BSc Speech & Language PathologyHannah Simpson

Tell us a bit about your background…
I live in a suburb in the North of Glasgow; this is where I grew up and went to school.  I love living here because it is only a short distance from the city but also close to beautiful countryside.  The area has lots to do and there is a good community. After finishing secondary school, I started studying Speech and Language Pathology at the University of Strathclyde. I’m currently about to start my 4th and final year of the course.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Strathclyde?
The University of Strathclyde is widely renowned in the UK for offering a fantastic Speech and Language Pathology programme.  To have the University on my doorstep seemed too good of an opportunity to miss!  Studying at the University of Strathclyde meant I could stay at home which has allowed me to spend time with my family, save up money for after University and keep up my other commitments for example, my part time job and local volunteering. 

What sparked your interest in speech and language pathology?
My grandma had dementia and as her dementia progressed into the later stages, she was no longer able to  speak. It meant that my grandma could not communicate her needs to my family or the nursing staff which was difficult to cope with.  Years later, when I was thinking about what to do at University I came across Speech and Language Therapy and decided that it was something I wanted to do because of my experience with my grandma.  It also seemed like an ideal course for me because I am passionate about improving the quality of life of others and I loved biology at school.  Luckily it was the best decision I’ve ever made- I love it!

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
Honestly, I love the course so much it is hard to choose! However, one highlight would be getting to know my classmates and lecturers over the years; everyone is so lovely and because it is a small course you get to know them well.  Another highlight would be all the different subjects you get to study as part of the programme which I find really interesting and applicable to working as a Speech and Language Therapist.

Tell us about the clinical placements that you’ve been on, and what you have learned.
I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work in outpatient clinics with both adults and children on placement.  Clinical placements are one of my favourite parts of the course because you get hands-on experience of what it is like to be a Speech and Language Therapist.  During placement, I have the chance to develop my clinical skills and learn from experienced practice educators.  Placement also allows me to consolidate the knowledge that I have learnt in class and apply it. My placement this coming semester will be with children and I am really looking forward to it.

Have you had any memorable moments while on placement?
Placement is such a rewarding experience and there are so many lovely moments when working with every client.   A 5-year-old invited me to his football party and one elderly client insisted on giving me his bottle of orange juice as a thank you.  On my most recent placement, a particularly special moment for me was when my client wrote about his experiences of growing up and living with a stammer.  He wrote this after our session together and shared it with me; it was such an emotional moment and one that I will always remember.

What would you say is one of the key takeaways from your programme?
As part of our programme we learn about patient-centred care, this means that our services should be suited to our clients’ needs instead of the service’s needs.  For example, being more flexible in order to allow clients to attend appointments when it is suitable for them.  It is important to consider the preferences of clients as part of the clinical decision-making process; by involving the client their wishes can be identified and it is our role to adapt our service to meet these wishes.  This is important within the programme and is not only covered during lectures but is also emphasised on placement.

Have you come across any challenges during your studies?
Having to balance classes, coursework, assessments and placements is difficult and sometimes overwhelming.  However, I’ve learnt to take things step by step and organise effectively.  It is important for me to unwind and escape from the books for a bit; I joined cheerleading with the Strathclyde Warriors when I started at University which I really enjoyed and hope I’ll have the time to do this coming semester.

If you could travel back in time to give advice to yourself on your first day at Strathclyde, what would you say?
I’d probably tell myself not to be so nervous! I was worried when I first started University that I wouldn’t make as many friends because I wasn’t living on campus, however this has not been the case at all - I have made friends for life and wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you hope to do when you complete the programme?
I would love to work as a Speech and Language Therapist with either children or adults whether it be in this county or abroad.