When it comes to theory becoming practice for Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) students at Salus University, a place that stands out is MossRehab.

For the past several years, Salus has sent SLP students to MossRehab, an acute rehabilitation hospital in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, that is part of the Einstein Health Network, for a 12-to-16 week placement where they work directly with the hospital's speech therapists.

SLP student being testedStudents are exposed to everything from observation to training to managing a caseload, which in totality leads to a more intense immersion experience. “Salus typically has very strong students. They’re very motivated, interested, creative,” said Deb Eisen, MA, CCC-SLP, clinical education coordinator at MossRehab. “We really enjoy having the students, they’re bringing us a lot of new energy and ideas and keeping us very up-to-date.”

According to Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, SLP chair and program director at Salus, partnering with MossRehab is an exceptional learning experience for the University's students. It gives them the opportunity to work with top-notch SLPs who have some of the most challenging patients. “From the innovative lab experiences we create with their team to the one-on-one attention each therapist has given their externship students, the department gains the value-added, real-life teaching experiences afforded to them at MossRehab,” said Serianni.

The partnership is a genuine two way street.SLP patient being tested"Salus SLP students are coming to us from their academic experience, so they’re coming in with the most recent research,” said Eisen. “That really helps as well by bringing a different perspective to us.”

Jenny McCormack, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist at MossRehab, coordinates lab instruction for the students, which first began in 2015 when the University's SLP program initially launched. That collaboration grew in connection with the “clinical ladder” at MossRehab, the way the hospital grows professionally on the clinical side. “We have different projects that we do within that clinical ladder. One of my projects was to initiate this lab program to give clinicians here an opportunity to teach and get into the teaching world in a different way than just one-on-one clinical supervision,” said McCormack. “It allows Salus students to get a taste of the clinical world and provides an orientation into patient care before they go out to their official clinical externships.”

The labs have been a really big hit for both Salus and MossRehab. McCormack said the instructors love teaching the Salus students, who she described as engaged and enthusiastic. “I think students appreciate the chance to brainstorm through a clinical situation with an actual patient and the instructor before they’re placed out in the field,” she said.
Serianni said the Salus students are able to acquire experience at MossRehab that enables them to understand how to take foundational concepts and apply them to complex cases. “Students translate their textbook knowledge and gain a deeper sense of how to use the research and clinical evidence to guide their practice,” said Serianni. “Taking ‘read-about’ skills and applying them to real-world patient care under the supportive guidance of the MossRehab SLPs allows them to spread their wings and fly."