"Um, I know why your oxygen saturation is low... your oxygen tank is off..."

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It's been four years since I stepped foot into UMass-Lowell's Exercise Physiology program.  Four years ago, I did not know where the ulnar collateral ligament on the elbow was, nor did I know where the Recreational Center was.  Now I feel more knowledgeable, like the big man on campus.  It feels like senior year of high school. 

It's true that I've mentioned in my other blogs that I still haven't felt like the big man on campus or feel like I'm going anywhere.  I guess I feel like that because I never motivated myself to capture the opportunities for further learning or dared to apply what I learned to everyday things.  But ever since I've entered the Practicum portion of the Exercise Physiology program, I feel like I finally placed all my knowledge into something more practical (duh, that's why it's called a practicum).  Basically, a practicum is like an internship.  You can pick a site from list, which consists of research facilities, cardiac and/or pulmonary rehab clinics, athletic centers, gyms, and nursing homes.  The greatest thing about this is your choice of sites and the ability to create a site if none of those places interest you.  One of my classmates is working at a facility that supposedly trains the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics, and she is having the time of her life. 

My Exercise Physiology Practicum site is a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation facility.  The reason why I picked this site over an athletic center is the fact that I want to have experience as an actual Exercise Physiologist.  Many people would pick an athletic center over a site like this because they don't like the hospital setting or they can't do an exercise blood pressure (which truthfully can be a pain the butt)!  Another reason why I chose it was my interest of the "works" of the heart and lungs, and how diseases lessen its function and overall affects the body in a negative matter.  It's amazing how "bad" unhealthy habits contribute to heart, lung, and peripheral diseases...

So far, my experience is great.  First of all, the staff is amazing.  They are extremely helpful in trying to give me the full blown exercise physiologist's experience.  Another thing about them is their humor.  I've never met a group of professionals who would joke around with the patients in an appropriate and professional matter.  Oh man, the exercise physiologist over there is a riot.  His personality definitely lightens up everyone's day at the clinic.  When I first started, I thought that place would be "depressed city" due to the fact that many people are often "down" when they know they have a disease.  But it was the total opposite.  Everyone is laughing, sharing Red Sox stories with one another, talking about their family, and making fun of each other.  No wonder many patients have been attending rehab for 20 years! 

What's even better is my observation opportunities.  The clinic gave me a list of procedures that I am required to observe.  This includes an exercise stress test, pulmonary and cardiac entrance, an echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization.  Trust me, observing all those sites were amazing and very interesting!  I got to see how certain procedures work, how the staff works as a team, and how they interact with the patients so they can be nice and calm.  I honestly think that's the best part of the experience.

Unfortunately I have seven practicum days left... The semester was way too fast to grasp!  But I can say that I did enjoy my time at the cardiac pulmonary rehab.  As an exercise physiology student, this is something to look forward to!  It makes you feel like a true professional in the rehab setting, gym, training facility, research facility, and many more.  It will help you gain the experiences for future jobs.  Wow, I bet you want to be in my position... don't be jealous :-)

- Christian

 

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This page contains a single entry by Tiongson, Christian J published on April 18, 2009 7:35 AM.

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