The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented times with academic institutions moving to virtual instruction and clinics limiting personnel. Many AuD students have been out of traditional classrooms and clinic environments since the pandemic began in March, with classes continuing online and clinicals moving to online simulation. Despite the modifications to the AuD experience, the externship process and experience has remained largely the same, leaving many AuD students entering into their externship year feeling less prepared. However, the time spent in quarantine, outside of the traditional academic and clinical environments, can be more productive than you may think. Our goal is to help you make the most of this time to enhance your clinical skills in non-traditional ways.
One way that students can spend their time is brushing up on topics they are less familiar or comfortable with in a clinical setting. eAudiology is a great resource to gain extra knowledge about a specific topic. Outstanding professionals from around the country teach these sessions. These professionals invest their time in creating these courses, have great insight into their particular area of practice, and are very passionate about teaching these courses. If you have not had a clinical rotation in a specific area such as cochlear implants or vestibular disorders, there are many courses on these topics. Learning more about this area of study can help students feel more comfortable in that topic before going into their externship or getting back into the clinic at their school.
Another way you can make the best use of your time is developing a clinic reference sheet or booklet. The AuD curriculum is extensive and challenging, which can be overwhelming on top of developing your clinical skills. Taking the time to sift through your notes, identify essential resources and guidelines, and condense those into a compact reference sheet or booklet will be a valuable asset for your ever-expanding audiology toolbox. For instance, if you haven’t been in the clinic for a few months, information like normative values, testing procedures, masking formulas, and the hallmark signs for various pathologies might be difficult to recall once you return. The Academy has an abundance of clinical guidelines and standards for multiple aspects of audiological care that will serve as a worthwhile resource as you construct this reference to take with you into the clinic. Having this reference readily available will be useful as you are preparing for your next patient. Above all, the process of reviewing and focusing on critical concepts will ultimately help solidify that knowledge, prepare you for licensing exams and increase your confidence when answering content-based interview questions for externships.
Stay tuned for more tips in this externship blog series about things you can do during quarantine to get ready for your externship year!
Amanda Demas is a third-year AuD student at Washington University in St. Louis. She currently serves as the Externship Subcommittee Co-Chair within the SAA Education Committee.
Sarah Pupa is a fourth-year AuD student at the University of Pittsburgh who is completing her externship at Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat of Atlanta (PENTA). She is currently serving as the Externship Subcommittee Co-Chair on the SAA Education Committee, and as the liaison to the Academy’s Research Initiatives Council. Her clinical and research interests include working with children with complicated illnesses and special needs, interdisciplinary care, and increasing the accessibility and visibility of audiology services.
Brandon Roppel is a second-year AuD student at Northwestern University. He currently serves on the Externship Subcommittee within the SAA Education Committee. Additionally, he serves as the Student Representative for the Educational Audiology Association. His current clinical interests include aural re/habilitation, cochlear implants, and educational audiology.
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