Skip to main content
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology
SFU Co-op Student

empty
Wax transfers of medical drawings. The diagrams are from the Grey’s Anatomy medical book
Credit
Joyce McCown on Unsplash
What does exceptional customer service look like? I once went down to the sidewalks to add more money for a patient’s parking meter. The sincere gratitude from the patient really made my day!

Kelvin Physiotherapy Clinic is a privately owned clinic. It consists of 15 staff members of kinesiologists and medical office assistants (not including the 2 physiotherapists and the office manager). Usually, there are 2-3 office assistants and 1-2 kinesiologists during each shift. The clinic is separated into 3 sections: the gym area, front desk and treatment area. The clinic is located in a building that provides an awesome view (pictured above). 

My Duties: Front Desk

My official title at the clinic was Medical Office Assistant. At the front desk, I did a lot of secretarial duties: answered the phones, took messages, booked and cancelled patients’ appointments, took payment, prepared files, faxed documents, called doctor offices and hospitals for reports, filed files, and, my favourite, called patients to remind them of their appointments.

In this position, I learned how to multi-task. For example, there was one time when 3 patients came in together and the phones were ringing. I was on the phone rescheduling a patient’s appointment while finding the 3 patients’ files, asking them to sign in, and taking their payments. To be efficient in the clinic, you need to know how to multi-task.  One day, I would like to improve my multitasking skills to be at the level of some of the people I work with.  For instance, my supervisor can write a report, listen to the physiotherapist and talk to a patient at the same time. Multi-tasking is key in the medical world! 

My Duties: Patient Care

Besides doing secretarial tasks, I was trained in “Patient Care”. In this role, I was the middleman between the patients and the physiotherapists. When the physiotherapists think that a patient needs electrotherapy, muscle stimulation, shockwave or traction treatments, I was the one that set up the machines, released the patients from them when they were done, and cleaned the machines after usage. For ice and heat treatments, I applied those treatments directly onto the patients based on the physiotherapists’ instructions. In this role I also organized and directed where patients went for their treatments, cleaned treatment tables after treatments for hygiene purposes, made sure patients did not fall or faint after their treatments, and ensured that the patients were comfortable (I made sure a box of tissues were available after a painful treatment).

From this position, I learned how to be observant. I learned to ask myself questions like:

  • Does the patient look pale after the treatment and complain of dizziness? If “yes”, I would quickly go into minor emergency mode to make sure the patient does not faint.    
  • Is the patient pregnant or did she recently give birth? If “yes”, I would need to prepare the treatment table to avoid unnecessary complications with the pregnancy or to the mother.
  • Does the patient feel cold in the office? If “yes”, I would turn down the air conditioning and provide a blanket.
  • Does the patient look bored? If “yes”, I would offer them reading materials.

This position gave me the opportunity to interact with patients quite often, which meant that I needed to provide exceptional customer service. What does exceptional customer service look like?  I once went down to the sidewalks to add more money for a patient’s parking meter. The sincere gratitude from the patient really made my day! 

Miscellaneous Duties

I was the unofficial gardener’s assistant. There were many plants in the clinic and I was in charge of watering and giving them fertilizers.

The usual cleaning crew did not work on Saturdays. Therefore, I was in charge of cleaning out all the garbage in the clinic.     

What I Have Learned

Working in the clinic has been stressful but I enjoyed working with my coworkers and getting to know some of the patients. The skills that I have developed during my time there, like multitasking and customer service skills will carry through to my future placements and careers. I have discovered what I liked and disliked from working in the physiotherapy clinic, and will keep this knowledge in mind when applying for future positions.

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Joanne on Linkedin.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Five people fist bumping over an office desk
How to Mess Up at Work and Not Get Fired

Is messing up at work one of your greatest fears that keeps you up at night? Taylor talks about how to deal with mistakes in the workplace. The end of the world can eventually turn into a valuable experience worthy of mentioning in your resume.

Rochelle presenting at the podium with a huge projector screen behind her
The Journey to Establishing a Non-Profit Organization with eCoop

Rochelle describes what her journey has been as a startup founder for the non-profit organization, SPARK Foundation. Check out what she has to say about where the origins of the social enterprise came from and where they are headed in the future.

Girl smiling with a landscape background
Five Ways That Co-op Helped Me Build My Self-Confidence

Having self-confidence has consistently been a goal of mine to achieve. And for a long time, I would get scared at the thought of pursuing Co-op positions as I thought that it would surely make me feel less confident about myself. But little did I know, my experiences in Co-op have been one of the biggest factors in building my self-confidence.