The speech and language team at Ipswich Hospital are celebrating a double victory.
Nikki Bond, a speech and language therapy assistant, has become the first apprentice to be supported through her training by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust.
While Susie Williams, specialist speech and language therapist, has secured funding for a rare research project.
Nikki Bond, who is based on the stroke ward at Ipswich Hospital, has been gaining experience with the team, but keen to develop her skills and complete the necessary qualifications required to become a speech and language therapist.
With the backing from her team and support from the Trust, she’s secured the unconditional offer to study at the University of Essex for a Bachelor of Science degree.
Nikki said: “My interest in speech and language developed following previous study and experience in brain rehabilitation. I’ve been working in the stroke unit and my role has been to provide rehabilitation to those experiencing speech, language, and swallowing difficulties.
“Sometimes it means encouraging a different way of having a successful conversation if they’re unable to find the words – this could be by using written words, gestures, or pictures to help someone get their message across. It can be very frustrating for people.”
The 27-year-old will develop her skills during the course while continuing to work at Ipswich Hospital while putting in place what she learns along the way.
She added: “I really enjoy working in this area, so to be able to keep my job while gaining this qualification – it’s such a fantastic opportunity.”
Nikki is the first person to be supported by the Trust to complete an apprenticeship of this kind.
Susie Williams wanted to develop her career as an experienced speech and language therapist by pursuing the role as a clinical academic.
With an existing interest in the treatment and care for patients with jargon aphasia, she has now secured a rare form of funding for a specialist piece of research looking into the condition.
Jargon aphasia is a condition that can develop following a stroke, where patients mix up words, not realising they are saying completely different words to those they mean – creating huge frustrations for them and those around them.
Keen to learn more about the condition and how best to treat it, Susie – with the backing of the Trust and Research Team based at ESNEFT – applied for £5,000 funding, which has now been granted so she can begin the research next year.
She said: “When a person experiences jargon aphasia their speech consists of nonsense words.
“It’s not that they’re slurring their words, but that they’re not making sense – and won’t realise they’re not making sense – so it’s incredibly challenging for them and for everyone around them. It’s like the words are all mixed up.”
The British Aphasiology Society Special Award for Susie’s research has been funded through a bequest from the family of a person who themselves experienced severe jargon aphasia and struggled to support.
She added: “The research will involve interviewing carers and finding out how best to support a person with the condition.
“I’m so grateful to have been supported by the Research Team and my colleagues to pursue this.”Back to top