ASHA Voices: How COVID-19 Changes Our Professional Lives

In this episode, we discuss with audiologists and SLPs across the country the immediate and drastic effects of the pandemic on their work. From the Seattle area to New York, they face significant challenges, but they also address these challenges.

Read the transcript of this episode.

Featuring voices of professionals in schools, private practices, universities and healthcare, this episode provides snapshots of what members are experiencing in various workplaces, including qualified nursing homes.

Before we can point, we have to go take our temperature and record it. And then if we have any symptoms, we have to go talk to the infection control nurse, and she, of course, would send us home. —SLP Erin Carver, Seattle Area Skilled Nursing Facility

We hear Hallie Bulkin, who runs Little Sprout Therapy in Bethesda, Maryland, as brick and mortar practice suddenly switches to telepractice. The transition was stressful for some of its SLPs, says Bulkin, and the reaction of its customers is also varied. Some were ready to make the change; others less.

Jasmin Davoodi is a school-based SLP in the Unified School District of Los Angeles. Davoodi does not yet know whether his school district will switch to providing telepractice services.

It was really difficult because a lot of parents emailed me and they say, “What’s going on? Is there something we should do at home?”
—Jasmin Davoodi, SLP, Los Angeles Unified School District

In addition, educational school audiologist Carrie Spangler shares questions about support for her students with hearing loss. And in academia, Central Michigan University assistant professor Katie Strong discusses the effects of the pandemic on academia and students, and describes the transition to a fully online format.

There is a lot to navigate. Things like: students planning to graduate, second year students who must have clinical clock hours and skills, and a number of weeks and internships according to our own policies.

—Katie Strong, assistant professor, Central Michigan University

Need support? Consult ASHA resources

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates

Telepractice Resources During COVID-19

5 steps to get started in telepractice

COVID-19: Report of private practitioners on office closings and telepractice

To complete the episode, SLP Tami Altschuler, clinical specialist in patient communication at the NYU Langone Medical Center. She offers advice to SLPs to facilitate conversations when a person is wearing a medical mask and describes the ways in which COVID-19 intersects with their work.

We have a lot of patients who are already intubated. I had a situation [Friday] morning when I saw a patient [the day before] then discovered [on Friday] that he was awaiting test results for COVID. And then I had to ask myself: am I asymptomatic? And, is it possible that I transmitted the virus to him? Or did he give it to me somehow? And so you go through these comings and goings: did I give it to him? Did he give it to me? … It turned out that the result was negative, and that’s great. But I feel like we are going through this every day … and we are very afraid of being able to transmit the virus to our patients.

—Tami Altschuler

Recently, Altschuler helped develop free communication tools to facilitate conversations with patients who use respirators or other respiratory tools. In partnership with the United States Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, the Patient-provide Communication Forum has published the tools here: patientprovidercommunication.org.

Although their experiences vary, these CSD professionals are united in their rapid response to disturbances of COVID-19 in their professional lives.

Meet our guests:

  • Erin Carver, MS, CCC-SLP, qualified nursing center near Seattle, Washington
  • Carrie Spangler, MA, CCC-A, Summit Educational Service Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
  • Jasmin Davoodi, MS, CCC-SLP, Los Angeles Unified School District, California
  • Hallie Bulkin, MA, CCC-SLP, Little Sprout Therapy, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Katie Strong, PhD, CCC-SLP, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant
  • Tami Altschuler, MA, CCC-SLP, clinical specialist in patient-provider communication, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City

To listen to each episode as soon as it is released, follow the ASHA Voices page on Leader Live or subscribe to the program with Apple podcasts, Spotify, or google play.

Questions or comments? Write to us at podcast@asha.org. Or leave us a voice message at 301-296-5804. We can include your comment in a future episode.


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