What I would tell my pre-audiologist self…

I recently got asked to write an article for the American Academy of Doctors of Audiology student newsletter, AuDiogram.  I was so honored to get to do this and thought I would post it on my blog for all to enjoy.  I took inspiration from “What I would tell my younger self”.  

The first day seeing a patient in clinic, though nervous, I knew audiology was the right profession for me.  Audiology allows me to meld my science background, people personality, and refining an art into an amazing profession.  I knew that in order for my skills and ability to be maximized, I had to go into private practice.  Private practice allows me to provide excellent individualized service and being rewarded when providing high quality care.  Having worked at Chicago Hearing Services for the past five years, I learned the power of a relationship from my boss who is also my mentor.  A positive experience for the patient, allows for the best compliment, a patient referral and personal “thank you”.  When you ask yourself or your colleague, “Why did you go into audiology?” many responses are “because I wanted to help people”.  It isn’t just about helping someone but also helping them to foster and maintain a relationship.  That is what I try to focus on and remember.

Private practice also allows me to progress our profession.  Being part of a small practice, I understand and see how insurance and legislation affects our jobs and patients.  It is because of this, I have a strong drive to be active in my state academy.  As a board member with positions for both Governmental Affairs and Public Relations, I was able to assist our state academy further our profession with Legislative and Public Awareness.

You may be reading this as a first year AuD student or one soon to graduate.  My advice is three fold:  1. Don’t forget why you entered this profession and be passionate about it.  When you are in the trenches and wonder how many more times you have to talk about acclimatization or explain an audiogram, remember you are forming relationships, both with your patient and for your patient. 2.  Putting in your time is worth it. Focus on the positives while you are learning instead of the negatives.  Long hours in graduate school will help prepare you not just technically but emotionally as well.  No business owner, president, or director, in any career, was successful overnight.  When you are working long hours or at a job that isn’t “perfect”, know that if you continue to stay involved and excel, opportunity will knock.    3.  Audiologists, particularly in private practice, cannot live in fear, must think positive, be creative, allow change, and be willing to reinvent themselves.  Strive to do these things on a daily basis.  Think outside the box and how you can do things better than you did yesterday.

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.

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