Focus on your own competence and practice changes.
May include impact on client/services.

Even though cholesteatomas are rare, completion of my goal has served as a valuable reminder to always be aware of the possibility of occurrence. I have learned more about the symptoms of cholesteatomas and what to look for. I am reminded that the ramifications of missing a referral for patient with complications that might be indicative of cholesteatomas are significant. I plan to develop a checklist for myself that will help me be sure to ask the right questions and to ensure none of my clients slip through any cracks.

I have learned more about the steps I should take to prepare for a diagnostic ABR. I reviewed the EHDI protocol and this has helped me to prepare to do diagnostic ABR assessments for babies who do not pass their hearing screenings through the program. There is now a standardized approach across the province when doing ABR which will further help me to perform these assessments. I will plan to review the protocol on a regular basis to ensure my practice continues to align.

I have spent the year working on improving my knowledge and use of objective measures and protocols.  For years, I performed ABR testing solely based upon subjective measures.  I felt that I was behind in my knowledge of best practice as objective measures were not taught in my graduate program. I have learned which objective measures are useful and am now applying these measures on a regular basis. I have discovered that my subjective measures are often correct, but supplementing with objectivity is very important and will overall improve my clients’ experience with my service. I look forward to using the protocols to support the subjective measures that I have been using successfully over the years.  Having guidelines to refer to for testing, reporting, and communicating with patients boosts my confidence.

The learning I did this year has affected my perception regarding the impact of untreated hearing loss on quality of life and risk of serious injury through falling. I have learned that when increased risk of falling is taken into consideration, seniors are more open to pursuing amplification.  I feel this is important information for us to relay to physicians. If the family doctor is informed on the potential risk of falls and injuries due to untreated hearing loss, they may be more likely to refer for hearing assessment. This is an area of advocacy that I haven’t in the past spent a lot of time on, but plan to see if there are opportunities to have more conversations with physicians about this topic. I hope to be able to provide physicians with some type of quick reference so they consider referring their patients more readily.

This year I spent a lot of time reviewing different amplification options available to my patients. Through this learning, I am now more comfortable and confident explaining these options to my patients. I have found that most patients like to be given options and many prefer to have information in a written form. Although I don’t have “brochures” per se, I find that I am able to write notes “in real time” for my patients while they are in my clinic. This way they still leave with information in a written format – this helps reduce later questions. My increased confidence and knowledge have resulted in better patient outcomes and satisfaction.

This year I refreshed my knowledge about what it means to be self-regulated. While I understood the need to be registered with ACSLPA, I was not fully aware of all the impacting pieces of legislation. By completing the jurisprudence modules and exam, I have become much more knowledgeable about my obligations under PIPA in particular. One big “aha” moment was learning that there are 3 guiding pieces of privacy legislation, I’ve become more aware of the key college documents and position statements, as well as the legal foundation that Audiology/SLP practice is based upon.  I realize that I need to review these documents to ensure that my practice meets the standards of the College.

Learning about the complaints process through the jurisprudence course was interesting and informative.  I knew there was a process in place, but I did not understand the components involved.  I was happy to see how this process protects both the professional and the public. The information helped me become more aware of various agencies and government departments and to be a better advocate for my clients. One thing I put into practice after completing the jurisprudence course was to ensure that my practice permit was displayed at my place of business.  Although I always made sure my practice permit was current, I was not aware that it needed to be available and displayed at my work.

My goal to improve the services I provide to ESL families and their interpreters resulted in my refreshing my knowledge about our standards of practice and code of ethics. While I was able to confirm that I do practice in accordance with these important documents, I found that there are areas where I can probably do a better job for the families I serve. I have learned a lot more about using interpreters. I have become more committed to using interpreters rather than trying to explain information to parents and “hoping for the best.” Using interpreters can be complex and I have learned that family members should only be used as a last resort (I experienced a situation where the family member interpreted in such a way as to help the child which could have led to a misdiagnosis had I not been on my toes). I will continue to commit to using interpreters for my ESL clients/families. I would like to learn more about the possible avenues for finding appropriate interpreters (e.g., companies), so while I feel I have achieved my goal I still have more learning to do.

By working on public speaking and overall betterment of my communication skills this year, I have become more confident in presenting material more effectively.  My ability to teach audiology students, and other allied students, has increased.  I now present material that is designed to be specific to their interests and I engage students by asking questions in an effort to encourage new ideas that they can integrate into their learning and clinical practice.

My practice has been enhanced from the completion of this goal as I am now able to confidently and accurately provide oversight to industrial audiology programs.  This enhancement of my skills as an audiologist helps direct companies to improve their hearing conservation programs.  It also helps guide employees who have noise induced hearing loss towards worker compensation programs or towards appropriate referrals if hearing loss is more likely to be caused by age, disease, or genetics.