When I came upon this quote by American author William Deresiewicz a few months ago, I thought it represented the intent of Phonak U well:
The true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers.
That statement resonates even more strongly with me after bearing witness to the nearly 100 minds — not careers — being built at the 11th annual Phonak University held earlier this month at our US headquarters.
So, what is Phonak U? It is an educational program that aspires to supplement the contemporary clinical training of today’s Audiology student through participation in didactic lectures, hands-on clinical workshops and case studies, giving the students the opportunity to learn directly from the best. And of course, we also hope that Phonak U allows students to network with fellow students and established professionals.
I have been proud to be associated with Phonak U for the past 7 years, with direct responsibility for the program along with Bill Dickinson AuD, VP of Audiology, for the last 3 years. This year’s curriculum covered a wide range of clinical care, professional development, and business management topics, all focused on evidence-based practice which leads to the best possible outcome for the patient. The faculty included Phonak clinical educators alongside our internal research staff, audiologists, and a host of key opinion leaders from across the country.
A highlight of the event was an opening night keynote address by Beverly Zwahlen, an amazing woman who uses Phonak technology in her daily life and now, as she enters retirement, is using her voice to inspire others to act in order to meet their hearing goals. It was a great gift to see young people be inspired by those who are in need of their clinical services. The patient’s voice was heard!
I wish that all of those who have a passion for hearing health, whether it is as a patient, a provider or because it is a component of their career, could have witnessed the talents of the young future Audiologists attending Phonak U. Not only where they appreciative of the educational experience we provided, but the professionalism displayed showed a maturity beyond their years. And most importantly, they were seizing this experience to build their mind in the best interest of the patient… not just build their career.
Phonak U students took to social media as part of a scavenger hunt to document their experiences.