Why Audiology Is My PassionBy Sue Hollar, AuD
I began my career after obtaining my nursing degree in 1977. After not being able to find a job in nursing, I decided to pursue another career. At the time, speech pathology was of interest. (Do you get the picture that I like helping others?) A professor from SUNY Plattsburgh was at the college where I got my nursing degree and he actually tried to talk me out of applying! My grades at the time were just barely adequate for application to a college. He didn't feel that I would do well at his college. However, after being accepted into SUNY Plattsburgh and taking a few audiology courses I found my passion! (Not to mention straight As!) I did so well in audiology that there was no question in my mind what my new career goal was. I had found my niche. I attended SUNY Plattsburgh for both my BA and MA. in audiology. Back then, hearing aid licenses were not required. Much of what is done in audiology today was not even in the picture. ABR was just emerging as a valued tool in diagnostics. Hearing aids were analog with "digital" just getting into the picture (analog digital). However, I had the added blessing of a professor (PhD) who sparked an interest in research, which I dove into while attending SUNY.
After I graduated and did my CFY, I was approached by a local ENT physician who asked if I would be willing to start a clinic at our local hospital. He told me he would help me get the clinic going by paving the way. I ordered the equipment, set up the clinic, started marketing, and began a very fruitful career path managing that department at the hospital. Audiology was always a passion for me but became a super passion when my patients would come in for their testing and, after they were done, provided positive feedback (unsolicited) regarding my presentation and testing skills. I loved putting hearing aids on people and having them tell me that they could finally hear! Since I am a person who likes to help others and gets satisfaction from doing so, this was a huge blessing. I worked in that clinic for a total of eight years before I left to take care of my children.
Fourteen years later, when my children were old enough, I desired to return to my field. It was then that I sought my AuD through PCO School of Audiology when the late Dr. Osborne was president. My feeling was that if I were going to return, I needed to update my skills and refresh the old ones. My college did not have ENG testing equipment or ABR equipment until the last 6 months before I graduated. So, those skills were definitely in need of developing! I attended PCO from 2004 to 2006, at which time I received my AuD degree. Prior to receiving my degree I started to work again at that same hospital where I started the clinic. By then, I had to get my hearing aid license to meet the newer standards. I also joined AAA and became Board Certified in Audiology through ABA. I felt this was necessary for my career as it showed that I was competent in my skills and had the knowledge required to accomplish them. In meeting the requirements for continuing education I even received an award for the amount of CEUs I had accrued! I went over and beyond because I felt, as a professional, that the more I learned through CEUs, the more proficient I would be for my patients. I am constantly attending conferences and AudiologyNOW! to improve my knowledge and skills. All that being said, my passion still remains for my patients. My goal is to provide, within my scope of practice, what care is in their best interests. I still get tons of unsolicited positive feedback from my patients which is a bonus and continues to give me the added plus of knowing that I did the best I could for them.
My desire for my career, as long as I can work, is to continue learning (yes, through conferences, seminars and CEUs!) and doing what is best for the people I serve. I pursued my doctorate because it represents the very essence of what audiology is about as well as a higher standard of professional excellence. (There were no PhD programs near me, so that was out of the question.) I am proud to hold my doctorate and even more proud that I can still provide optimal care for those who come in and see me. When I go to meet my maker, I would like to be known as Sue Hollar, AuD, ... Audiologist. I don't live for my career nor does it make me who I am. Rather, it gives me much pride and satisfaction to know that I am able help someone.