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Margaret Chang

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology

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Austin Schmid on Unsplash
Do not be afraid to communicate your true passions to the people around you because you never know where it will take you!

Working at the CBI Health Clinic has certainly been a once in a life time experience. Taking on the challenge of working in a clinical environment that I was unfamiliar with has shown me skills I didn’t realize I possessed. In gaining these skills, it helped keep me on board for an unexpected second term of co-op with a new position and new experiences.

When I initially accepted this position as a student kinesiologist with CBI Health, I was very unsure how well I would perform in this job, and whether I would even like the position. All my past experience has revolved around teaching children in a pool.

CBI Health Clinic is a multidisciplinary clinic that consists of a number of different practitioners. Most of the clients in this program were injured at work and were referred to the clinic to rehabilitate them to be able to return to work again. 

My First Co-op Term

My first four months working as a student kinesiologist was an amazing learning experience. The team of staff members who I worked closely with supported me in training for the position. They were always available to answer any questions I had. In no time, I was independently teaching a number of exercise classes from hydro rehabilitation classes at the pool, to stretch or core classes in the clinic.  Eventually I was administering physical assessments, creating individualized exercise programs, and closely monitoring and processing each client's programs throughout their rehabilitation experience at the clinic. 

As much as I enjoyed my kinesiologist position, I was curious to learn about the other half of the rehab process, the treatment portion. I began staying after my working hours to shadow the physiotherapists and observe the treatment process that the clients received.

On the day my co-op advisor came for the “Work term job site visit”, she asked my supervisor if I would be staying for another four-month term. Originally, my supervisor had not thought of it because CBI Health had just hired a permanent kinesiologist.  Because I showed an interest in staying, my supervisor and the physiotherapist, who I shadowed, discussed a role I could take on to keep me on board. In that discussion, they created a new position and hired me back on as a Physiotherapist Support Worker! This exponentially expanded my co-op experience.

My Second  Co-op Term

In this position, with very close supervision from the physiotherapists, I learned how to use modalities on clients with specific settings given by the therapist, and perform stretches and soft tissue massages on the clients.

What began as a wary decision, where I was worried about not having the skillset for the job, became an open door to a confident carrier path. Good communication was the key attribute that carried me into an unexpected extra term of co-op. Simply being social, yet hardworking made all the difference for the staff to be confident in what I was doing with their clients, as well as the clients trusting me. They saw that I was very motivated and had a great interest in the work practiced. This was very encouraging to know, because it helped me confirm that I wanted to venture towards physiotherapy as a career.

Throughout the eight months working at CBI Health Clinic, I became well acquainted with the staff members. They now know me as a hard-working, and friendly person that they would like to keep around. I feel more confident knowing that after I finish my schooling, there are a number of professionals who would love to be my reference or even hire me as an employee. In addition, the administrator of CBI health Abbotsford also approached me and said she would love to reference me to work in any of the CBI health locations closer to my hometown when I am done school. 

Keeping all possibilities open and preventing obstacles from diminishing your experience can really magnify your co-op experience. Do not be afraid to communicate your true passions to the people around you because you never know where it will take you!

Beyond the Blog

  • Head on over to the BPK co-op site to learn more about the co-op program! 

About the Author

Margaret Chang

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology

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