Working with adult patients

Hi, I'm going to start graduate school in a couple weeks and I have a question regarding working with adult patients. I've wanted to work with the adult and geriatric age in hospitals, SNFs, etc for a while now. I've always been fascinated with the role that SLP's do when it comes to this population in regards to stroke/TBI, dementia, swallowing disorders and so on.

However, one of the things that scares me is working with patients who have swallowing disorders (which is a lot). I'm very interested in it but I'm also scared because one mistake can lead to serious life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia. I've read this causes a lot of stress for SLP's and while I'm energetic about working with this population and their disorders, I keep envisioning of one day making a fatal mistake.

Again, I'm just starting grad school in a couple weeks so I know I'm about to be educated on dysphagia and everything that encompasses it. My question is, is this normal for someone to be a little freaked out about? For those who work with adult patients, have you ever had this fear before? Thank you!
I wouldn't worry too much. You'll learn more about dysphagia in school, but I doubt you'll make a *fatal* mistake. You're going into the situation informed and things like aspiration pneumonia take time to develop anyway. I was way conservative with patient's when I first started, for the same reasons as you listed, but there are some who feel we are *too* conservative with many of our dysphagia patients. I still feel a bit overly cautious and I've been working with this population for 6 years. You'll know more than you could've fathomed soon enough!!!
I think everyone has a different level of comfort with it, but you won't really know until you start doing it. I never really got used to swallowing, and always found it stressful for the reasons that you listed. I know some people that love it. If you don't end up feeling really comfortable with swallowing, there are plenty of other areas that you can work in.
As a student, you won't be able to make any calls about patients without your supervisor giving you the go ahead. So at least while you're in grad school, you don't have to worry too much. Of course you want to practice making a diagnosis and recommendations as if you don't have that safety net, but it takes a really long time to develop confidence with it. I just finished grad school, and I'm definitely not confident with it. And like one of the other commenters said, it takes a while to develop pneumonia from aspiration. It's not as immediate as it is sometimes made to seem.
Thanks for the feedback, folks. Seems like I'm not alone in this which makes me feel a little better and that I'll need as much practice as possible during grad school!