We met two VCH Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) to learn more about their profession, their passion for helping others, and to bring more awareness to communication health. Kimberly and Gillian are two of eight SLPs who work at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). “We work very hard to support each other by mentoring, taking cases if someone is too busy and encourage each other to be the best SLPs we can," says Kimberly.
The small but mighty team of SLPs at VGH support one another and work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team. “Anytime I need advice or to bounce ideas off a colleague, they always make a point to take time out of their day to spend the time to help. As I have become more experienced, I have adopted the attitude of my colleagues, making peer support and education a priority in my day," shares Gillian.
“As an SLP in acute care I am involved in the assessment, management, and treatment of patients with varying degrees of swallowing and communication difficulties. I am passionate about dysphagia (difficulties with swallowing) and cognitive systems," says Gillian. “I love helping my patients be able to eat and drink safely and communicate. I also love problem-solving and working together with the multidisciplinary team to provide the best care," adds Kimberly.
Kimberly and Gillian experience countless inspirational moments as SLPs. “The other day one of the patients was able to eat and drink for the first time in seven months after receiving a double lung transplant. I'll never forget how happy she was and she told me she had sushi the night before," shares Kimberly.
Gillian finds it very rewarding to support patients with vocal fold paralysis post-cardiac surgeries. “Patients who undergo heart surgery occasionally have paralyzed vocal folds as a result of nerve damage or nerve compression from swelling, which has implications for their voice and swallowing. Helping them understand why their voice sounds different and determining a safe oral diet to prevent lung infections has been very rewarding."
To explore the current speech-language pathologist and audiologist positions at VCH, visit: careers.vch.ca