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Rand Wang

He / Him
SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences › Population and Public Health
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Organization
My 8 months of working with Fraser Health Falls Prevention has provided me valuable insight into both health promotion and community work settings.
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Summer
Year
2023
Skills
Application and Interview Tips

Apply for jobs that you are genuinely passionate about and that you can see yourself enjoying! 

  • 8 months is a long time, and the connections you make during your co-op are extremely valuable so choose wisely.

Don't be afraid of writing that cover letter! 

  • I remember dreading writing a cover letter because my first few would take over 5 hours for me to complete. However, as I got used to writing cover letters, I could finish a letter in an hour.
  • Furthermore, putting your assets into words will help you during interviews when employers ask you for a pitch or other questions that require you to elaborate on previous experiences.
Introduction + Preparation

Prior to my interviews, I made sure to practice answering potential questions using the interview practice modules from the coop canvas course. In addition, I also practiced by talking in front of a mirror or in front of family members to mimic the format of an online interview 

I also ensured to thoroughly read over the job descriptions of each position I applied to in order to not only ensure I was applying for an exciting job but to also ensure I knew how to answer interview questions with reference to specific job responsibilities. 

Previous Experience

Similar to most students my age, my work background is primarily in customer service settings. I've worked in a variety of positions including in fast food service, as a restaurant employee, and coaching. Although the skills I gained from these experiences didn't directly apply to my co-op position, the soft skills I gathered throughout my past experiences definitely set me up for success for the required tasks in this co-op position (i.e. respectful customer service, coaching patients through exercise, staying organized).

Proprioception testing at the falls prevention clinic
Proprioception testing at the falls prevention clinic
During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

Prior to my work term starting I spent two days unofficially working at the clinic with the previous co-op student so I already had a general sense of the position when I officially started on my first day. Once I formally started my position, I spent my first week working directly with the previous student who taught me everything I needed to know about the job. I will say that my onboarding experience was slightly different from what it typically is with other students who've worked in this position. This is because during the time I was being onboarded, our new coordinator was also being onboarded, therefore adding a bit of extra ambiguity to my training and learning. Regardless, I would still consider my orientation and first couple of weeks of work to be a relatively smooth sailing process.

Day to Day

The work for my position revolves primarily around the schedule of our weekly fall prevention clinics. This involves scheduling patients, charting data from patients over the phone, and following up with patients post-clinic. On the one day a week when I am at the clinic, I am in charge of running a kinesiology station where I administer a variety of tests to determine a falls risk report for each patient we see on the day. 

Learning and Adaptation

A big learning curve that I overcame in the early months of this co-op was learning how to speak and talk to older adults, especially those who have hearing impairments. A strategy I adopted was learning how to annunciate and slow down my speech and my voice. I actually found this strategy to be more useful than speaking louder because I found that sometimes a loud tone of voice can come off relatively intimidating. 

 

Cultural and Environmental Observations

An observation that I've witnessed over the span of my 8 months has been the lack of visible minority patients who are willing and interested in attending our fall prevention clinics. While there certainly isn't a lack of racial minority clients being referred to us, especially in Surrey, I've noticed that there is a significant lack of interest among racial minority clients in actually attending the clinic. I've also observed that the majority of racial minority clients are referred to us through their hospital's emergency department due to a presumable fall or injury. Therefore, this lack of interest in outpatient services makes me wonder if there are certain cultural factors that influence an individual's judgement on the effectiveness of outpatient services. 

Personally, as a child of first-generation immigrants, I know from experience that outpatient services are not offered in all countries worldwide. Thus, I wonder if the non-existence of these services in one's home country can influence their ability to perceive the benefits of said services in their new country. 

These observations have made me very curious and keen on learning more about immigrant health and potentially working with immigrant health services in the future. 

Social and Extracurricular Activities

One of my favourite parts of my co-op experience has been the opportunity to pursue social and extracurricular activities alongside my nine-to-five work life. Most notably, I was able to pick up going to the gym as a hobby while also continuing with my social activities of hanging out with friends. As a result, I was able to establish a healthy work-life balance in light of my extra-curricular activities. 

Reflection & Tips
Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

The most valuable aspect I've been able to take away from this experience has been understanding the different pieces that make up a health authority and being able to make an impact myself on communities all over the region. Most notably, hearing how our work at the fall prevention clinic has benefited and improved someone's quality of life was incredibly rewarding and extremely special to be a part of. I remember a particular instance recently when a client returned to the clinic to do some retesting and we saw not only how much his test results improved but he was also entirely mobile and independent again, whereas the last time we saw him he was entirely dependent on his caretaker and his walker. 

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

Seeing how different communities and people in the province access and view health during my experience in this position has brought to my attention the gaps in healthcare access with different communities and people. That being said, this experience has definitely solidified my passion for health promotion and public policy where I hope to be a part of working toward an equitable healthcare system. 

Advice for Future Students

If I were to relive the past 8 months all over again I would tell myself to relax a little. I remember being so incredibly nervous for my first day of work that I could barely sleep the night before. Looking back at my experience, I realize that there really wasn't too much to be nervous about. Therefore, if I were to give one piece of advice to future students, it would be to relax a little about doing everything perfectly and give yourself the opportunity to make mistakes and grow from them. 

Author

Rand Wang

He / Him
SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences › Population and Public Health
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op
visibility  251
Nov 7, 2023