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Katherine Alexi Reyes

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology

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The author working with a physiotherapy patient
[M]y experience as a Therapy Assistant has been joyful and fulfilling because it gives me the happiness one can only have from doing good for others and thereby making a positive difference in the world.

The Extraversion to Introversion Spectrum

“You can’t be an introvert”! A friend of mine said in disbelief after I told her I wasn’t an extravert – a person that seems to be more energized by external stimuli. An introvert on the other hand is a person that seems to be more energized by internal stimuli (Jung, 1921). Many individuals (including myself a few years ago) think one can only be exclusively extroverted or exclusively introverted. After more experience and research however, it is more accurate to think of this personality trait as a spectrum with extraversion on one end and introversion on the other. All individuals fall along different points (Schmidt, 2016). On the spectrum, I fall on the introverted side close to the middle, which is why I can be a social butterfly one night but desperately need to be a hermit the next day. 

“What Do You Want to Do After You Graduate?”

Over the course of my education at SFU, I have been trying to find the answer to this question myself. I always knew that I wanted to help people, but I didn’t quite know how.

My first co-op experience at The Right Shoe allowed me to realize that I enjoy interacting with people directly in person rather than indirectly. There’s something satisfying about personal encounters, making rapport with customers and patients, as well as being able to help them recover from their pain firsthand. Thus, I realized working over the phone, in research, or in any job where I would be unable to be wholly present with the person I’d be helping would therefore be unsatisfying and even frustrating. Through The Right Shoe, I also learned that although I love helping others, I also burn out and need some alone time to recharge. Near the end of a busy full day at work, my mind feels overstimulated, and even though I desire to continue helping people, my introverted side requires me to take a step back before I can do so.

During my time seeking for my second co-op work term, I wondered what kinds of jobs out there could make both my extraverted and introverted sides happy. Is there even a job that has a balance of both components that would allow me to thrive? When I was applying to TeamWell Health, I didn’t have many expectations, and surely didn’t expect that the job would be the perfect fit for me now.

TeamWell Health: Background

TeamWell Health is a multidisciplinary clinic owned by Dr. Eric Jang, DC, an SFU Kinesiology and Co-operative Education Program graduate and CMCC graduate. There are currently three different clinic locations: Burnaby, Surrey, and Richmond. All three clinics are closely affiliated with a medical clinic as he believes that working as a team by collaborating and communicating with a patients’ medical doctor provides the best comprehensive care for recovery and wellness. The clinics combined provide chiropractic therapy, custom orthotics, naturopathic therapy, acupuncture, and registered massage therapy. I currently work a double role primarily in the Burnaby location as both a Therapy and Administrative Assistant.  

Therapy Assistant: A Fulfilling Occupation

Throughout the day, I assist Dr. Eric in treating patients. I welcome the patients into the treatment rooms, make them feel comfortable, and catch up with them. Sometimes, I continue treating the patient with electrotherapy, heat, and soft tissue therapy. Knowing how the patient has been doing is important because it allows me to target where to apply interferential current and heat, and then where to emphasize soft tissue therapy. After treatment, I assist in inputting all the information I have received in SOAP notation on the patient’s electronic medical record for Dr. Eric to review and sign.

Although it has already been four months since I have started working, I feel as though there is more to learn. First, as chiropractic therapy also includes the practice of making custom orthotics, I have started assisting in casting and scanning patient’s feet for the lab to make the orthotics. Another goal is to start demonstrating and prescribing exercises to patients. Overall, my experience as a Therapy Assistant has been joyful and fulfilling because it gives me the happiness one can only have from doing good for others and thereby making a positive difference in the world (Spitzer, 2011).

Administrative Assistant: Don’t Forget to Run the Practice

My main station at TeamWell Health is the front desk. My tasks here include, but are not limited to: greeting patients and managing the flow of their intake, answering the phone and e-mails, booking appointments, tracking and packaging orthotics for shipping, accounting, filing, housekeeping, and finally paperwork, lots of paperwork.

Although these responsibilities seem menial, they require great attention to detail, multi-tasking, and resourcefulness. Upon first glance, these tasks may not seem super exciting, but experiencing them for myself proved to be quite the opposite. After learning and becoming familiar with these responsibilities, they have become the ideal space for me to be alone and recharge while doing other, more mechanical work. Most of the therapists I have encountered claim to dislike paperwork, so I was surprised to realize that I actually liked it. As an Administrative Assistant, I have gained valuable experience and insights on all the logistical aspects of running a practice that I would not learn by simply going to school.

Final Thoughts

All in all, my co-op experiences have affirmed my passion for physiology and kinesiology. My second and current co-op job has given me invaluable experience and has been critical in my discernment to pursue a career as a chiropractor. It is definitely my pleasure and delight to continue working at TeamWell Health for these two co-op semesters.

In first year, I used to dread when people would ask me what I wanted to do after graduating because I literally had no idea. I was unsure that I could find a successful career with my Kinesiology major that would suit both sides of my personality, but working with TeamWell Health has erased those doubts. Now in my fourth year, I am incredibly grateful for the BPK Co-operative Education program, The Right Shoe, and last but not least, TeamWell Health for all of the opportunities, advice, and support. My extroverted introvert self is happy, at peace, and excited for what the future holds.

References

Jung, C. G. (1921). Psychological Types.

Schmidt, S. J. (2016). Personality Diversity: Extrovert and Introvert Temperaments. Journal of Food Science Education, 73-74. doi:10.1111/1541-4329.12091

Spitzer, R. J., S.J. (2011). Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues. San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press.

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Katherine Alexi Reyes

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology
Connect with Katherine Alexi Reyes on LinkedIn!

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While Katherine was seeking for her second co-op, she ofter wondered: "what kinds of jobs out there could make both my extraverted and introverted sides happy? Is there even a job that has a balance of both components that would allow me to thrive?" When applying to TeamWell Health, Katherine didn’t have many expectations, and surely did not expect that the job would be the perfect fit.

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