Original Research

The Lived Experience of Being a Speech-Language Therapist in the Western Cape Public Health Service

Jocelyn A. Warden, Patricia Mayers, Harsha Kathard
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 55, No 1 | a769 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v55i1.769 | © 2020 Jocelyn A. Warden, Patricia Mayers, Harsha Kathard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2020 | Published: 31 December 2008

About the author(s)

Jocelyn A. Warden, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Patricia Mayers, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Harsha Kathard, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

This study explores the lived experience of being a Speech-Language Therapist (S-L Therapist) in the South African Western Cape public health service. The lived experience of seven S-L Therapists with varied clinical experience was illuminated using a qualitative phenomenological research design. S-L Therapists, working in the three Western Cape tertiary hospitals, provided an in-depth account of their experiences as S-L Therapists. The audio recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using an adaptation of Colaizzi's (1978) method of analysis. The rigour and trustworthiness of the research process was informed by consideration of issues of credibility, applicability, confirm ability and dependability as they relate to phenomenological design. Five main themes emerged from data analysis: expectations of practice and practice realities; being part of the "underdog" profession: role definition and status; being connected; the holistic nature of the S-L Therapist's practice; and erosion or promotion. The implications for training and support of S-L therapists by managers and policymakers and peers are highlighted.

Keywords

phenomenology; lived experience; Western Cape public health service; Speech-Language Therapist

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Crossref Citations

1. Well-being, job satisfaction, stress and burnout in speech-language pathologists: A review
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International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology  vol: 23  issue: 2  first page: 180  year: 2021  
doi: 10.1080/17549507.2020.1758210