A lot of first time co-op students opt for an easier start to their co-op career and might try to find a position that requires little experience. Such was not the case with my first co-op placement at RebalanceMD; being on the cutting-edge of the healthcare industry, RebalanceMD was an experience that has shaped my future outlook on my career path and has re-invigorated my passion to help those in pain, but it did not come without many challenges.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
My first day at RebalanceMD was a whirlwind, to say the least. Luckily I showed up 15 minutes early and was able to go through a bit of what was required of me in my new position as a Student Kinesiologist. I was immediately given the duty of helping to run a post-operative program for total hip and knee replacements in conjunction with Island Health. With little experience in these types of surgery and the vast amount of skill and effort required to run a person through the rehab required, the task before me was quite daunting. This is where I put my years of personal rehab experience to work!
Having been through a major reconstructive hip surgery myself, I included my story in a lot of my interactions with new patients. This had been one of my goals going into the co-op and it worked wonders. The moment I mentioned my story, a grumpier patient would suddenly be all ears to my advice on how to get the best out of their newly replaced joint and I had gained the most important thing: their trust. Many of my patients became friends and there were many times that I took a patient from hopeless tears to a smile of hope in just one session. When I knew I had made even a small change to the amelioration of someone’s quality of life it was very rewarding feeling.
The Skill of Adaptation
The first couple of weeks were a steep learning curve, but after close observation of my head Kinesiologist in action, a lot of one-on-one meetings with my head Physiotherapist, and a daily self-review of how to incorporate my own clinical experiences into my practice, I began to make a big impact on the program’s success. Adapting my style of patient care to each different client, and what his or her specific circumstance may be, became a crucial skill of mine that I worked on everyday to perfect. It quickly became apparent that the ability to adapt is one of the most fundamental skills of being a good healthcare worker.
In the end, on top of all the great things I got out of my co-op, such as increasing my scientific knowledge, learning many applicable skills, and adding a great reference to my resume, the best thing about my co-op was the deep connections I made with patients and co-workers. On the last day of my co-op, I had a total knee replacement patient of mine bring in a homemade blueberry pie as a way of thanking me. The amount of time and effort it would have required for them to make that single pie was something that truly moved me and left a lasting effect on my passion to re-invent the way that healthcare is run and I know that my future in physical therapy is a bright one.
Beyond the Blog
Head on over to the BPK co-op site to learn more about the co-op program!