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Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Do you even know what a mentor really is? 

Every successful person in the world has had someone show them the ropes along their way to success at some point. In fact, a survey from the Association of Talent Development (ATD) found that 75% of private-sector executives credit their mentors for where they are now in their careers. The survey also showed that 71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs to help train new employees and develop new leaders. So it must be important, right?

As new professionals, we have much to learn. So why is it then that most of us don’t actively pursue a mentor to help advance our professional careers?

The benefits are clear for both the mentor and protégé - the most obvious being personal and professional growth. However, there are other advantages including the development of leadership skills, getting access to a larger professional network through the mentor, and being exposed to new perspectives.

It is up to you and the other person as to how formal or informal you want the mentor relationship to be but being clear and deliberate about your goals for the relationship and what you want to achieve is imperative for a successful mentorship.

When looking for a mentor, you’ll want to find someone who not only knows what you want to know but is also willing to take time to guide you. Hopefully you also chose someone who you get along with since you will be spending some time together.    

On the other side, as new professionals, we also have much to contribute. Just because we’re ‘new’ or young doesn’t preclude us from being able to act as a mentor to others. If you consider that we’re all on a spectrum of knowledge and that on one side of us are people with more knowledge and on the other side are people with less, we will always be in a position to learn from those ahead of us while contributing to the growth of those behind us.  This is how we as a profession can become stronger.

So how do you get started? Perhaps you already have someone in mind and just haven’t taken that first step to ask. Maybe you don’t think you know anyone who would be willing to be a mentor. Luckily, audiology has many willing mentors out there ready to pass their knowledge along.  If you need more help, there are hundreds of books on the subject to help you find your path. The key is to just get started.

If you’re interested in being a part of a mentor program, the Academy recently launched a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring CEU Program. Contact Katy Sidwell for more information.

Find a mentor, be a mentor, and find success.

TeleHealth and Licensure

TeleHealth and Licensure

Do you know if your state license regulates the services you may provide via telehealth or tele-audiology?  Do you know what telehealth is?  Telehealth is the concept of providing healthcare services remotely via technology such as high-speed internet, webcam, and smart phone.  This technology is evolving rapidly and becoming a part of daily audiology practice today.  The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) utilizes clinical video telehealth to provide real-time video appointments between audiologists and veteran patients at remote clinical sites.  Beyond the VHA telehealth program there are now various hearing aid manufacturers providing remote programming options for their devices.  This will allow the audiologist to make programming adjustments through an app on the patient’s phone.  What this means is that tele-audiology is closer to becoming a daily part of your practice than you may realize.  Does your license support it?

In September of 2017 the State of Illinois passed a new version of the Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act which became effective January 1, 2018.  These changes are thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of the Illinois Academy of Audiology.  Among many improvements to the licenses of Illinois audiologists this act included provisions allowing an audiologist to provide services through telehealth modalities.  The practice act specifies that the practice of audiology may be conducted with video conferencing.  It further explains that the use of telephone, email, messaging, and store and forward technology should be used in conjunction with or supplementing the use of video conferencing.  Additionally, this act regulates that an audiologist outside of Illinois but providing services to a patient in Illinois is subject to the rules and regulations of this act.

On the federal level the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2550) has been introduced and identifies audiologists as eligible providers of telehealth services for Medicare patients.  As it currently stands an audiologist is not reimbursed by Medicare for telehealth related services.  Within the VHA a new rule has been proposed which will allow providers employed by the VHA to provide telehealth services (including tele-audiology) anywhere in the country regardless of the location of provider and patient.  There is also companion legislation to this rule (S.925) which has passed the Senate and is now in consideration with the House which allows VHA providers to practice across state lines, via telehealth, without restriction by individual states.

As advancements in telehealth continue and telehealth becomes more widely adopted by health care providers, it is important that audiologists understand licensure requirements and our scope of practice in the state or states in which we practice.  If you are unsure about your license consult your practice act and read it thoroughly.  Contact your state audiology licensure board or look for resources from within your state association if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation.

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Did you receive Federal Perkins loans during your undergraduate or graduate education? As an allied health professional, you may be eligible to have all or a portion of your Federal Perkins loans canceled! An application, including proof of licensure and full time employment, must be submitted to the holder(s) of your Perkins loans. If approved, loan payments will be postponed for 12 consecutive months of eligible full time employment. Upon subsequent documentation of eligible employment, a portion of the loan is canceled. This postponement/cancellation cycle is repeated for a minimum of 5 years, during which time up to 100% of Perkins Loans may be canceled.

Contact the holder of your Perkins loans (either your university or their designated 3rd party servicer) to submit a request for postponement/cancellation. Keep in mind that if you attended multiple universities, you will need to submit multiple applications to whichever institutions hold your loans. Reach out to your university or visit the student aid website to learn more.