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Feeling Burnout: Tech Tips for the Overworked SLP

May 13 / Michelle Boisvert

Do you feel like you never have enough time in the day? Constantly feeling overwhelmed by your workload? You’re not alone. Speech and language pathologists are some of the most in-demand professionals out there. Luckily, technology can help us manage our time more efficiently! 


All together now…Caseloads are unmanageable!

According to the 2020 ASHA School Survey, with an average caseload of approximately 47 students, SLPs spend more than 20 hours a week providing direct services. While the number and amount of time spent on direct services varies significantly from provider to provider, several studies report that most SLPs feel their caseload numbers are "unmanageable.”

Integrative and Embedded Technology to the Rescue

Technology can help us streamline the process, especially when prepping for services and documenting progress. Many speech and language applications are available that target various goals for clients of all ages. Choose apps that automatically collect data such as Word Vault, Little Bee, and Conversation Therapy.

These appscan be used during individual sessions or in a group setting. The apps can also be used to support skill practice outside of direct services, as you can easily embed direct links or friendly reminders in emails or texts.

Additionally, integrative tools can be used with material to scaffold direct online and in-person services. Some of my favorites are ReadWrite and Google Lens to support reading and vocabulary. Google Earth can be used for virtual field trips.

Augmented Reality (AR) is emerging in our field and provides a promising blend of inclusion and scaffolded services. The ability to enhance real images with virtual modes of learning may increase student confidence, interest, and motivation (Fombona et al, 2017).


Tech to Turn Around Assessments

Another time-consuming task for SLPs is assessments. Evaluations can take up to 15 hours per client or student (Prath, 2017), and clinicians in all settings have seen a surge in evaluations. Again, technology can help us streamline this process, especially when planning, reminding, collecting data , or writing reports.


Integrative approaches such as shared Google calendars, automatic reminders, digital testing material, and dynamic report writing platforms like easyReportPRO provide much-needed relief to time-consuming tasks associated with assessments.


Articulate and Communicate

Speech-language pathologists are required to collaborate with colleagues, implement strategies, support students and clients, and collaborate with caregivers and outside agencies. Communication is key.

Use email templates to help speed up the time it takes to compose a message. Scheduled sends also let clinicians set the time they want the email to arrive in someone's inbox ahead of time.

Looking for an ideal paper-to-digital solution to share resources? Print out and use scannable QR codes to provide a quick way to access an online visual or video to support the targeted strategy.


Technology is a Time Saver

Technology can help us manage our time more efficiently and support our students and clients in various ways. When used correctly, it becomes an invaluable tool in our professional toolbox. So, while we all may feel overwhelmed at times, let's remember that there are tools to help lighten the load, even for a few minutes!

If you’re looking to avoid burnout, check out my webinar at Innovative Tech Tools Made for Overworked Speech-Language Pathologists. You can also see me every Thursday at 3 p.m. EST on the 3C Digital Media Network's Facebook  for Tech Talks By Dr. Michelle for free.

References:

 1. Do You Feel Like You Never Have Enough Time for Yourself?

2. HealthCare, AMN. “What's Driving the Demand for Speech-Language Pathologists?” Healthcare Staffing Company, 14 Oct. 2017

3. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). 2020 Schools Survey report: SLP caseload and workload characteristics.

4. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2018). What Is a Manageable Caseload Size?

5. Katz, L. A., Maag, A., Fallon, K. A., Blenkarn, K., & Smith, M. K. (2010). What makes a caseload (un) manageable? School-based speech-language pathologists speak.

6. Fombona, J., Pascual-Sevillano, M.-A., and González-Videgaray, M. (2017). M-learning and AR: a review of the scientific literature on the WoS Repository TT–M-learning y realidad aumentada: revisión de literatura científica en el repositorio WoS. Comunicar 25, 63–71. doi: 10.3916/C52-2017-06.

7. Prath, S., (2017). Make the Speech Referral Process Work for You.

8. 4 Ways to Make Time for What's Most Important.

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About the blogger

Michelle Boisvert, CCC-SLP, RSP-ADHD

Dr. Boisvert has more than 20 years of experience as a school-based SLP and over ten years as a telepractice specialist. She has worked with students of all ages in educational settings that include public and private schools and international programs.

Dr. Boisvert has published articles and book chapters on telepractice, tele-AAC, and workload strategies. In addition, she has examined how strategic technologies can support workload practices for SLPs to maintain high professional standards and meet job expectations.

She is the co-founder and lead clinical developer of easyReportPRO,a software platform that empowers SLPs to write robust, error-free, and customized diagnostic reports.

You can contact her at michelleb@easyreportpro.com.

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