Presence TeleCare Blog - Caseload Manageability pt. 2

In an earlier post, we looked at research presented by Lauren Katz, et al, “What makes a caseload (un)manageable? School-based speech-language pathologists speak” (complete citation follows below), a discussion of the variables impacting a speech pathologist’s perception of the manageability of his caseload. Variables were divided into three (3) distinct categories:

  • demographics: who was more likely to feel like she was managing things well and enjoy a sense of job well-done;
  • job-setting: where one is more likely to perceive the ability to manage his caseload; and
  • job characteristics: team and time factors supporting job satisfaction.

Several of my colleagues responded to an invitation to comment on the research presented.

Eric, Director of Special Education (WI): Our team of four SLPs work together to organize the caseloads and work demands. We meet monthly to discuss issues and concerns, with the SLPs proposing the most reasonable options for dealing with the situation. We have two unfilled positions, but our Speech team makes the best of the challenges by actively supporting each other.

Gin, Speech Pathologist (IA): I’m nearing the end of my career in the schools. In my last assignment, no one got along. No matter what you did, it was never enough. Then my supervisor proposed a new assignment and I jumped at the opportunity. I love my new school. The parents are supportive and involved, and I have a chance to use my skills with a community grateful to have a speech pathologist back in the district.

Name withheld by request, Speech Pathologist (MN): As a private practitioner, I provide part-time service in both large and small districts. The larger districts seem to have a more “even” coordination of special education activities. Some of the smaller rural districts seem to be a bit more idiosyncratic. I was considered an “outsider” longer in the rural districts but once I was “in”, I was good to go.

Michelle, a new grad doing her CFY in a small town (MN): I don’t have any contact with the part-time SLP at the high school who’s been there a long time. We never meet to discuss what we do. The special education teachers send the LD kids down to my room and tell me I need to help them complete their worksheets or their homework. XXXX (the Special Education Director) stops by and answers some of my questions but I have so many of them! On top of it all, my husband’s ex- has been a real pain lately! I’m really stressed out.

While my colleagues report a range of experiences, interpersonal relationships seem to hold great value to each. It appears that even when work conditions are difficult or challenging, if you work with professionals who support you in explicit and ongoing ways, a speech pathologist could feel that the situation is almost quite manageable! Without that support, life can be miserable.

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Katz LA, Maag A, Fallon KA, Blenkarn K, Smith MK. (2010). What makes a caseload (un)manageable? School-based speech-language pathologists speak. Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 41(2), 139-151.

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