CHHS Speech-Language Pathology graduate student secures competitive clinical internship at Frazier Rehab Institute
- Kristina Harvey, College of Health and Human Services
- Tuesday, June 14th, 2022
Cassidy Ratterman, a CHHS graduate student, is completing her third and final clinical rotation at Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville, KY. Working towards her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP), Ratterman said she chose Frazier because it’s a nationally recognized facility devoted to providing extensive education and experience to students. Services offered at Frazier Rehab include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, with treatment of patients from infants to geriatrics.
Ratterman said, “I knew that Frazier would provide me with the first-hand experience to increase my knowledge and confidence in the areas of adult and pediatric speech, language, cognition, and swallowing. At my externship, I evaluate and treat pediatric and adult patients with speech, language, cognition, and/or swallowing deficits secondary to a medical diagnosis such as strokes, TBIs, etc.”
According to her academic and clinical advisor, April Hardison, “Obtaining a clinical internship at Frazier Rehab is very competitive. They hold interview dates three times per year and only select one student per semester from the pool of applicants. Students who attend the site must have completed all of their adult coursework prior to beginning the internship and must attend full time (40 hours per week for 12-16 weeks). They are required to submit an unofficial transcript and at least one letter of recommendation with a cover letter just to apply for the practicum. Since all of our graduate level speech pathology students are required to attend at least one medical site, getting to attend a site like Frazier Rehab Institute is really a great privilege and opportunity to learn about a wide variety of communication and swallowing disorders such as varying adult neurological disorders, fluency disorders, speech sound disorders, language disorders, feeding and swallowing disorders, and aural rehabilitation.”
When asked about her experience so far, and tasks she is performing, Ratterman shared she collaborates with her supervisor and other medical professionals to develop and carry out a functional and attainable treatment plan for each patient and communicate these plans with patients and their families and caregivers. She also completes medical documentation after each evaluation and therapy session.
Ratterman feels this experience is preparing her for managing a realistic future caseload at her first place of employment and equipping her with the knowledge and experience she will need to complete a 9-month clinical fellowship upon graduation. “I have learned an incredible amount in just one short month at Frazier, but most importantly, I have learned how to be a flexible problem solver as a speech-language pathologist in the medical setting. I have learned how to code switch between pediatric and adult patients, and I have also learned how to communicate evaluation results and/or therapy progress to patients and their families. Additionally, I have made huge strides with my ability to analyze Modified Barium Swallow Studies and communicate those results and my recommendations to patients and their respective medical team,” she shared.
Ratterman began her career on the Hill in 2015 as an undergraduate student. Now a distance learning SLP graduate student, she says the program offered from WKU allows her to be close to home after traveling the country for one year with a national sorority organization.
“This program allowed me to cure my home sickness all while completing my graduate degree at my favorite university on earth, WKU! I couldn't imagine being anything else other than a Hilltopper!”