David Brown is the equivalent of a unicorn in the speech therapy world i.e. a rare beast! He is a male in a predominantly female profession. His background is in banking. He is also a neurology and a voice specialist.
I have known him since 2009 and he’s one of those people who make you laugh until you hurt! He’s the only speech therapist I’ve met who has come from the corporate world and that brings huge positives. Speech therapists have a tendency to over discuss/over complicate issues at times (!) and David has a gift for cutting through that and moving things on. His clients absolutely love him.
I’m so pleased to feature him as the first therapist in my interview series:
David, can you tell me about your pathway into speech and language therapy as a career?
After working in banking for several years I decided I wanted a more rewarding career and one that allowed me to really make a difference. I spent around two years researching careers in the caring professions and attended university and NHS departmental open days and decided that speech and language therapy closely matched my skills and interests.
Can you think of a stand-out moment in your training?
I was on a student placement and as part of a multidisciplinary team had to give a diagnosis of autism to the parents of a child we had assessed. I was extremely worried about communicating my assessment results in a sensitive and clear way. After the meeting the paediatrician took me aside and told me I had done a “great job” and said I should really consider a career in that area.
What is your current role and what was the pathway to that role?
I have recently returned to the acute hospital trust that I originally joined when I qualified and see inpatients and also outpatients for voice therapy. Prior to that I worked for another acute trust and also in older person’s mental health services seeing patients with a diagnosis of dementia.
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting new people, the variety and working in great teams!
What do you find the hardest about your job?
Managing patients with terminal illnesses and supporting their families.
Who/what inspires you in your job?
My colleagues – past and present!
What 3 top skills do you think are paramount in when working as a speech therapist in acquired neurology?
- Excellent observational skills
Can you share a funny speech therapy related story with us?
When I first worked on an acute ward I was assessing a gentleman. I was speaking quite loudly and everyone on the ward began replying to my questions. It got very confusing!
What job do you think you might have done, if not speech therapy?
How do you relax/switch off from your job?
Fun and laughs with friends and boating on the Thames on the rare occasion the weather is kind!
Thank you David. Here is a section of The Thames that David regularly navigates in his boat (as seen from one of my favourite bars!)