Staff Spotlight: Meredith Nye, MS, CCC-SLP
This week’s “spotlight” interview shines on Meredith Nye, CCC-SLP, MS, a 10-year veteran of the Duke Movement Disorders Clinic. As a speech pathologist, Nye provides education, strategies, counseling, and hope helping to movement disorders patients, helping them to cope with and work through symptoms that affect their speech, eating, and swallowing. Nye talks to us about working with patients to set and meet goals, how technology and evidence-based medicine has made a difference for patients dealing with their symptoms, and about playing the violin at weddings and in a bluegrass band when she’s not at Duke.
What are your responsibilities within the Duke Movement Disorders Clinic? What does a typical day for you look like?
I have worked with the Duke Movement Disorders Clinic for over 10 years. Currently, I evaluate patients through the Interdisciplinary Parkinson's Disease Benchmark Clinic held at the Neurology Clinic on Thursdays. I also evaluate and treat patients at Clinic 1-L in Durham and at Duke Health Holly Springs.
What difficulties relating to speech pathology are most common among patients with movement disorders? How can your work help these patients?
Speech and swallowing issues are common problems among people with Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's plus syndromes, ataxia, and other movement disorders. Speech-language pathologists work with patients to improve communication and swallowing skills by proving education, identifying helpful strategies, and recommending appropriate exercise for the muscles of speech and swallowing. We also work with patients who are experiencing cognitive-communication problems such as word-finding and processing speed. We provide strategies, education, counseling and hope for patients and their families.
How did you decide to become a speech pathologist?
I knew I wanted to work as a therapist in some capacity. I thought about physical therapy and psychology and eventually landed on speech pathology. It was definitely the best fit for me!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love working with my patients to set and reach their goals. It's the best part of my job. I love providing encouragement and helping my patients recognize their successes no matter how small they might seem. I also love being a part of interdisciplinary team care because I am constantly learning from my colleagues in other disciplines.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
How has your work changed over the past 10 years? What changes in the way we treat patients with movement disorders do you see in the next decade?
The number of evidence-based options for therapy has grown. Where LSVT-LOUD used to be one of the only evidence-based models for speech treatment for patients with PD, we now have even more research-based treatment options including Speak Out! therapy and respiratory muscle training. Additionally, we are incorporating more quality-of-life measures as well as cognitive aspects of communication into our treatment plans. Technology has also improved access to alternative and augmentative communication strategies such as text-to-speech apps. I think that over the next decade we will be able to reach more people living with movement disorders via tele-health services, especially those people who are homebound or living in rural areas.
What passions or hobbies do you have outside of Duke?
I play the violin. I started when I was 3 1/2 years old. My sister and I play at weddings and I'm also in a bluegrass band. My 6 year old daughter just started taking lessons as well!
Nye and her daughter enjoy a basketball game at NC State.
In this photo, Nye and family enjoy a summer vacation at Ocracoke.