This month’s Clinician Who Inspires is Jennifer Saldaña, Therapy Coordinator, and rising Champion Level I SLP. Jennifer believes providing personalized care and being a constant learner helps her to thrive as a clinician.
When providing treatment, Jennifer focuses on what motivates the patient. She gave an example of a patient who was an avid gardener. Jennifer made sure to keep a plant in her office so the patient could speak to the plants as they targeted speech and language goals together.
She has also provided training and encouraged housekeeping staff to browse through residents’ memory books with them and to engage in conversations with the patient while they are tidying their rooms. Along with improving socialization opportunities and carryover, she finds that staff enjoy these interactions and appreciate learning effective, individualized methods to communicate with residents.
For residents who enjoy group therapy, Jennifer works with other disciplines to collaborate and provide multifaceted activities. Recently, she worked with OT. They utilized balance balls for an exciting cardio-drumming exercise where she implemented verbal recall tasks and music-based conversation starters. Her favorite holiday season group activity is sending out cards to loved ones. Residents have even opted to send cards to staff members who have retired and are no longer working at the facility. This exchange has proven heart-warming to both the senders and recipients.
Jennifer values learning and recommends Aging Process: What is Happening to the Body and What Does it Mean?located in Reliant University. She appreciated the comprehensive examination of the normal aging process and has applied this knowledge to improve patient health literacy with healthy aging education. She also encourages clinicians to discuss different perspectives and to always continue to learn from each other.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your personal contributions and innovative ideas and also for your dedication to providing patient-specific, meaningful care.