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Clinical Curriculum

College of Health Sciences
Clinical Education Policies

(updated May 2014)

As part of the undergraduate curriculum, the student will be expected to earn a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation before they begin any clinical practicum. Undergraduate transfers, students possessing a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than communication sciences and disorders and students who have not completed their observation hours must complete their 25 clock hours of observation before beginning graduate clinical work. The Speech-Language Pathology program at Misericordia University is unique because students may complete one semester of undergraduate clinic before beginning the master's coursework. These students are given one or two clients to work with during the semester before they start their graduate coursework and clinic.

The clinical component of the Speech-Language Pathology program is integrally tied to the academic component. The Speech-Language Pathology program’s philosophy is that students should have as much of the academic preparation completed as possible so that they can integrate and use that information effectively when conducting assessment or intervention with persons having speech and/or language disorders. All practicum experiences are intended to allow students to gain practical experience with children and adults exhibiting speech and/or language disorders in a variety of settings, including public schools, outpatient facilities, private practices, rehabilitation centers, acute care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. The graduate clinical curriculum is sequenced in such a way that students work towards completion of most of their academic coursework within the first graduate year, as well as completing two in-house treatment clinics and one diagnostic clinic. Students will be able to earn between 50 to 75 clock hours of practicum over the course of these in-house clinics.

The second year of graduate study is primarily devoted to external clinical practicum placements. Most students will not need to enroll in SLP 630 Fieldwork III as their practicum experiences in SLP 610 Fieldwork I and SLP 620 Fieldwork II should be sufficient to allow them to complete all practicum requirements for ASHA certification. Those students who do not meet the Department's and ASHA's certification standards related to clinical practicum upon completion of SLP 620 will be required to enroll in SLP 630 to meet the appropriate standards.

Students who enter the master's program with clinical clock hours earned at the undergraduate level and students who transfer from a graduate program at another institution of higher education who have earned practicum clock hours will be allowed to transfer those clock hours as long as they were obtained at an accredited institution and were earned under ASHA’s standards for clinical practicum. The academic semester or quarter hour credit for practicum, however, will not be transferred to count toward the academic standards.

By the time a student graduates with a master’s degree from the program, he or she will have met all practicum requirements for professional certification. This includes a minimum of 400 clock hours of appropriate clinical experience, with a minimum of 25 clock hours of the 400 being obtained in clinical observation.

The practicum experiences will be varied both in terms of clinical settings to which students are assigned, and the diversity of communication disorders that the student will encounter. The net result of all clinical experiences will be a well-prepared, rounded, competent clinician who will be ready to take his or her place in the professional world.