UP graduate taking audiology to the community

Posted on February 09, 2017


We interviewed Sakhile Nkosi, an audiology graduate, to hear about life after UP.

What do you miss about being at the University of Pretoria?

I miss having the title of student. Being a student is commonly thought of as the most exciting time of one's life. Being a student at the University of Pretoria made it even more special. Although the University is very academically driven, it never neglected the fact that life is not all about academics. A holistic approach was always followed, which included a great support system and social activities. I miss the infrastructure and the environment. We are truly lucky to have such a beautiful learning environment.

Tell us a little more about the audiology work you are doing.

I am doing my audiology work in a small hospital in Lydenburg, which mainly serves the town's surrounding areas (including local communities). I do mainly diagnostic audiometry, from paediatrics to geriatrics. I also fit hearing aids, perform hearing screening on new-born babies (only targeted hearing screening), and conduct aural rehabilitation and early intervention, in collaboration with an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and, where appropriate, paediatricians, psychologists, dieticians and speech therapists. Other procedures that I recently introduced in my department are vestibular testing and ototoxicity monitoring, as I observed an increasing prevalence of cases where these would be useful. I am currently considering incorporating these procedures fully into the department.

Do you have any comments on how your training is benefitting your work?

The leadership skills I gained are of particular benefit. Newly graduated professionals often find themselves in a facility where they are the only individual in their field. The skills I acquired during my training enabled me to approach exactly that situation with less fear. In a nutshell, my training not only prepared me to be an exceptional clinician, but to be a leader.

What advice would you give the current audiology students at UP?

It may seem difficult now and the path may seem unclear, but that is how we learn and grow. Remember, it takes hard work, commitment, and a lot of patience and resilience. Study as though you were already qualified, treat every clinical case as though you were already a clinician. Always put yourself in the patient's shoes so that you can understand what they are going through. In that way, you will be able to offer them superior service. You are still learning and mistakes will occur from time to time. Admit them and be open to criticism.

Any final remarks on your choice of profession and University?

I would like to close with a quote from the movie Patch Adams: 'The purpose of a doctor or any human in general should not be to simply delay the death of a patient, but to increase the person's quality of life.'  With my choice of profession, I can improve the quality of life of a human being; with my work, I can restore their lost hope. The University of Pretoria has been more than an excellent training institution: it has been a home away from home. It challenged me intellectually and the professional growth I have experienced as a result is overwhelming. To describe how I feel about my journey with the University of Pretoria and the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, I would like to use the words of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr: 'Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfilment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.'


- Author Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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