Jessica - Speech and Language Therapist

Who’s this?

Jessica is currently a speech and language therapist (SLT) carrying out a rotational post enabling her to work in different clinical areas rotating every nine months and currently working in the area of head and neck cancer with patients that are having radiotherapy as part of their treatment at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

What’s the story of their career to date?

Upon leaving school Jessica went on to achieve three A-levels in Biology, Sociology and Geography, deciding that she wanted to become a SLT in her second year of 6th form, after researching the role Jess felt that her qualities and the personal skills that she had matched this particular role. Jess went onto University achieving a BSc in Clinical Language Sciences that took three years to complete, carrying out placements that enabled her to get a broad awareness of the role. Once Jess had qualified she secured her first position working with Adults in a hospital in Grimsby, before successfully securing her current role at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

What do they do?

Jessica’s current role is to work with people who have difficulty swallowing after treatment for their cancer and to prevent aspiration (food and drink going down your airway into your lungs). This is done by assessing their swallowing ability and making the appropriate recommendations for modified consistencies such as a puree diet, or even recommending patients are kept nil by mouth. Jessica also examines their swallow with x-ray to help inform her management. Her role also includes educating patients and their families of signs and symptoms of aspiration. Another aspect of this current rotation is rehabilitating speech after patients have had major operations to the head or neck to remove a tumour. This can be done by providing speech exercises for the patient. Jess also works on the acute medical wards working with both speech and swallowing. She can see up to 6 patients per day completing detailed notes and reports for each individual. As part of her rotational post Jess has already worked in the community with patients that may have conditions that affect their speech/swallowing and is looking forward to her next rotations with stroke inpatients as well as a brain injury unit

What’s the best thing about their role?

Jess has had lots of support from her colleagues since graduating in her role and feels the best part of her role is that she can help people and appreciates the gratitude patients have, for the important role she plays in the NHS

Where are they going from here?

Jess is looking forward to completing all of her rotational posts before deciding if she would like to specialise in a specific area

How does a role like this pay?

The role of Speech and Language Therapist normally starts at a Band 5 on the Agenda for Change Pay Scale.

The National Careers Service have a section for Speech and Language Therapist where you can find out information about the average pay for the role as well as information about the job and its responsibilities.

Where can I find out more?

This profile has been created by the Greater Manchester NHS Careers Engagement Hub in partnership with Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. If you have questions then feel free to contact us.

You can find out more about this role by visiting the Speech and Language Therapist section of the Health Careers website. The site gives information about the role and responsibilities, pay and conditions as well as any qualifications that are required and what the relevant courses or entry requirements are.