Madison Schaffer

South Bend Clinic, South Bend, IN

image of Madison Schaffer

Madison works as a Speech Language Pathology Graduate Student Clinician at her practicum.

Why did you choose this placement?
I chose to pursue a placement doing primarily voice and swallowing because I have become so fascinated with the voice aspect of the field, which can sometimes be overlooked. I am looking forward to learning more in-depth about something so specialized.

Outline of your role and responsibilities at your practicum.
At my placement, I have the honor and pleasure of working primarily with voice therapy clients. One thing I love the most about this is how diverse each patient is -- I truly am able to work with people across the lifespan. I also complete swallow evaluations several times a week in the radiology department with my supervisor. More recently, I have worked with total laryngectomy patients who utilize a stoma, and I attend a tumor board meeting one Friday a month to learn more about head and neck cancer. This placement has been an incredible opportunity so far. I feel so lucky that I am able to complete my graduate student work here every day.

Describe a challenge you have faced thus far in your practicum.
I have certainly felt challenged in terms of my clinical skills in my placement, but I have never felt overwhelmed or as if I couldn't ask my supervisor for help. As time has gone on, I have become much more comfortable with the patients and with their respective treatment plans. Completing laryngeal examinations using different laryngoscopes has definitely taken some practice! One challenge I've experienced this semester especially is balancing the responsibilities of upcoming graduation and test preparation with the responsibilities of my placement. Luckily, I've been able to figure out a schedule that works for me while still enjoying all of the unique experiences my placement as to offer.

How has Saint Mary's College prepared you for this practicum?
Saint Mary's has certainly prepared me for this practicum by giving me foundational clinical skills. With each clinical experience, I add a little bit to the base of clinical skills that I've been growing since I began my education. I would not have been able to excel at this full-time placement if I did not have a solid base from my previous Saint Mary's experiences. Although this current health situation is unexpected, I still believe I can be a successful clinician when the time is right.