Archive for the ‘Member Spotlight’ Category

Member Spotlight: Melissa Velasco

Posted on: December 5th, 2018 by myavaaadmin

Evolution of a VA Audiologist: From Intern to Au.D.

My name is Melissa Velasco and I’m a clinical Audiologist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Santa Rosa CBOC. I started at the San Francisco VA in 2016 with a three-month internship, followed by a year externship, and then a full time Audiolo-gist position. Unlike my other internships, my time at the San Francisco VA was very hands-on. Because this was only my second off-campus rotation, I thought my place-ment would be strictly observational. I was surprised (and a little nervous to be honest) that the team of audiologists encouraged me to take the lead in a variety of appointments to polish my clinical skills.

Due to the number of patients I saw on a daily basis, my clinical skills and confidence grew rapidly. Within three months, I developed my skills in diagnostics, hearing aids, and hearing aid fittings. Without the guidance and encouragement of the audiologists, this wouldn’t have been possible. Their passion and commitment to the mentorship of future health care professionals solidified my decision to pursue a 4th year externship and ultimately a career with the San Francisco VA.

I did apply to other VA positions since I was not guaranteed an externship placement in San Francisco. My first challenge in the application process was trying to locate a list of VA medical centers that offered well-rounded externships. I utilized search en-gines such as USA JOBS to find more information about clinical services, externship requirements, and paid positions. Most listings were not comprehensive regarding the latter information.

The second challenge in the process was finding a point of contact at the various locations. This was important in order to get more information about the clinic or application deadlines. Fortunately, my mentors at the San Francisco VA were very helpful here. Not only did they provide me with contact information but also with letters of recommendation and insights about which VA centers met my requirements. I had an advantage compared to other students seeking VA externships because I had an easier means of obtaining this information.

Shortly after submitting all of my VA applications, I was offered externship at San Francisco. I accepted the externship offer without hesitation. My externship year in San Francisco was everything I could’ve hoped for. At our clinic we offer a variety of services such as diagnostics, hearing aids, vestibular, cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing devices, progressive tinnitus management, ABR evaluations, and tele-health audiology. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in all services and work alongside our talented team of audiologists.

All and all, I believe pursuing an externship at the VA is by far one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only was my clinical experience exceptional, but the opportunity to serve our nation’s heroes was the highlight of my rotation.