Jessica Gormley

Jessica GormleyCommunication Sciences and Disorders (Pennsylvania State University)

Background: I completed my undergraduate and masters degree at SUNY Geneseo in speech-language pathology. Prior to starting the doctoral program at Pennsylvania State University, I worked as a speech-language pathologist primarily within inpatient settings across Pennsylvania and Nebraska. As a clinician, I served children and adults with a variety of medical complexities and many of these individuals also had complex communication needs. During my clinical work, I developed an interest in the implementation of AAC services within the inpatient setting to optimize the communication and language outcomes of children with complex medical needs. When working at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, I was able to learn more about the research process as a clinical researcher working under the direction of Dr. Susan Fager.

Current interests: My primary research interest is to ensure that children with complex communication needs are provided inpatient care that meets their unique needs in a developmentally-appropriate manner. Specifically, my research aims to (a) understand the experiences and practices of healthcare providers who provide inpatient services to children with complex communication needs, (b) understand the interactions among children with complex communication needs, their families, and healthcare providers in the inpatient setting, and (c) train current and future healthcare providers to improve child-family-provider interactions, to promote the child’s effective communication, and to support language development in inpatient settings.

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Janice Light

Sample Presentation/Publication and Rationale: Gormley, J., Brittlebank-Douglas, S., & Light, J. (2018, November). Exploring child-parent-provider communication on an inpatient rehabilitation unit: A descriptive analysis. Oral session presented at the Annual Conference of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, Boston, MA.

Exploring child-parent-provider communication on an inpatient rehabilitation unit (Gormley et al., 2018)

A descriptive, explorative study was conducted to systematically document interactions among a 28-month-old child with complex communication needs, her parents, and 26 health care providers in an inpatient rehabilitation unit. This study is an initial step to better understand the nature and patterns of healthcare interactions involving young children with complex communication needs. The results of this study can help to inform AAC design and partner training in inpatient settings.

Additional information:

Presentation Topic: Supporting Children with Complex Communication Needs to Make Choices During an Inpatient Stay: Effect of an AAC Partner Training with Healthcare Professionals

Discussion Topic: One challenge with conducting research in inpatient settings is its dynamic and, at times, unpredictable nature. This fast-paced and ever-changing setting can impose barriers with recruitment/retainment of participants and maintaining experimental control. For example, children who receive care within the hospital are discharged unexpectedly and staff schedules and assignments may change on a daily/weekly basis. Given the nature of inpatient care, how can we design research studies that rigorously evaluate the impact of AAC trainings within such a dynamic setting?

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