Report by: Kirsty Fitz-Poole, Paediatric Audiologist for NELFT NHS Foundation Trust
After working in the field for over 10 years, this was the first International Audiologist Day event I attended, and I was left inspired to shout about audiology and healthcare sciences! It was a fantastic, inspiring day, organised by specialist Audiologist Emilee Gosnell. The celebration was held in the heart of St Georges Hospital, in a light and airy conference room. Delegates from all over London were welcomed with refreshments, and the seating mixed proud audiology professionals with students. The space was decorated beautifully with bunting, tables centred with lush green houseplants and plentiful posters showcasing the best research from the field of audiology.
Reflecting on what an audiologist is, we looked at our characteristics, the unusual situations where you may find an audiologist, and uncovered shared experiences within the community. As a group, we practiced peer support techniques. We were led through reflections on practice quality, our emotional reactions, burn out and how to evaluate relationships. Everyone participated in a ‘feeling well at work plan’ session, exploring what helps you feel well at work. It was an opportunity to consider realistic changes for myself, my job and my work-life balance.
Talks during the International Audiologist Day event.
Ruth Thomsen fired up the room speaking about the 'drive for change', encouraging all audiologists to read our Department of Health updates, and highlighting the importance of us all knowing NHS policies and the transformations happening in healthcare science.
Throughout the day, our perspectives were broadened. We heard about opportunities open to us, such as the direction Audiologist Neil Summerfield took after training as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner: he now holds the role of Highly Specialist ENT practitioner.
A highlight of the day was hearing from a service user's mum, and now CHSWG (Children’s Hearing Service’s Working Group) chair, Sherri Shah, about her daughter’s diagnosis. Poetry from Janine Roebuck, implanted as an adult, left many with a tear in the eye and an eye-opening presentation from Soundseakers focused on audiology in Zambia. We also learnt about family support offered by the Cued Speech Association, and Nic Wray shared her passion for the British Tinnitus Association (who receive over 6500 calls a year), demonstrating the vital role support groups and amazing website materials provide.
It wasn't all hard work though, with the option to take a break in a massage area, and the day was rounded off with a fun raffle. There was a lovely flow to the day, with a programme full of amazing speakers celebrating the variety and excitement in the field of audiology.