Learning 2B an SLP: It’s a New Age!

Happy group of finger smileys with speech bubbles

By Cyndee Williams Bowen, SLP

To quote the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons: Welcome to the new age! My instincts tell me that collaborative use of social media by professionals and students alike has exploded over the past decade. An exploration of this phenomenon was the topic of a study published in the Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences study in 2013. I will review it in a couple of weeks for our monthly Research Tuesday blog, but for now it is sufficient to note that credentialed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and SLP students are embracing the concept as well. It is definitely a new age!

Social media is an awesome tool for students! How nice it would have been to collaborate freely with some of the brightest and best minds in our field during my early professional years! Expert answers to a new SLP’s questions are now only a tweet away. I love responding to questions from students. Like most in our field, I truly want to help.

On the other hand, there is such a thing as helping too much. The hard work and struggle involved in successfully assessing, diagnosing, and treating a challenging case help to hone our clinical judgment. If I fire off a generic Plan of Care for a certain type of patient, there is a strong possibility that the student, exhausted and under deadline pressure, will take that example and call it good. Beyond the ethical challenge of such a scenario, I would have denied him/her the experience, joy, and satisfaction of researching published evidence, reading best practice documents, and collaborating with colleagues to provide the appropriate care for that patient’s needs. Working through such cases can be frustrating and time consuming, but it is a valuable process!

So please understand if I do not respond as you would like when you approach me. I want to help, but I won’t be the one to deprive you of the opportunity for professional growth. In my humble opinion, the struggle is a necessary component in the development of your clinical awesomeness! Embrace this new age of collaborative social media, and use its benefits wisely. Good luck!


Cyndee Williams Bowen, MS, CCC-SLP owns Bowen Speech-Language Therapy, LLC in Clearwater, FL. She is committed to collaboration with expertise and creativity for empowered communication, swallowing, and vocal quality. Visit the Bowen Speech Website for more information.


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