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Communicating a passion for speech pathology

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

Speech pathologist Gloria Tzannes.

Gloria Tzannes has never contemplated working with adults.

The senior speech pathologist prefers working with little patients – from newborn babies through to toddlers, children and teenagers.

“I’ve always wanted to work with children and what better way than to help them to talk and eat,” she said.

Gloria has been working at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, since she graduated 15 years ago.

Her work involves non-clinical and clinical caseloads, including assisting and managing babies and children with eating and drinking problems with patients who have syndromes such as Down syndrome or conditions such as cleft palate, Pierre Robin sequence or cerebral palsy.

“I love everything about it,”

she said.

“Seeing the actual patients and liaising with their local services.”

The mum of two is the clinical educator in the department for final year speech pathology students and is also involved in developing policy and guideline resources, including the clinical practice guidelines for children with tracheostomy, now being finalised.

Gloria also represents her department and the profession on various committees, including the NSW Ministry of Health speech pathology discipline network’s modified diet and thickened fluids sub-committee and the food and nutrition committee.

Gloria said for anyone considering the profession, speech pathology was extremely rewarding.

“I think it’s a great career with a lot of variety in the career paths that speech pathologists can go into,” she said.

“We work with paediatrics, with adults, and we can work in the public or private sector or in the corporate sector.

“They need to be a caring person and have empathy and good communication skills themselves and be able to work in teams and have good self-awareness of their own skills and areas to work on.

“If that’s them - that’s the career for them.”

Gloria plans on continuing her work with children and hopes to have a long, fulfilling career at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“The members of my department and the teams within the hospital are like a second family,” she said.

“I have found the best of myself professionally here, and those around me here have helped me do this.”

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