Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Skinner. I am currently a fourth-year Doctor of Audiology student at Salus University. Fourth-year is totally different from the first three years of your AuD program at Salus. So, I’ll share with you what life is like during your externship.
I started my time at Salus fresh out of college and eager to learn about audiology, which was great because Salus starts you in the clinic your first semester. As the semesters go on, you gain more and more hands-on responsibility. By your third year you are rotating through different settings in the area, getting more work with each specialty. By the middle of your third year, you start to look for your externship placement. I know, it’s crazy and trust me it goes fast. No more classes, tests or papers. Time to put all that knowledge to clinical use full time. I am currently doing my externship with Eastern Virginia Medical School at Sentara Hospitals in Norfolk and Virginia Beach as well as the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.
Everyone’s externship is a bit different. For me, I was looking for something where I would be working in each specialty in order to make an informed decision about which area of audiology I want to specialize in. As an extern, you are expected to be comfortable with the basic skills of audiology, including adult diagnostic testing, as well as hearing aid troubleshooting/fitting/cleaning. Coming from Salus, these skills had to mastered as part of the curriculum in your second year, so you could say I felt well-prepared to start my externship.
As time goes on, I am getting more experience with each aspect of audiology. At the Norfolk hospital, I am working on adult diagnostics, including comprehensive audiograms, electrophysiology, vestibular testing, adult and pediatric hearing aids, and adult cochlear implant and BAHA devices. At the Virginia Beach hospital, I work mostly with adult diagnostic testing and hearing aids. At the children’s hospital I perform pediatric behavioral testing, sedated/unsedated ABRs, as well as pediatric cochlear implant evaluations, checks, and stimulations. We work closely with the ENT department, so I am always seeing those “tricky” or “special” cases, which really puts my comprehensive Salus education to work. Every day is different, so I have to be on my toes ready to accomplish whatever task is at hand. I get my schedule on a monthly basis and I bounce around the three locations from day to day.
Being in an ENT/hospital setting makes for busy days as back-to-back and last-minute appointments often occur. We also have a drop-off policy, which the students handle. Patients are allowed to drop off their hearing aids and leave a paper explaining the issue, and I often am troubleshooting in between appointments or during lunch. Being an extern means making yourself as helpful as possible which leads to more learning opportunities!
Day-to-day I work a steady 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift and then go home and relax with my boyfriend and puppy. Externship also means no more quizzes, exams, or homework, so I have a good mental break when I get home after work and on the weekends. Soon enough I will start my search for potential jobs in the area and before I know it, graduation will be here!
Top/bottom right: troubleshooting hearing aid. Left: Audiometric testing