My name is Patrick Washington, and I am the new Audiologist at Rainbows. I have been a practicing Audiologist for about 4 years and have been at Rainbows for about two months and have fallen in love. When I started sharing about working at Rainbows to family, friends or even people I met in the community, I felt my personal happiness returned to me. Not only that, my loved ones noticed I finally seemed happy being a provider at Rainbows, compared to previous employment. I am stationed at Kids’ Point to do audiological evaluations and at Kids’ Cove to provide services for infants and toddlers birth to 3 years. I am honored that Paco and Alexia have given me the opportunity to join their team with the amazing therapists, office staff and early intervention teachers.
Now, honest time, I was very nervous in starting this new journey! I was technically on my own learning most of my duties since the previous audiologist had to quickly resign her position and start her journey in a different state with her family. Paco, Kathy and Alexia were great help in teaching me the basics of my position and at the same time getting me prepared for the launch of the myEvolv/Anywhere platform. I have returned from a four year absence in working with children, since being a student audiological resident at another non-profit organization. I had to go back to square one and learn the testing protocols, methods and techniques on how to not only test children, but children with special needs. Also, this was a different transition for me to adapt from providing traditional clinical services in an office setting to Part C early intervention services in the homes.
On to the next step, I started shadowing with the therapists and getting some exposure on how a typical home visit is conducted, but also learning all the different skill sets from each therapist. That was the exciting part of joining Rainbows and one of the things I expressed excitement for during my interview. I now had the opportunity of working with an interdisciplinary team! I always dreamt of one day working with a group of individuals, since I always have worked on my own. I feel working with others helps me to grow into a better clinical provider and I always have enjoyed working and accomplishing goals with a team and knowing that my contributions would be appreciated.
The last next step, and I feel the therapists loved this step, I finally started seeing kids at the homes. I was nervous but excited at same time. I didn’t know what to expect when the parent(s) or kids saw me hovering over the therapist and introducing myself as the new Audiologist. I thought I would scare the kids or even the parents! Reason why? I am 6’4”(HaHa). So far, most of the visits have gone successfully and some….well…let’s say….I keep learning and growing? Overall, I am really enjoying working with the families by being an advocate for their kiddo’s hearing health and educating the parent(s) so they can have a better knowledge about the auditory system.
My journey has only been about two months. However this is what I have learned so far:
- Many employees/therapists at Rainbows have been here for years, a decade or even two decades. It amazes me the dedication, passion and loyalty that I see from the women and men I meet at Rainbows.
- Teamwork is very important within Rainbows and everyone has a part in accomplishing the needs and goals for the kids and families, not just one individual doing the work.
- Everyone on my team was willing to answer any questions that I had and it was the first time I felt confident in asking questions and not feeling inadequate of my abilities to ask for assistance.
- This is the first place I have worked at where my thoughts/opinions mattered. It feels good when staff or the therapists would come to me and ask for my thoughts about testing, protocols or even practice on testing methods with me. I see myself being an asset for the first time in my years of practicing.
- Lastly, I finally feel valued and appreciated at Rainbows. In the past, I had to follow a certain model or norms to be considered an effective provider and if I didn’t follow it exactly, I wasn’t considered “successful.” At Rainbows, I still follow a certain model, however I define my norms and use my knowledge and abilities to provide evidence-based interventions for the kiddos and families and I get 100% support from staff and the therapists.
My journey at Rainbows has just begun and I am looking forward to the many opportunities that will be presented. I am deeply honored to be part of this organization that allows me to evolve, similar to a butterfly and that helps families and kiddos receiving services through us evolve as well. I won’t feel alone in my journey, because I will have people around to cheer and support me, and I am lucky for that.