For nearly 20 years, the Oticon Summer Camp has provided graduate students in audiology with the opportunity to learn from and network with leading researchers, experienced practitioners, Oticon staff, and other new hearing care professionals. Oticon has announced that in August 2015, 108 future professionals from 45 schools representing a cross-section of US universities traveled to Keystone, Colorado for a week-long series of lectures and workshops designed to supplement and complement education from audiology programs at universities.
As university curriculum has evolved, the Oticon Summer Camp has adjusted its focus to continue to bring relevant, practical professional world knowledge and insights that students may have limited access to in academic or preceptor settings.
”When we started the Oticon Summer Camp, we focused on educating students on advanced hearing device technology, something that was not covered as comprehensively at universities in the late 1990s,” said Don Schum, PhD, Oticon’s vice president of audiology and professional relations, and the developer of the US summer camp program. ”Today, the quality of education in hearing device technology has dramatically improved at the university level. That change has enabled us to shift our focus to three areas that we believe will help prepare students to successfully enter professional life: patient interaction, professional development, and life in private practice.”
A team of audiologists from a variety of practice settings joined with Oticon staff to introduce students to the latest findings in patient counseling, education, and engagement. The group looked at the ways in which social interaction patterns change as adults grow older and how changing communication needs may impact the way people want to use their hearing. “This is important information for an audiologist to understand when patients are considering hearing amplification,” Schum noted.
In sessions devoted to professional development, experienced practitioners helped students to anticipate what they might expect in different clinical settings, including job responsibilities, salary, and benefits and availability. Students gained hands-on experience in interviewing, resume preparation, and other issues related to the search for a first job.
Hearing care professionals who have started their own practices led sessions and informal discussion on life in private practice, providing students with both practical advice and encouragement.
“We have a strong belief as a company in the value of independent private practice to bring high quality care to patients,” said Schum. “The idea that relatively new audiologists would go into private practice is becoming a more accepted career choice, and more and more students are interested in the option of setting up a private practice.”
The Oticon Summer Camp experience also gives participants an opportunity to begin establishing their own professional networks.
“Helping new audiologists appreciate the value of professional collaboration through knowledge-sharing events is one of the many rewarding aspects of our summer camp program,” said Schum.
For more information about Oticon Summer Camp programs, contact Randi R. Pogash, AuD, at [email protected].