My dream job while I was in grad school was to do speech therapy in hospitals. It was why I studied speech pathology in the first place! There are many pros for doing speech therapy in hospitals and I will share them with you. Of course, there are some cons as well.
Due to life changes and relocation, I no longer work in hospitals. Read below to learn about my experiences.
Since all of my hospital jobs combined inpatient acute care, inpatient rehab, and outpatient rehab...I will group them together here.
Speech Therapy In Hospitals: Pros
1. Every day is new
Working in hospitals, especially acute care, is exciting. Every morning brings a list of new patients and cases. In acute care, patients stay just a few days. You have to review medical records, assess patients, write reports, create recommendations, etc...
For some one who gets tired of routine like me, this is a HUGE pro.
Liking dysphagia is a must. You will see a lot of it! Personally, I enjoy working with patients who have dysphagia. I love doing swallow studies, reviewing the results, and creating a plan. It is analytical and naturally medically based. Of course, you need to consider a patient's quality of life as well.
Eating and swallowing food is a basic need of life but it also brings a person comfort and opportunities for socialization. Therefore, helping someone to be able to eat safely is very rewarding.
3. Less paperwork
By default, speech therapy in hospitals require less paperwork than other settings. Reports and progress notes must be done quickly and concisely. Just a quick paragraph. I LOVE this, well, because I hate paperwork.
4. Productivity is less of an issue
For acute care, productivity is less of an issue. I NEVER had difficulty with high productivity demands while working in acute care, inpatient rehab, or even in an outpatient rehab setting. However, this could have been luck. I have worked at wonderful places.
To warn you, I have had colleagues who said they had to clock out if a patient did not show in outpatient rehab.
5. Hours/schedule (in acute care)
When working in hospitals, I worked 7:30-4:00. This was an ideal schedule for me. I like to start my day off early and end early. Some outpatient rehab facilities may have later hours.
6. Interesting assessment and treatment
I have always been very interested in aphasia, apraxia, cognitive communication disorders, dysarthria, and dysphagia. While doing speech therapy in hospitals, you get to assess many new patients. Each one is unique and I find this very interesting and motivating.
7. Patient and family education
In acute care, patients stay about 2-3 days. In outpatient rehab, insurance sometimes only covers a few sessions. Therefore, your time with patients is limited. This is a con; however, the most effective and helpful "therapy" is good patient and family education I enjoy this! So it is a pro or a "silver lining!"
Speech Therapy In Hospitals: Cons
1. Working weekends and holidays (evening hours for some outpatient facilities)
This one speaks for itself! I didn't mind working weekends and holidays as much before (the pay is great!), but with my growing family, it is really a deal breaker. I need weekends to be family time. Holidays, especially when you have your own children, is precious. After school hours isn't an option at this point for me.
2. Insurance and Medicare
Dealing with insurance companies can be FRUSTRATING to say the least. Many patients who truly need speech therapy are denied due to insurance policies. It is just heart breaking. Also, meeting Medicare minutes puts a lot of pressure on patients and therapists.
3. Limited therapy sessions
As I mentioned before, inpatient stays are short. Insurance companies may severely limit the number of outpatient therapy visits. Progress can be limited and slow due to these factors.