New Clinical Audiologist Training Tips & a Little Life Update

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Happy mid-October! Happy [almost] Halloween! I think it is absolutely wild how quickly the year of 2020 is coming to an end. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in every possible way and how we do things. We wear masks now. We practice social distancing. We avoid physical contact whenever possible. We cancel international travel plans. We are extra nervous when our patients cough or exhibit signs of a fever.

What is “normal”?

Whatever it is, this year is the farthest thing from it.

For me, the silver lining of the pandemic is that it gave me the window of opportunity to start this blog. Learning the ropes of social media has not been easy (despite being a semi-tech savvy millennial). I guess I should be grateful I can’t have much of a social life right now because I now spend my free time Googling “how to make an Instagram story”. Or, “how to master SEO so that people can find and read the stuff I write”. Ha. Fun times.

Instead of overcommitting myself to happy hours and birthday parties, I get to spend more time creating content. I get to share my passion for audiology from the safety and comfort of my own home. And it has truly been a blast.

Don’t get me wrong – I miss seeing my friends and dining out, but catching up with each other now takes place over scheduled Zoom meetings and waving to each other from the car. I just remind myself that this is temporary. One day, we will be able to resume our social activities and everything will be ok again.

Until then, I will devote myself to continuing this passion project! Lately though, I have been dealing with fall fatigue. Yes, I think I just made that up. It’s probably synonymous with Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which I feel really meh when the seasons change and my days feel so much shorter.

On top of that, our clinic hired a new part-time audiologist to join our practice after my previous colleague left in late August. The last six weeks had its ups and downs and I will say that the busiest day had me testing FIVE!!! pediatric kiddos back to back (for someone who doesn’t specialize in pediatric audiology, you bet I had caffeine that morning). So you can imagine that I’m super stoked our new audiologist will help lighten my load in a busy, ENT practice. Just like any other new employee though, there is a period of training and shadowing to get her acclimated to our workflow.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. I know, all of this probably doesn’t sound all that exciting from your point of view, but it is for me! So anyway, based on my own recent experience, here are a few learning tips from a lead audiologist whose role includes training a newly graduated clinician:

  • Introduce them to ALL the staff and provide a very detailed tour of the clinic (where things are located, who uses what rooms, who does what)

Remember when your friend hosted a party and invited you to join, but you didn’t know if you would know anyone else going? And then when you decide to attend, you show up, and your friend (aka the host) forgets to introduce you to all the new faces?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably really good at putting yourself out there and have no qualms about introducing yourself to strangers. Sweet. BUT, if you’re like me, and you have a tendency to be a little shy around people you don’t know, this situation gives me the worst anxiety.

Anyway, put yourself in the shoes of “the new employee” who doesn’t know anyone at the office “party”. Wouldn’t it be helpful if someone who knew everyone else introduced you to people and showed you where the candy is stashed? That could be you! Help break the ice by making quick introductions so that the newbie doesn’t feel like a complete outsider.

  • Give them a solid observation period first to see the clinic flow

Recall the good days of being a student rotating through different clinics again. My preceptors always led by example. They allowed me to shadow them around the clinic for the first few days to learn how the clinic flows. New clinic, new culture, different way of doing things. Sure, there might be similarities between one clinic vs. another, but ultimately, it takes awhile to adjust to any new environment. Even though you’re excited for them to start working and they’re excited to start practicing, help them get their feet wet by giving them a solid observation period.


  • Ask how they prefer to receive feedback

Super important to establish this on day one. You want to have an open, direct, and honest communication pact with your fellow colleague. Why? Because it’s unhealthy when you both gradually build up resentment for each other over little things. Feedback is a two-way street. As the lead audiologist, you’ll want to offer helpful tips and guidance to your new colleague in order to improve time efficiency or use of clinic space. Ask your new colleague how they want to receive feedback. Do they prefer written comments? Verbal discussions? Feedback through examples? Everyone is entitled to their preferences within reason, so try your best to honor it.

Keep in mind that no one likes being corrected in front of patients, or any kind of audience. So it’s best to save it for those one-on-one sessions.

  • Discuss clinic expectations and offer to assist in any way until they feel comfortable doing things independently

Talk about expectations on day one too. Chances are, the clinic has several moving parts and every provider has their own style of doing things. Share your knowledge about the clinic. Go over do’s and don’ts. Until your colleague has encountered everything you have already experienced in the clinic, encourage them to ask for help. Allow them to ask you for help before they make a mistake that could’ve been prevented.

If you have a binder or digital share drive containing all the clinic protocols, it’s ok to guide them to use these reference tools to find answers when you’re not available.

  • Schedule weekly meetings to discuss anything clinic related, interesting cases, and share feedback with each other

We can all learn from each other no matter where we are in our careers. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been practicing for 2 years, 10 years, or 20+ years – be open to learning. Meet for lunch once a week to chat about clinic issues, scheduling management, interesting case studies, etc. There are so many things that can be accomplished and improved by simply putting multiple heads together (figuratively, not literally because COVID, remember?) to brainstorm.


So there you have it! A few tips to train a newly graduated clinician and orient them to your clinic. Cheers to new changes and I hope you all are staying safe. Also, if you haven’t yet, this is a reminder to get your flu shot because the flu + COVID-19 in the air could make for a yucky winter.

gray mittens, cup of coffee, cold
Looking at this picture is warming me up for winter 🙂

If you have experience training a new audiologist in a clinic setting, what additional tips do you have that I don’t know about?

If you are a new clinician (recent graduate starting your first job), what would you want your new employers/colleagues to know about you?

Thanks for tuning in!

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1 Comment

  1. I’m glad that you talked that it would take a while to be comfortable in a new environment. Last night, my cousin was hoping to have hearing aids for my nephew because he was experiencing a bad hearing problem, and he asked if I had any idea what could be the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article, I’ll be sure to tell her that it will be much better if she consults a trusted audiologist in town as they can provide more information about hearing testing.

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