An appreciation of life ... and a desire to help others
A recipient of the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) scholarship who is studying speech therapy said working at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital has given her a greater appreciation of life.
Britanni Fubler, 24, received $20,000 from the BHB to continue studying for her Master's degree in speech therapy at the University of Sheffield in England. She already has an undergraduate degree in linguistics and has lectured in Bermuda on the Bermudian dialect.
“After I took a few linguistics courses, I wanted to look more into it, and discovered speech therapy,” she said.
As part of her training, she has worked at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital helping patients who had suffered from strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
“I am looking forward to working at the hospital when I come back,” she said. “In the past, most of the work I have done was with children in preschools. Working with adults will be a challenge. The majority of patients that I would see at the hospital would be stroke patients and then some traumatic brain injury patients. It depends on where the injury or stroke was in the brain. Many of these patients do make a lot of gains. It all depends on the individual as to how far they recover.”
She said working with these patients has opened her eyes to the true fragility of life.
“Strokes happen in a moment,” she said. “You don't know when they will happen. You go from being able to do everything to being very limited. Sometimes your body is even paralysed from the stroke. That was the hardest thing for me, realising that these people were normal yesterday, and now they have this disability. That motivates me to do the best I can to help them.
“It does change the way that I look at life. I often take so much for granted, simple things, like being able to swallow. A lot of people can't do that after a stroke or brain injury. I am lucky to be able to eat when and what I want and drink when and what I want.”
Miss Fubler said speech therapists do a service to the entire community, and she is looking forward to adding her skills to what is being offered.
“I want to learn how more recent resources, like technology, can be used effectively for both adults and children,” she said.
Miss Fubler studied Portuguese in her undergraduate years. She even spent a summer in the Azores in a language immersion programme. She is looking forward to being able to help Portuguese speakers in Bermuda.
“I loved my time in the Azores,” she said. “It looked like Bermuda must have looked 60 years ago or so. The culture was amazing. I loved it there. I learned so much more in that month than in the two years I was in school.”
She said she was really looking forward to coming home and working in Bermuda.
“I have been away for awhile, since I was 13,” she said. “I have loved every moment of my overseas education, but I am really ready to come home. I love Bermuda and don't want to spend any more time away.”