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SLP Spotlight: Tina Wickenden

Picture of Tina for SLP interview series

SLP Spotlight

Interview Series

This week on the blog is medical SLP, Tina Wickenden. Tina is an acute care speech-language pathologist who graduated with her M.S. in communication disorders from Nova Southeastern University. She has been working as an SLP for six years, and her clinical interests include swallowing and airway disorders. Tina shares about a day in the life of an acute care SLP on Instagram @adayintheslpife

Tina Wickenden @adayintheslpife

What is your favorite quote and why?

So many favorite quotes but I’ll pick “This too shall pass”. I always say this to myself because life is always changing and always moving. There are good times and bad times, ups and downs, but it’s important to remember, that nothing will last forever. You will get through. So when times get rough, I try and to remember “This too shall pass”, and it always does. 

What is your favorite book and why?

I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. I feel it’s a timeless story of overcoming difficult times and situations but shows that all can be accomplished if you never give up. There is so much more to it but I relate to this story on so many levels.

What is your special interest in the field of speech-language pathology?

I love dysphagia and airway disorders. I can work that all day every day (which I mainly do). A funny story is that my dysphagia teacher would probably be shocked that my specialty is in dysphagia. He thought I never cared for it because I left my book in class the first day and we completely got off on the wrong foot. I’m thankful for his class now and for my placements because they made me fall in love with what I do. 

What is some of the best SLP advice you have ever received? 

It’s okay to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it and fix it.

Tell me about your graduate school and clinical experiences.

I went to Nova Southeastern University and my clinical were completed at University of Miami Hospital and Health South Rehab hospital. Working at the inpatient rehab gave me real perspective on what to look forward to as a medical SLP. When I completed that placement, I knew that’s the route I wanted to pursue. I didn’t start there, my journey took time and a lot of effort, but I’m where I want to be and am enjoying every second of it. 

What advice would you give to SLP students and/or CF’s who would like to go into the medical setting? 

My biggest advice to students and CFs is to understand that you are not expected to know it all. Students should really “take in” their med SLP placement and enjoy the different things you will learn. Some places will open positions for you if they like you or want you on board. However, it’s not always as easy as you think. I did not complete my CF in a med SLP environment. I worked my way into the area. I think it’s important to remember to take any position or experience that you can add toward achieving your ultimate goal. A little sacrifice will go a long way. Whether it be driving an hour away every day to get that experience, volunteering, and/or networking. Do what you can to make yourself appealing to those who work in the hospitals. It may not be the dream med SLP position, or your ultimate final location, but it’s definitely a start. 

Tell me what you’re working on right now. 

I’m working on implementing the IDDSI* with an entire team within all our facilities. It’s been at a stand still with COVID 19, but before that we were on a roll and I was learning so much about how a huge roll out like this is put together (not to mention it’s pretty awesome to rep acute SLPs from my specific facility).

(*International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative/IDDSI) 

Check out Tina on her blog and social media:

https://www.instagram.com/adayintheslpife/

http://www.adayintheslplife.com/

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