"As a speech and language therapist you can support individuals to develop communication skills, or support their eating and drinking. But you’re also there to enhance the environment and raise awareness of communication, eating and drinking difficulties. For me that’s really important and sometimes it’s the small changes that can have the biggest impact. You also never stop learning in this profession; there is always something else to find out about and you get to meet a great range of people. My favourite part of it is getting to know service users and their families.
It’s also important to me to teach my students in a supportive environment, by using active learning and application of theory to practice. My colleagues and I are really proud that we’re all qualified speech and language therapists in different areas. It means that not only do we talk about policy and research but we can actually discuss how we have applied it in practice. When you’re a student on placement working with experienced clinicians you think ‘that’s magic, I’ll never get there’, but at Essex we can unpick that and show our students that you will be able to get there and that there are thought processes behind the decisions that you see.
Another thing I was really proud of was to be awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in the summer, which I wasn’t expecting. I was encouraged to apply but wasn’t expecting to win it. It’s a University of Essex award and I won within the experience category and it’s quite widely celebrated. I was presented the award during graduation. It was a really nice positive experience."