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Brianna Larsen

SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences › Chronic & Infectious Diseases
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Nothing is scarier than your first day on the job in a field where you have no experience at all. At least that’s what I thought, before I started my first day at Hodgson Orthopedic Group. With the bulk of my prior work experience being in retail and customer service, I had no idea what to expect when it came to the world of Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O). Scrolling through the company website before my position began, I was concerned that the only words I was familiar with were ‘Foot Orthotics’ in an article describing the services that Hodgson provided. Cranial Remolding Orthosis? Scoliosis Bracing? Ankle Foot Orthoses? The list went on and on… How would I remember all these device types?

As I talked to my coworkers at the beginning of my very first day, I quickly realized that I was not the only one that was oblivious to the various P&O device types before starting my position. Around half of the current employees hadn’t worked in the field before starting at Hodgson, just like me. My nerves faded, and I threw myself into expanding what I knew, rather than focusing on what I didn't. It turned out, as with every new experience that I have accepted in life, that I would learn as I went. Though I had no experience in this field, transferable skills that I had picked up at jobs with no relation assisted me to easily adapt to this new environment. I became comfortable with my day-to-day tasks, while still learning more and more about Orthotics and Prosthetics every day of my eight month co-op. Before I knew it, I was answering questions without thinking twice, picking up the phone calls without questioning my knowledge first, and training a new co-op on procedures that I didn’t even know existed four months prior.

As I am now nearing the end of my position, I frequently look back on how far I have come and how much I have learned since that nerve-wracking first day. While new-to-you, unexplored fields can be intimidating and frightening, opportunities in them can often be the most enriching, growth-promoting experiences of your life. This position has opened my eyes to a whole new world of career possibilities, and has shown me that there is often much more out there to explore than the small percentage of opportunities that we are exposed to early in life.