Faces of U of T Medicine: Amy Verschuuren
How did you become interested in the field of Speech-Language Pathology?
A lot of my classmates and colleagues have had personal experiences receiving speech-language pathology services, whether for themselves, their grandparents, or their siblings. My story is much less interesting. A high school teacher (presumably whose child was receiving speech therapy at the time) mentioned the career to me in the 10th grade. At the time, I had never heard of speech-language pathology before. So I went home and did some research, and ended up falling in love with the idea of it. When I began volunteering a couple years later, I discovered I also loved the practice of it.
What have been some of the most rewarding moments at U of T?
I really enjoyed the structure of U of T's SLP program. We had four clinical placements dispersed throughout the two-year program. The placements were very hands-on, and I always felt that colleagues and patients respected and believed in me. Having the opportunity to directly help others during those placements, even as a student, was incredibly rewarding.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your plans after graduation?
After finishing the program in July I travelled for a month, and then began working for the Durham District School Board in September. So far, I love my job. Especially working in many different teams, and being in a position that allows me to help students with a wide variety of strengths and needs.
As for five years from now, I don't really have any concrete plans, but I think I'd like to operate a private practice one day. I'm from a small town, so I'd like to offer SLP services that are close to home for individuals and families who might otherwise travel to neighbouring cities for services. Plus, I like that working in private practice can mean having a unique caseload.
I would also love to become involved in clinical education in some capacity. My clinical placement experiences shaped my learning in so many positive ways, and I'd love to be a part of that process for future students.
What advice would you give new and incoming students?
I think it's really important to have a "big picture" attitude, especially in healthcare. The reason I got into this field is to help people. And I think that can be said for most, if not all, students in the Faculty of Medicine. So, my advice would be not to fret about getting the highest marks or knowing every single detail about every single theory (but good for you if you do!). Study to understand, not to know. Learn to be a good problem-solver, not an information-regurgitator. Think to yourself, how can I effectively apply what I'm learning now, to help my future patients?
Faces of U of T Medicine introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Faculty of Medicine. From advising political leaders to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, our students are making an impact on communities at home and around the world.
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