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Wesley Lor

Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology
Organization
Position Title
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Conducting various types of assessments ranging from drug and alcohol testing to physical assessments for police recruits has helped to vastly expand my understanding of occupational testing. The more hectic days at the clinic definitely put my time management and communication skills to the test, but have benefited greatly as a result.
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Year
2021
Application and Interview Tips
  • Research the company you are applying for! This tip goes for any interview you are offered - it shows the employer that you are dedicated to your work and are actually interested in the position you are going for.  Being able to talk about the company and how it aligns with your values indicates to the employer that you may be a good fit.  
  • Practice the interview process with somebody who's been through it before.  This may be especially helpful for first-timers; having somebody go through it with you before your actual interview may help steel your nerves and give you an idea of what it'll be like to sit in a room with potentially more than one interviewer.  It may be awkward if you're friends, but over time and with practice it will get easier.
  • During the interview, take your time.  It's okay to ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you didn't quite understand, or if you want a buffer time to compose your answer.  You can take a few seconds before you answer a question if you need to as well.  It suggests to the employer that you are composed and prepared, as well as professional.  It may be especially important to display good verbal communication skills in an interview for a job that requires a lot of talking.  Being a student kinesiologist at ProMedicals involves conveying information and instructions clearly to many individuals a day, so honing this is paramount.  
Preparation
Previous Experience

Prior to this co-op, I had minimal experience working in a clinic environment; much less in an occupational testing clinic.  What I had learned in courses thus far had only prepared me very superficially for the content of the co-op.  

Preparation

As soon as I realized my acceptance into ProMedicals, I did my best to refresh myself on basic anatomy, as I felt that would help accelerate the learning process, specifically with the physical assessment portions.  Understanding why you are doing what you are doing only helps you perform that action or task to a higher standard.  Otherwise, I honestly did not know what to expect from this co-op, so I didn't exactly know how else to prepare.  

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

Right before I was contracted to begin my time at ProMedicals, I was brought in to the clinic to shadow the supervisor as well as the current student kinesiologist, so as to make the transition into full-time work there slightly easier.  As soon as I officially started working there though, I was pretty much immediately thrown into the fire.  My first day was jam-packed full of appointments: drug and alcohol screening back-to-back, as well as three police appointments, of which our portion takes approximately 1-1.5 hours to complete, physical assessment and all.  Needless to say, I was quite overwhelmed!  However, my supervisor and the preceding student kinesiologist were extremely helpful and supportive in showing me the ropes, answering any questions I had and discussing goals, concerns, and feedback.  After the first few weeks, I was really able to get my bearings and become accustomed to the pace and environment of the clinic.  

Day to Day

I arrive at the clinic and set my belongings down, then get settled in.  I check to see if there are any patients that have arrived for their appointment.  Otherwise, I briefly scan the schedule to check how the day will go, and decide how my supervisor and I will split up the day.  I also check the next day's schedule, and begin to prepare the paperwork for the next day whenever I have time throughout the day.  I will routinely check the next day's schedule throughout the day, as sometimes appointments can pop up even a day before, and after I have finished preparing everything.  Otherwise, it's mainly just conducting appointments, primarily urine drug screens and alcohol tests with some occupational testing (vision, audio) peppered in between. 

At the end of the day, a pickup driver will come and collect all the urine samples that need to be sent off to a lab to be tested.  If there are more drug screen appointments after the driver arrives, then those samples will be stored in a laboratory refrigerator and sent off the next day.   

Learning and Adaptation

Initially, the learning curve was relatively steep.  There were a lot of new skills and tasks to learn: collecting urine samples for drug screens and testing them, conducting breath alcohol tests, collecting an accurate ECG reading, etc. Over a short time, experience combined with ample support from my supervisor resulted in me comfortably operating independently.  Some tasks took more time to familiarize myself with than others e.g. police appointments and ECG's.  These required more time with shadowing and practice, but I found myself picking everything up relatively quickly and smoothly. 

Additionally, busy schedules (which were relatively often) warranted a pickup in pace, efficiency, and communication.  It is important to be prepared, because depending on which semester you start, you may have to hit the ground running!  But don't be discouraged, there is always a strong support system in place for you to fall back on if things get too hectic.  It was through consistent feedback and discussion with my supervisor that I was able to adapt quickly to the hustle and bustle of the clinic. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

I found that my biggest accomplishment and greatest challenge was being able to conduct a police physical completely independently.  We spend the most time with these recruits, and nailing the delivery of instructions as well as understanding how the scoring works for the actions that the recruits are required to do, took quite some practice as well as shadowing and feedback.  For example, the recruits have to undergo the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) which tests how individuals perform fundamental movements in a natural way.  With this in mind, it's important to know what you can correct and what you can't.  There were so many small components to being able to carry out a physical assessment smoothly, that it took me a few months in order to totally get the hang of it. 

An important part of all this that I learned was that taking your time with what you say helps tremendously.  In delivering the instructions smoothly and clearly, the recruit is able to follow along easily as well as be at ease in what might be a stressful situation for them.  Ultimately, being able to carry out the police medicals independently became very gratifying as it almost felt like a rite of passage, in a way.  

Wrap Up

In my time at ProMedicals, I definitely amassed a wealth of experience.  The clinic offered a multitude of opportunities to hone my existing skills and cultivate new ones, that can be utilized in future academic or work experience.  The staff have been endlessly supportive and welcoming, which contributed heavily to my enjoyment during my time there.  If you are looking for a placement that will help you sharpen your transferable and technical skills, as well as offer a place of individual growth, then ProMedicals is an option to consider.