Gouri Venu – newly qualified speech and language therapist

Gouri Venu – newly qualified speech and language therapist

I’m from a lusciously green and culturally rich place in India called Kerala, and grew up in Dubai. I’m definitely missing the beaches and sunshine, but am excited to see what the future holds for me in the UK! I am a newly qualified SLT, on the NHS Integrated Care Systems (ICS) rotational post, currently working at King’s Mill Hospital. I work with individuals who have communication and/or swallowing difficulties. 

Recognising that speech and language therapy as a profession is essentially a marriage of altruism and evidence-based practice was the driving force for me in becoming an SLT. As a student, I’d always wanted to work in healthcare and my passion for medical sciences always left me wanting to learn more. I also realised that working towards improving someone’s quality of life was a facet of healthcare that I wanted to be involved in. A few late nights of researching and numerous talks with professionals later, I decided to pursue a career in speech and language therapy.

For my current role, I will be based in a hospital and in the community, and at a high secure unit setting, with each post lasting 9 months. I’m currently on the first leg of the rotation, supporting patients who’ve had a stroke or have a long-term medical condition. I’m supported by a fantastic team of SLTs and a speech and language therapy assistant, all of whom make my long commutes to work worth it.  

Day-to-day, I check referrals, prioritise cases, and carry out initial assessments and reviews for patients. Additionally, I’m given the time to expand my skillset through training, Continuous Professional Development, and Newly Qualified Practitioner (NQP) competencies. I regularly meet my supervisors to discuss progress I’ve made, any difficulties I’ve encountered, and areas to work on. We also discuss potential solutions to aid my learning and achieve agreed objectives. My supervisors and service lead ensure I’m supported all the way through my NQP journey.  

One of the things I’ve learned in the transition from university to the workforce is that applying theoretical concepts in a practical setting comes with experience, and that’s why placements have played an integral part in my journey to becoming an speech and language therapist. My ability to apply those skills learned in lectures to practical settings develops with repeated supervisions, discussions, and support from experienced SLTs.  

I find being able to positively contribute towards someone’s quality of life the most rewarding aspect of being an SLT.