Sometimes, one of the toughest things we hear in a day is criticism. We never want to hear that we are not doing something the right way.
I mean, we get criticism our entire life. Our parents criticize us, which is how we learn right from wrong. Our teachers in school criticize our school work which is how we learn and how we improve our work.
As a Speech Language Pathologist, criticism is part of the job. You will always have a boss, doctor, director of rehabilitation, principal, superintendent with whom you will have to check in.
Often, we don’t respond well to criticism. When we told that we’ve done something in the wrong manner or told that we need to improve we get defensive. I mean, hey, we did go to school for a really long time!
- Why do we have criticism and why should we listen?
As much as we don’t like to admit it, we just don’t know everything. We always have something to learn.
No matter what area of Speech Language Pathology you work or specialize, there is always new information to learn. Research is constantly being completed to prove that something does work, that something doesn’t work or a new technique to teach.
There are many areas assessed and treated by a Speech Language Pathologist that are just not quite understood. For example, in the area of swallowing disorders or dysphagia, there is still much that we are learning. Researchers are working fervently to understand the neurological components of swallow.
There are techniques or treatments for articulation, language, swallowing, fluency and voice that we once thought were great intervention techniques that are found to no longer be as effective as we once thought.
- So what can you do?
Accept criticism and learn. Criticism is a learning experience. Your boss offers criticism to make you a better employee. Your teacher offers criticism to make you a better student. Your supervisor offers criticism to make you a better Speech Language Pathologist.
Know your limitations. We all like to think that after 6 years of school we have learned a little something and we have. We also have continuing education requirements that mean that we have to keep up with current research and current assessment and treatment strategies.
When you ask questions, accept the answers. Sometimes we ask questions. It may be in person, it may be through email or on social media. If you ask a question, it usually means that you need an answer. Don’t become defensive when somebody offers you advice or offers an answer to your question.
It is important to understand that we constantly grow and improve. Don’t let your past mistakes dictate the Speech Language Pathologist you will be. We all have times that we assess patients/clients or treat them with techniques that are not best practice. The important thing is that we then learn from that mistake and correct it.
Be the Speech Language Pathologist that continually grows, keeps up with research and accepts change. In a constantly growing field, we need to be constantly growing SLPs.