Community-Based Model of Clinical Education

What is community-based clinical education?

Our community-based model of clinical education is designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to obtain clinical experience while embedded in their community. Our School of CSD does not utilize an on-campus clinic for practicum and externship placements, which sets it apart from other program models. Rather, our students complete clinical placements in community settings that expose them to the multifaceted nature of the work such as developing individualized education programs, caseload management, productivity strategies, clinical documentation, interprofessional collaboration, and more. Experiencing the realities of how services are delivered in our communities optimizes student preparedness. Students who receive a community-based clinical education are exposed to numerous community sites over the course of the program. Most students gain experience in at least seven distinct sites.

Beginning community clinical placements in the second semester allows students to spend the first semester with faculty learning and practicing fundamental content and skills for clinical practice. This preparation ensures more efficacious practices with patients and families. Both preparation and increased self-efficacy are known to increase clinical effectiveness. Once students begin community placements, they are supported through advising, site visits, and Clinical Seminar. The School ensures that community clinical supervisors have clear and realistic expectations of students.

Finally, use of a community-based model allows us to live our values of community, equity, compassion, and advocacy. Through partnerships with local organizations, student clinicians and clinical supervisors serve individuals who might not otherwise have access to Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) services. Some of our past and current partnerships include:

  • Community Transitional School - A school for children who are under-housed or without permanent housing
  • Early Learning Community - A K-5 school on the Pacific University Forest Grove Campus
  • Camp Yakety Yak - Summer camp supporting neurodiverse children’s participation in a camp experience alongside neurotypical peers
  • Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinic - Outpatient interprofessional clinical setting serving adults and children in person and via telepractice
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center - Community health services for a predominantly Spanish-speaking immigrant population
  • Outside In Portland - Gender-affirming voice and communication services
  • Camp More - Camp whose mission is to empower kids and teens who stutter
  • Aphasia Network - Community support to individuals with Aphasia and other acquired neurologic conditions and their families

What does the Pacific University Clinical program entail?

  • Preparatory clinical experiences (e.g., hearing screenings, speech-language screenings), simulations, and hands-on labs
  • Courses: CSD 530 Clinical Practicum I, Clinical Practicum II, Clinical Practicum III, CSD 534 Clinical Externship*, CSD 526 Clinical Seminar I, CSD 527 Clinical Seminar II, CSD 528 Clinical Seminar III

*Externship can be completed in the Portland area, or out of area/state as students have completed all coursework (Yes, this means you can go home or possibly to a place you’ve always wanted to live!)

What are some examples of clinical placements within the community?

  • Elementary/Middle/High Schools
  • Early Intervention (0-3 years)
  • Early Childhood (3-4 years)
  • Transitional Programs (18-21 years)
  • Acute Hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Home Health
  • Private Practice
  • Outpatient Medical Office
  • Inpatient Rehab

What are some of the benefits of community-based clinical education?

  • Students have many clinical experiences embedded in the community with future colleagues
  • Students experience the clinical situations they will face as practicing SLPs and work with their supervisors to plan, implement, and document clinical services
  • Students receive hands-on learning about educational and healthcare systems

What do students think about the community-based model of clinical education?

  • Students appreciate gaining experience in sites where they may practice one day
  • Students recognize the value of being placed in the community with their future colleagues and building relationships
  • Students appreciate opportunities to serve underserved individuals