencing impostor syndrome.
Mattie Murrey 34:04
Well, it's funny you bring that up, because research does show that people who are challenged with impostor syndrome, most of us are women, and over 80% of us are high – considered high achievers. And …
Brooke Richardson 34:18
Yeah, it sounds a lot like SLPs.
Mattie Murrey 34:21
It does, it does! And we're also competitive.
Brooke Richardson 34:24
Mattie Murrey 34:24
And so – and this is something I've seen change over the years, it used to be cutthroat, and it was you or another member in your cohort. And now, mental wellness practice says let's have a collaborative approach. Let's support one another. I did a course last night, where it was on team building, and the strength of an individual ties in – what's the word – it correlates with the strength of a team. So, the stronger an individual is, the stronger a team is. And so, changing the competitive to a collaborative approach also helps, I think, with imposter syndrome.
Brooke Richardson 35:05
Yeah, I agree. And it's interesting, because everybody on that team needs to be willing to do that. And I think that's….
Mattie Murrey 35:14
Brooke Richardson 35:14
… that's one big challenge of working with human beings is making sure that your team is cohesive, and finding ways to make that happen so that no one person comes out as necessarily the leader. And I mean that in the way of the highest performers the best, being perceived as thinking they're the best, or being perceived as thinking they're the weakest. It's really I think the challenge for these teams, whether it's a team of two or 20, to really figure out how to distribute knowledge and skills while not making somebody feel any better or worse, or less than.
Mattie Murrey 36:06
Mhm. So, two questions. One of them is my very favorite question, and I'm rubbing my hands here because I did not let you know about this question beforehand! And you're like, “Oh”. One of my favorite questions to ask, is what are some words of advice that someone gave you that you were glad you did not follow?
Brooke Richardson 36:25
Oh, wow! I …
Mattie Murrey 36:29
I get this response every time, but it provides and yields some of the best answers.
Brooke Richardson 36:34
Words of advice that I'm glad I didn't follow. Hmm. That's a hard one to answer when you're experiencing burnout!
Mattie Murrey 36:44
Brooke Richardson 36:45
Mattie Murrey 36:48
A hard one to answer.
Brooke Richardson 36:49
It is. That's a very, very hard one to answer. I mean, I can think of words of advice that I have followed, or that I really did believe, and now I'm realizing they weren't true.
Mattie Murrey 37:04
Oh, sure. Share one of those with us.
Brooke Richardson 37:07
Okay. So, I was raised that if you love what you do, two things happen. The money will follow, and you'll never work a day in your life. Okay. So, I get the concept of if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. I love what I do. My career, my job gives me meaning and purpose and fulfillment in ways that I don't think every career could.
Mattie Murrey 37:44
Brooke Richardson 37:44
However, there's still productivity standards, weekends and holidays, and things like that. So…
Mattie Murrey 37:51
Brooke Richardson 37:44
It’s just sort of an interesting dichotomy, I guess. And if you do what you love, the money will follow – I mean, I have a career in healthcare, and I have a stable job. But I think that that advice was perhaps a little bit misleading to a very naive person growing up in a very prosperous time in America, so.
Mattie Murrey 38:22
I am so glad you said that, because I have heard that often. If you love what you do, you know, this, this, this, and all of this, this glorious red velvet carpet is going to roll out in front of you.
Brooke Richardson 38:35
Mattie Murrey 38:36
And when I have students that come to Fresh SLP, or come to my stuff, they're like, “Wait a minute, my carpet didn't roll out. Something's wrong with me. Something I'm doing”. And it's like, no, this is a mindset that – while it has some elements of truth to it, is a mindset that really isn’t realistic and can set people up to fail.
Brooke Richardson 38:58
Mattie Murrey 39:00
So, on that piece then, what words of advice would you recommend to somebody in graduate school?
Brooke Richardson 39:09
I would say give yourself as much grace as you can. You're learning a lot and you're not only learning about aphasia, and dysarthria and dysphagia, you are learning about a lot of professional issues that extend far beyond textbooks. You're learning how to integrate your textbook knowledge with real patients. You're learning how to interact with distraught family members, with members of the medical team who may or may not be receptive to what it is you have to say.
Mattie Murrey 39:45
Brooke Richardson 39:45
You are learning to have different styles of supervision as you're going through your clinical placements. You're going to learn how to interact with people, and what your learning style is, and what your feedback style is as you go into your clinical fellowship. And you're going to take these experiences for the rest of your career, and even if you don't have the best experience in one setting, or with one supervisor, there's still a lesson to take away from that. There's still some nugget of information, or something that you learned, something that you improved about yourself as a result of that experience that was maybe not overall positive. Of course, your positive experiences, you'll take those along with you too. But give yourself grace. Know that learning begins the day that you graduate.
Mattie Murrey 40:46
All right, what is one thing you did not learn in graduate school?
Brooke Richardson 40:51
Gosh, what is one thing I didn't learn in graduate school? Mhm. There are so many. Okay. I didn't truly learn in graduate school how to be a part of a truly supportive community.
Mattie Murrey 41:16
So, go find those communities.
Brooke Richardson 41:19
Go find them, and do not leave them.
Mattie Murrey 41:21
Right. They can find one at The Modern MedSLP, and at Fresh SLP. Thank you for your time today, Brooke.
Brooke Richardson 41:28
Thank you so much. It was great to be here.
Mattie Murrey 41:39
I hope today's conversation has created some aha moments for you, and motivated you to become a better SLP, continuing to connect some of those missing links between what you know and how to use that knowledge.
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