All you really need to do before starting your clinical fellowship year is complete the necessary paperwork.
If you are anxious and would like to get a head start, here are some things that you can think about and get ready before you know your caseload.
1. Keep track of your start date and any important onboarding training dates.
You can also ask about specific trainings for new district SLPs. Don’t forget to add them to your calendar!
2. Check in with your supervisor.
You can ask them what the beginning of the school year will look like (e.g., time for planning, setting up, and caseload management).
Your supervisor might be able to tell you your school placement and what your caseload might look like. This can always change so take this with a grain of salt! I wouldn’t recommend buying and prepping tons of materials ahead of time.
3. Reflect on your strengths and needs as a new clinician.
What areas of the job will you need the most support with? Be honest, it’s easier to ask than to fix a mistake.
4. Explore self-care strategies.
This is KEY! It’s so easy to lose yourself in a new job. You can start by building healthy habits now (e.g., meal prepping, working out, hobbies). You can also plan vacations or mental health days. Think about what you need to take care of yourself and recharge your battery throughout the school year.
5. Explore organization strategies.
This is my favorite thing to talk about, and I have lots of ideas for you here. You can think about which planner to use, how to keep track of evaluations/IEPs, how to organize your therapy planning, etc etc.
6. Learn about behavior management strategies.
Here are some resources for a neurodiversity-affirming mindset.
7. Learn about cultural competency and trauma-informed care.
Check out ASHA’s practice portal for cultural competency tips.
Last but not least…
8. Take a break!
You just graduated! Know that you have the most recent, up-t0-date knowledge. You have a huge advantage here when it comes to making evidence-based decisions. Let your brain rest so you can start your CF with tons of energy!