News Bytes

Workplace Burnout

Workplace Burnout

The World Health Organization (WHO) has redefined burn-out in the new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11). Burn-out is a syndrome tied to “chronic workplace stress that has not been managed.” Burn-out is not classified as a medical condition but considers it an “occupational phenomenon” that can influence an individual’s health. The Harvard Business review reported that the problems of employees with burn-out cost up to $190 Billion a year in the US. What does this mean for a new professional, and how can it be avoided or managed?

WHO characterizes burn-out by the following: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job, reduced professional efficacy. It specifies that these feelings and behaviors relate specifically to the workplace and should not be applied to other aspects of life. Burn-out can result from multiple things: unclear job expectations, workplace dynamics, lack of control over things such as schedule or workload, monotony or high demand at work, feelings of isolation, poor work life balance. Many of these factors are not within the employee’s control, but there are things that a person can do to alleviate some work-related stress.

How can a person help avoid or reverse workplace burnout? First you should identify your strengths and weaknesses. Identify your passions, the things that make you excited about audiology; look at new projects that are engaging and interesting to break the rut.  Identify weaknesses that are holding you back from succeeding; would additional training or learning about new subject areas improve your daily workload.  Next, talk with your supervisor or manager; communicate your needs and discuss ways top relieve workplace stress. Develop partnerships with your coworkers; having someone to talk to about workplace stress is good for your mental health. Additionally, keeping good health habits can affect your daily attitude and mental health; make sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.  Finally, if you have done all of these things, and are still feeling burnout, consider a change; sometimes a workplace is just not a good fit.


Other Resources on Workplace Burnout:

 

Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program: How Does It Work and What Do You Need to Know?

Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program: How Does It Work and What Do You Need to Know?

Today, more Americans are burdened by student loan debt than ever before. Student loan debt affects new professionals across many professions, including audiology. There are many loan repayment options and programs available, but for many new professionals, the first time you learn about the options and programs is when you’re about to graduate and have to choose a payment plan. One program that has received some media attention over the past few years is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, or the PSLF. Under the PSLF program, the balance of your loans are forgiven after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Pay attention to that very important word: qualifying. In order to be eligible for this program, you have to make a certain type of payment and work for a certain setting/employer.

So the question is, do I qualify for this program? First, let’s look at the type of monthly payment. A qualifying monthly payment is one that is made after October 1, 2007, is under a qualifying repayment plan, is for the full amount due, is no later than 15 days after the due date, and is made while employed full -time for a qualifying provider. Payments made while you are in school, during a grace period, in deferment, or in forbearance do not count. The qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive; however, you only receive credit for one payment per month. If you’re paying ahead, you cannot receive credit for a qualifying PSLF payment during a month when no payment is due. 

For the repayment plan type itself, only certain ones are eligible for the PSLF program. All of the income driven repayment plans will work, as well as the 10 year standard repayment plan. Be careful there, though. If you choose the 10 year standard repayment plan, you will have no loans left to forgive once you have made the 120 qualifying PSLF payments. 

The type of loan also matters for this program. Only Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF.  If you have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or Federal Perkins Loans you can make these eligible by consolidating them into a Direct Consolidation Loan, but any payments made prior to the consolidation do not count towards the 120 required PSLF payments. If you have both Direct Loans and other loans and consolidate those types, you lose credit for any qualifying PSLF payments you made prior to consolidation. Additionally, the Standard Repayment Plan for Direct Consolidation Loans is not the same as the Ten Year Standard Repayment plan, and the payments made under the Standard Repayment Plan for Direct Consolidation Loans do not usually qualify as PSLF payments. Therefore you must be paying income driven payments if you have consolidated other loans into a Direct Loan.

In regards to employers, qualifying employers include government organizations at any level (excluding for-profit government contractors), 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, and other types of nonprofit organizations that may not be 501(c)3 status if their primary purpose is to provide certain types of qualifying public services. These services include emergency management, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public interest law services, early childhood education, public service for individuals with disabilities or the elderly, public health, public education, public library services, and other school-based services. You also must meet the employer’s definition of full-time or work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater. Your employment can be certified by an official who has access to your employment records and is authorized by your employer. Typically this is someone in the HR department, but may be another individual with your department.

If you choose to apply for PSLF or are working towards PSLF, it is strongly recommended to complete and submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form annually and any time you change employers. This form is used to track whether you are making qualifying payments and help determine if the type of payment you’re making needs to change. If this form is not submitted as stated above, when you apply for forgiveness after your 120 payments you will be required to submit this form for each employer where you worked during that 10 year or 120 payment period. Once the Employment Certification Form is received, it will be reviewed to ensure your loans and employment qualify for the PSLF program.  If your employer or loans do not qualify, you will be notified. If your loans and employment do qualify, the loans will be transferred to FedLoan Servicing if they are not already serviced by that group. FedLoan Servicing will determine how many qualifying payments you have made and how many you still need to make to achieve loan forgiveness. This number will be updated every time you submit another Employment Certification Form.

After you’ve made your 120th qualifying payment, you will need to submit the PSLF application to receive loan forgiveness. You must be working for a qualifying employer when the application is submitted and at the time the remaining balance is forgiven. Loan amounts forgiven under the PSLF program are not considered taxable income, so you do not have to pay federal income taxes on the amount that is being forgiven.

The first round of participants were eligible for repayment in 2017, and in December 2018 the Department of Education revealed that only 1% of the 54,000 borrowers who have applied for loan discharges were approved. Many rejected applicants did not make qualifying payments or did not work for qualifying employers during the entire 10 year repayment period. In 2018, Congress passed a $700 million temporary fix, forgiving the loans of some rejected applicants who entered the wrong income-based program, but this did not solve the dilemma of all rejected applicants. Currently, it is unknown whether the program will continue to exist. The elimination of the program for new loan borrowers has been proposed and would begin in July 2020. 

For more information, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website. There are many resources available to assist in the process of deciding whether or not you’re eligible for PSLF and whether or not you’re interested. As there are many nuances for this program, make sure to verify all of the details; type of loan, type of payment, employer, etc. 

Kathryn Makowiec, AuD

Social Media Usage of Hearing Loss Patients

Social Media Usage of Hearing Loss Patients

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have infiltrated nearly every aspect of daily living; healthcare is not an exception. According to the Pew Research Center (2018), “some 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicate that they use any form of social media.  That share falls to 78% among those ages 30 to 49, to 64% among those ages 50 to 64 and to 37% among Americans 65 and older.”  Although this statistic would indicate whether your patient is more or less likely to utilize social media depending on their age bracket, the clinician should also consider the patient’s caretaker and their social media usage. Therefore, it is beneficial to inform yourself of your patient’s online behaviors to better understand their needs and perspective. Two of the most influential social media platforms in healthcare are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter was designed to present short blurbs of information. Facebook can contain more content and has more intricacies including “Pages” and “Groups”. According to Facebook, Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses. Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion.

There are three recent articles specifically related to hearing loss patients and social media. Saxena et al. (2015) investigated social media usage of cochlear implant recipients and their families. Choudhury et al. (2017) utilized a similar study design to investigate usage in hearing aid patients and their families. These articles gathered data about patient’s behaviors on social media sites. Overall, they found social media is often used for sharing advice and offering support (Choudhury et al., 2017). Twitter and Facebook Pages are the most-used medium by hearing aid and cochlear implant “service providers” (manufacturers, dispensers, healthcare providers) (Choudhury et al., 2017 and Saxena et al. 2015). Facebook Groups are most commonly used by hearing aid and cochlear implant users. The authors report frequently discussed topics are hearing aid prices and reasoning for discontinuing hearing aid use. Additionally, Facebook is the most-used medium for brand discussions for cochlear implant manufacturers (Saxena et al. 2015). One of the limitations of these studies is they were unable to include data from “private” Facebook groups- groups that require approval by a member to join. Therefore, some of the data may be skewed to the information that is publicly available.

When working with your patients, it is important to keep in mind that they may be part of these groups and receive information and advice from fellow users on the internet. Although it may not be apparent in your visits, their decision-making regarding device use, device manufacturer, follow-up, etc. may be influenced by things they have read online. One of the benefits to social media is you can direct your patients to various Facebook groups and Twitter pages if they are looking for a support network but are unable to join an in-person group. One future direction for research could be an investigation into the positive effects of a social media participation for people with hearing loss on their mental health and well-being.

The third article, O’Brien et al. (2019), investigated misinformation presented online to tinnitus patients. They looked at Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, Twitter Accounts, and YouTube videos. Below are the percentages of misinformation in each category.

  • Facebook Pages: 42.7%
  • Facebook Groups: 13.5%
  • Twitter Accounts: 34.6%
  • YouTube Videos: 21.5%

Although there is a high percentage of misinformation regarding tinnitus present in social media, in particular on Facebook Pages, O’Brien et al. (2019) notes there are other categories present within these social media platforms. 59.5% of the information in public Facebook Groups was categorized as “support group”. Therefore, patients should not necessarily be dissuaded from utilizing social media groups, but clinicians should be prepared to discuss misinformation with their patients.

Overall, social media can be a useful tool for patients to find information, connect with peers, share their stories, and find providers.  There are some downfalls to using social media which include misinformation and subsequent changes in patient compliance, follow-up, or commitment to the treatment plan. Audiologists should be aware of both the benefits and challenges that are present and be prepared to address them in the clinical setting.

References

  1. Choudhury, M., Dinger, Z., & Fichera, E. (2017). The utilization of social media in the hearing aid community. American Journal of Audiology, 26(1), 1-9. doi:10.1044/2016_aja-16-0044.
  2. O’Brien, C., Deshpande, A.K., & Desphande, S. (2019). Tinnitus awareness and misinformation on social media. The Hearing Journal, 72(1), 18-21.
  3. Pew Research Center (2018). Social Media Use in 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/.
  4. Saxena, R.C., Lehmann, A.E., Hight, A.E., Darrow, K., Remenschneider, A., Kozin, E.D., Lee, D.J. (2015). Social media utilization in the cochlear implant community. JAAA, 26(2), 197-204. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.26.2.8.


Emily Jo Venskytis, AuD, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Implementing New Clinical Services

Implementing New Clinical Services

Jason Baker, AuD

Although this entry is intended for new professionals, the message and the information provided is actually applicable to all audiologists. As a new professional, I would like to share my experience as it pertains to ear canal management.

As we all know, in order to perform the majority of audiological assessments, the ear canal(s) must be free of debris. In a study looking at the effects of cerumen occlusion on pure-tone thresholds, the authors report a prevalence of cerumen occlusion in 10% of children, 5-8% of adults, 34-57% of elderly adults, and 22-36% of those with developmental delays (Roeser et al., 2005). When we are faced with an occluded ear canal, we have two options:

  1. Perform cerumen management OR
  2. Send them out the door (PCP, ENT, Otologist, etc.).

Many state licensing boards do not allow audiologists to perform cerumen removal. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), twenty-two of the fifty U.S. licensing boards allow audiologists to perform cerumen management. However, in some settings, it may be “easier” or the protocol is to send the patient to the ENT or otologist for a “quicker” removal. Rules and regulations on who can perform ear canal management is an entirely different conversation.

I am interested in hearing from audiologists that recognize the need for ear canal management, are allowed to perform cerumen removal under the scope of practice in that particular state, but do not perform the procedure. I am curious to know the reasons why some audiologists simply are not performing ear canal management. Reasons I’ve heard include:

Charging for Services:

  • Does the audiologist not want to charge the patient for these services? – At the very least, the patient should be made aware that the removal procedure may not be covered by insurance if performed by an audiologist. Dr. Kim Cavitt (2011) states that if the patient has Medicare and does want the cerumen impaction resolved, an Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) can be submitted and the patient can pay out-of-pocket. Some patients might actually prefer to have the procedure completed at that point and time and are willing to pay for it.

Duration of Services:

  • Does the audiologist think it will take too long? – Is it quicker and easier to send the patient over to ENT if the physician is down the hall? What if it would be a quick removal? According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) Clinical Practice Guideline, it should take less than 5 minutes to instill cerumenolytic drops, less than 30 minutes for irrigation removal (including prep time), and only a few minutes for manual removal (Schwartz et al., 2017).

Confidence in Skills:

  • Throughout clinical training, is there limited exposure to and practice of cerumen removal?

The last question is what I am going to continue focusing on. Just like any skill, practice makes perfect. In the classroom, I was provided with knowledge regarding various ear canal management techniques. In clinic, I had some opportunities for ear canal management, but it was usually dependent on the setting and the comfort of the preceptor. In addition to regular clinical rotations, I was able to further develop my cerumen removal abilities while on various humanitarian trips to South Africa and Brazil. In these instances, the need was there and if we were not going to perform removal procedures, no one was.

When I began my job at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, which is affiliated with UT Dallas, I knew there was a need for an Ear Canal Management (ECM) Clinic. I knew this would greatly benefit the local community and the graduate students participating. For the most part, none of the attending students had any previous experience with cerumen removal – mechanical or irrigation. However, even after a half day in the ECM Clinic, the students reported increased confidence in their cerumen removal abilities. I know one day in clinic will not make someone an expert, but when it comes to cerumen management, it is necessary to build-up confidence in this particular skill. The idea is to continue providing hands-on experience to graduate students and to increase their exposure to cerumen removal. For many of us, cerumen removal is a necessary procedure that we are allowed to perform. Ear canal management is an important part of audiology and as a profession, we must ensure that it is a skill that is implemented clinically and taught to future audiologists.

References

Roeser, R., Lai, L., & Clark, J. (2005). Effect of ear canal occlusion on pure-tone threshold sensitivity. The Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 16: 740-746.

American Speech Language Hearing Association (2019). State Cerumen Management Requirements. https://www.asha.org/Advocacy/state/State-Cerumen-Management-Requirements/#TX

Cavitt, K. & White, S. (2011). Billing for cerumen removal under medicare. AudiologyOnline, https://www.audiologyonline.com/ask-the-experts/billing-for-cerumen-removal-under-40

Schwartz et al. (2017). Clinical practice guideline (update): Earwax (cerumen impaction). Journal of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 156(IS): S1-S29.

CEU Breakdown: Tips and Tools to Track CEUs

CEU Breakdown: Tips and Tools to Track CEUs

For many new professionals in the field of Audiology, continuing education hours seems to be a frequent source of confusion. How many do I need? Are CEUs different for licensure and membership to professional organizations? Is there anything out there that can make keeping track of all of this easier? Often, these questions are not answered as a part of an AuD program because, let’s face it, it’s difficult enough to get in all of the information needed just to see patients independently and successfully. There often is not much time left to discuss what happens AFTER graduation and how to keep up with your licensure, certifications, and professional memberships.

Fortunately, both the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA) provide information about CEUs on their websites, as well as options to track the hours you earn through conferences, webinars, etc. Information about AAA’s CEU policy can be found within AAA's professional development resources and information about ASHA’s CEU policy can be found on ASHA's continuing education web page. For additional tips and tools, refer to The New Professionals Guide to Continuing Education.

First, let’s start with the Academy. Through AAA, there are no set CEU requirements to maintain membership. However, the American Board of Audiology (ABA) requires 60 CEU hours in a 3-year period, with 15 Tier 1 CE hours and 3 hours in professional ethics, to maintain certification status. Tier 1 CE hours have a few requirements: 1) approval by AAA, 2) a minimum of 3 hours (one 3-hour sitting or two 1.5-hour sittings) on the same subject area, 3) include an interactive component (i.e., polling or clinical demonstration), and 4) participants need to indicate to the CE Provider that they are ABA certified and are seeking Tier 1 credits. Visit the ABA's web page for more information.

If you are a member of AAA, you are automatically given access to a CE Registry at no additional cost. The registry stores and organizes all reported CEU activities from Academy approved CE providers and also indicates if ABA Tier 1 hours have been earned. The transcript can be obtained two different ways. It can be printed from online through your member profile or you can complete a Transcript Request Form and have a transcript dated back to 2012 mailed or faxed to you. A transcript older than the past two years can be requested this way and costs $10 per calendar year requested. If you are not a member of AAA, don’t fret!  You can still obtain CEU hours through AAA if you join the annual CE Registry, which costs $60 per year. An AAA CE Transcript meets most state licensure regulatory requirements.

AAA additionally offers ways to obtain CEUs other than by attending conferences or watching webinars. One of these is through the completion of an independent study, and the other is through the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program. More information on how to set up either of these options, how to apply, and the cost can be found on the Academy website.

Now, on to ASHA. ASHA requires a minimum of 30 CEUs every 3 years to maintain certification. These hours must be tracked on a Compliance Form to be submitted on or before 12/31 of the year the interval is completed (i.e., the end of the 3-year period), but the hours can be submitted any time within the 3 year interval. In order to obtain ASHA CEU’s, you need to attend a course registered for ASHA CEUs and fill out the ASHA participant form.

Like AAA, ASHA also offers a CE Registry. The annual cost of the ASHA CE Registry is $28 if you are a member, and $38 if you are not. If you have the ASHA CE Registry, it automatically notifies the certification department when you have reached 30 hours; no need to submit a Compliance Form. Additionally, you can view your CE Transcript online at any time and you can request an official transcript. You are entitled to one free transcript each year you pay the CE Registry fee, and any additional transcripts are $15 for members and $20 for non-members.  You can sign up for the CE Registry when you renew your ASHA dues annually, online, by phone, or by mail. An ASHA CE Transcript meets all state licensure regulatory requirements. If you have your CCC’s and are ever audited in regards to your certificate maintenance, your ASHA CE Transcript will be considered proof of attendance for the 30-hour requirement.

When it comes to required hours, maintenance period, and costs associated with state licensure, every state is different. If you are unsure of what is required for your specific state, we encourage you to visit your state’s website and verify what you need in how many months/years.

 

 

Flying Solo After Graduation

Flying Solo After Graduation

Nicole Denney, AuD

When I accepted my first job following my externship year, I knew I was in for a very sink or swim life change. I accepted a position in a private practice as the sole provider in a new city right after graduation. I’d have my own office, my own PCC, and all the patients and responsibilities of managing an office would land on my shoulders. However, this is not all that unique in our profession. Many recent graduates choose to start out in a more independent setting rather than a multi provider office. After working at my current practice over a year now as the only provider, I’d like to share some advice on how to swim rather than sink when starting out on your own.

Before you accept, make sure this is right for you. Do a fair amount of soul searching, list making, and talking with mentors. I was fortunate in that my externship experience provided me with a great sense of the type of environment I’d be working in; we were part of a large practice group with typically only one audiologist and one PCC at each location. Knowing how to run an office and manage your schedule is very important and something we don’t exactly learn in school. For me, I spoke to other friends who started out on their own as a first job. They were able to give me a lot of honest pros and cons and it really helped me determine if this was something I could do. Likely, if you are thinking about taking a job being the sole provider, you know someone who has already been through this and would be willing to talk with you about the experience. 

Always have someone you can ask for advice. This was very important to me during my interviews for all jobs. I wanted to make sure that even though I would be 60 miles from the closest practice in our group, I could still call on other audiologists if needed. And let me tell you – I did need this, especially in the beginning! My corporate office is in Lubbock, Texas, and I’m all the way out in Southern Colorado, so there is a huge distance between us. However, I can always call or email the main audiologists there and they get back to me within the day. Besides that, I also use my mentor/externship supervisor for advice when I need it. It was very important to me to be able to talk to someone within the company when needed and also to get an outside opinion. This way, when I first started out in my office, I didn’t feel completely alone, but I also didn’t feel like someone was watching me or holding my hand. It made me really own up to who I am as a provider and still have that comfort of a safety net.

Which leads me to my next point – you have to own it. Being a 26-year-old doctor fresh out of school, we tend to look like our patient’s grandchildren. While the “wow you are so young” comments can throw you off, just remember you know your stuff! Holding yourself to a higher level of professionalism and making honest and educated recommendations and treatment plans for your patients will get you far when you are just starting out on your own. Being on my own actually gave me more confidence that I could not always find in my externship. Decisions are now mine and I know the reasons for why I’m making them. It’s a mental game that personally worked well for me.

While I made sure I still could call on other audiologists through my practice group for advice, I knew in advance it would be hard to not see and regularly discuss topics with peers. For this reason, I chose to involve myself more with the Academy by applying to be on the New Professionals Committee. There is a plethora of engaging committees within the Academy that are always looking for new members. This gives me a connection to collogues with similar interests and a fun way to stay invested. Another way is to become more involved with your state academy group! This one is a little harder for me personally due to where I live but I know they have in person meetings and that the Colorado Academy of Audiology is planning a really impressive conference this year! Being involved at the state level can connect you with audiologists in your area and lead to a rewarding experience.

I am very content and happy with my choice to work in a private practice as the only provider. If you are considering a similar choice, I’d be more than happy to discuss the pros and cons about my own experience. You can contact me via email at ndenn511@gmail.com

We are not the only profession to have new graduates start out solo. A similar advice article was written for law professionals and published on Americanbar.org. The part that I found most influential was, “you are more qualified to practice law than you give yourself credit for.” Same goes for audiology. You know way more than you think you do, and your patients are coming to you because YOU are the expert.

Resume Review Tips

Resume Review Tips

As a new professional, having a strong resume can mean the difference between a job you like and a job you love. We all have experience with similar areas of audiology like hearing aids, vestibular, or pediatrics. But what makes you unique? Did you complete a research fellowship?  Participate in a hearing mission? Or is there something else you did recently that makes you stand out? Regardless of what it is, below are a few tips to help your resume go from a draft to professionally polished in no time!

Revise Your Resume
As with any paper or article, make sure spelling and grammar are correct. If a hiring manager is reviewing your resume with spelling errors, it can appear unprofessional. Also, make sure your experiences do the talking rather than graphics, odd fonts, or color. Check out the Academy’s  resume do’s and don’ts for additional guidance.

Review Your Resume
Have someone, such as the Academy’s Resume Review Subcommittee  or a peer, look at all your application materials – resume, cover letter, even thank you notes – before submitting. They will check for spelling errors, professional jargon, formatting, and any other errors commonly seen in the field.

Post Your Resume
Audiology is a smaller field and organizations searching for employees will often ask their network of peers if they know anyone first. Aside from updating your LinkedIn profile, another opportunity to be proactive in your job search is to create a job seeker profile on  HEARCareers, a job board focused solely on audiology opportunities. Creating a profile and posting your resume on HEARCareers makes you visible to employers actively searching for their next job candidate!  

Having your resume or CV prepared in advanced will make it easier to apply to the positions you want when it becomes available. Keeping it updated after you get a job will help you be prepared for unexpected opportunities. Happy searching!

Serving as a Clinical Preceptor

Serving as a Clinical Preceptor

Serving as a clinical preceptor as a new professional is a unique job, which has both advantages and disadvantages. Being a new professional can be beneficial because the new professional can apply their recent experience as a student to effectively teach other students. For example, a new professional may better remember the aspects of masking that are confusing to students and be able to clearly explain those concepts while a more experienced audiologist may not remember the learning process and have a harder time breaking down those concepts. Although recent experience as a student is helpful when precepting, it does not make a new professional qualified to function in this role. The preceptor must be able to simultaneously perform as an educator and as a clinician, which takes knowledge, skill and continuing education. A new professional should not take on this task until they feel they have been properly educated.

There are many resources available to help professionals become equipped to precept students and anyone who precepts should view the role as a subset of audiology, which requires ongoing education. The following are useful resources:

Regardless of how educated the new professional is on the topic of precepting, there are inherent barriers to being a new professional, which can be overcome as long as the new professional recognizes that they exist. The first barrier is that in many instances, there is virtually no age gap between the student and the new professional. This can be an advantage because it eliminates generational differences in learning and teachings styles. However, the small age gap can also create issues when the roles of preceptor and student are not defined because the line between friendship and professional relationship may be blurred. This issue can be eliminated by setting boundaries, goals and expectations on the student’s first day. 

Another barrier that exists as a new professional is lack of experience. No amount of knowledge can make up for the amount of clinical experience that a senior audiologist has obtained simply due to their number of years in practice. A new professional must be able to recognize the scope of their experience and know when to seek help, especially when they are working with a student. 

The “Characteristics of Effective Preceptors” self-assessment tool is a great way for a new professional to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and recognize what they need to do in order to build upon their precepting skills. The tool is quick to complete and can be repeated periodically throughout one’s career.

Precepting can be a fun and challenging job but earning an AuD does not automatically make someone qualified to be a clinical preceptor so a new professional must understand what it takes to precept a student before they agree to the task. 

Professionalism in Social Media

Professionalism in Social Media

Remember that awesome party from sophomore year of college? Not so much? Well, Facebook remembers. As we transition from college students to graduate students to professionals, the way we portray ourselves in the online world can have significant impact on the trajectory or our careers.

While almost everyone utilizes some type of social media, and a presence on the internet is a positive thing, the content can either benefit or work against you when viewed by colleagues. As you gain more professional friendships and acquaintances, it is always a good idea to review your social media presence and determine if the image you are projecting is an accurate representation of who you are.

Knowing the right type of content to post on each platform is imperative to maintaining professional relationships and protecting your reputation.

Facebook: Think of Facebook like the backyard BBQ of social media. This is where you share family photos, videos of your dog chasing a squirrel, a recipe that you made last night, etc. The people seeing what you post on Facebook should be personal friends and family. Sometimes your work peers become your personal friends, so should you befriend them on Facebook? Well that depends, are they in a position of authority? Would you be embarrassed or could you get in trouble based on a post (even if it is from several years ago)?

What about building a reputation in the community? If you’re in a practice that is utilizing Facebook for marketing purposes, and your face is visible to patients or the community, it may be smart to create an additional profile for professional purposes only. This is an opportunity for you to reach out and participate in the Facebook community with less risk of exposing your privacy (or embarrassing photos from 10 years ago).

Twitter: Twitter is a huge platform to communicate information, and although you’re limited a just a few characters, what you type can say a lot about you. If you are using Twitter professionally, make sure you keep your tweets professional. This account is not the one to discuss what happened on last night’s episode of The Bachelor, or angrily tweet at the airlines for a delayed flight. Oftentimes, professional networking events will encourage and even host competitions for tweeting, and this is potentially an opportunity for you to really stand out (in a good or bad way).

LinkedIn: It is pretty well-accepted that LinkedIn is the place for professional social networking. Should you have a LinkedIn profile? Absolutely! This is a great way for you to share articles, find information, and build your network of peers without the fear of your weekend activities being broadcast to all your connections.

There are obviously many other avenues of social media today, Instagram, Snapchat, and even things like Pinterest and Musically. If you are applying for a job, you should definitely assume that your potential employer is looking at your social media footprint, and an innocent photo from ages ago can portray an entirely different message to a stranger. If you have to question it, delete it.

Social Media is great way to share information with others, keep up with our friend’s busy lives, and show off all the awesome things you are doing- just make sure you are communicating the right message to the right people!

New Professionals Guide to Continuing Education

New Professionals Guide to Continuing Education

A continuing education unit (CEU) is a unit of credit that equals 10 hours of participation in an accredited education or training program. CEUs are designed for professionals who have obtained certification or licensure to stay up to date with current practices in their field, typically on an annual or biennial basis. As a recent graduate, the topic of CEUs is new and unfamiliar yet extremely important, as it is now required as a newly practicing professional. Below you will find the answers to some of the questions many new graduates have about CEUs.

How many credit hours are needed each year to continue practicing?
The number of required CEU credits varies between states and organizations. For example, there is no CEU requirement to maintain American Academy of Audiology membership; however, there are CEU requirements for state licensure and American Speech and Hearing Association certification. Specific CEU requirements can be found on the states’ government speech and hearing website or on the websites of various professional organizations.

What are some opportunities to obtain CEUs?
CEUs can often be obtained at national organization conferences such as AAA or ASHA. Additionally, CEUs may be offered at state conferences or at the local level including university courses, seminars, or lectures. If traveling to state or national conferences isn’t feasible, there are other ways to acquire CEUs. For instance CEUs may be earned online through organizations, including, but not limited to:

  • eAudiology web seminars (live or on-demand) to members for $109/year and $399/year for nonmembers.
  • The JAAA CEU Program provides learning assessments available in the 2018 issues of JAAA for $95/year.
  • The Academy’s Ethics in Audiology “Green Book” program offers in-depth information on common ethical issues faced by audiologists in a variety of different settings such as practice management, teaching, and research for $15/CEU for members and $25/CEU for nonmembers.
  • Peer-to-Peer Mentoring through the Academy. Participants pay a one-time application fee of $75 and can earn up to 0.6 CEUs per year.
  • AudiologyOnline which offers unlimited CEUs for $99/year.
  • Available CEU courses can be found on the ASHA CEFind website where you can search thousands of courses that are offered by a wide variety of approved CEU organizations.
  • Seminars in Hearing (journal) by Thieme Publishing offers self-assessments that can be taken for CEUs.

How can one track earned CEUs?
Proof of credits earned is often necessary in order to renew licensure or certification. CEUs can be tracked in different ways. One option would be to create a simple spreadsheet that includes pertinent CEU information (name of course, date completed, type of credit, number of credit, etc.) and an attachment of the certificate of completion. Various electronic CEU tracking applications are available such as CE Broker. CE Broker has partnered with several state speech and hearing boards, offering a free basic account and simplifying the licensure renewal process. Additionally, some organizations offer a CEU tracking and recording service. For instance, the Academy’s CE Registry is an efficient way to track and organize your completed CEUs from Academy approved providers. Additionally, at the end of each year, an official transcript of your coursework is available to download. The Academy CE Registry is free for members and $60/year for nonmembers.