We are IH is a recognition campaign to spotlight Interior Health employees and medical staff – through pictures and stories.
Name: Sharon Reisdorf
Job Title: Speech Language Pathologist
Years of Service: 21
Worksite: Kelowna General Hospital
Ancestral Territory: Syilx (Saay-ilks) / Okanagan Interior Salish
Favourite Quote: "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts" -Eleanor Roosevelt
Are you familiar with the work of Speech-Language Pathologists (S-LPs)? When hearing about Speech-Language Pathology as a profession, most people have limited perceptions of what it involves. However, it has a much broader scope than we imagine. At Interior Health, S-LPs work in both adult communication and swallowing services, voice and early childhood development programs, helping to prevent, assess, and treat speech and language, swallowing, and cognitive-communication disorders.
If you are considering a career in S-LP, know that it requires a high level of education, with a Masters degree being a minimum requirement. Take Sharon Reisdorf, S-LP at Interior Health for example. She always knew she wanted to be a therapist of some kind, and contemplated becoming a music therapist at one point; hence, her BA in music and psychology! But that’s not all. She also holds a specialization in linguistics and a Masters degree in Speech-Language Therapy, of course! Now that we know what it takes to be an S-LP, let’s learn more about Sharon’s journey as an S-LP.
Her career began at a rehabilitation hospital in Florida. After working at Wascana Rehabilitation Hospital in Regina, she moved to Kelowna, relocating for her husband’s job. Sharon’s career at Kelowna General Hospital spans an extraordinary 21 years!
Photo of Sharon Reisdorf, Speech-Language Pathologist at Kelowna General Hospital. Photo provided by the KGH Foundation.
When asked about her proudest moments at IH, Sharon shares heartwarming and thought-provoking stories about her patients. During the early days of the pandemic, she recalls working with an acutely ill patient in rehab, who had recently transferred out of ICU. Sharon mentions she still remembers the day her patient walked out of rehab, after triumphing over a complicated hospital stay.
Sharon feels it is a privilege to be part of a patient’s journey as they go from being fearful and non-verbal to advocating for themselves and making meaningful connections with friends and family. She also emphasized how, in terms of swallowing for example, how fulfilling it is to see patients transition from a tube feed to eating orally after intensive therapy.
Apart from her life-changing work, Sharon finds peace in playing music. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis helped her go back to playing the piano, which had been a big part of her life. Now, it helps to keep her grounded after a long day. Kelowna’s vibrant streets keep her exploring more parts of town on her bike and she has found a new love for pickleball.
Thank you Sharon for all that you do and for sharing your story with us. A special thank you to all Speech-Language Pathologists across Interior Health in celebration of S-LP month.
Sharon's nomination keeps the We Are IH loop going:
"I would like to nominate Elisabeth Teasdale, an Inpatient Stroke Nurse who facilitates the care for all the stroke patients. She is incredible and I would love to see her featured." - Sharon Reisdorf