2020 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Over the course of my internship at K6 wellness, I was able to fully transition from being a client to an intern. With this transition, my eyes were opened to what actually happens behind the scenes and what it takes to run a business. During my internship, I performed an array of duties. While some duties I expected, others I did not. Whether the task at hand was simple or complex, I still learned something from it. The three main experiences I have chosen to discuss are learning how to understand the NURTISPEC system, dealing with clients that were very ill or depressed, and the importance of doing dirty work. These 3 experiences varied in what they required of me but were all notable experiences that I was able to learn from.
A impactful experience was witnessing multiple appointments in which Sharon had to interact with clients who were either very ill or had essentially lost all hope and were very depressed. I remember that on my first day of taking notes for Sharon during appointments, we saw three absolutely heartbreaking cases. The first woman we saw had just lost her husband to a traumatic case of cancer and had a strange tumor growing in her mouth that if cut out, would likely cease her ability to speak ever again. The next woman we saw was a nurse at a hospital who was so sick and had so much anxiety that she couldn’t eat. The last sad case we had for the day consisted of a woman who was only about 40 but was so sick with a mystery illness that she could not even get out of bed or walk without being in excruciating pain and said that “she wished she could be euthanized”. While these 3 cases were very different, Sharon handled them all very similarly. Sharon told these women that she was there for them as little or as much as they needed her to be and showed an extreme amount of empathy towards them and their situation. I sat there feeling very sad for these women, as I typically tend to take on the emotions of others and wondered if it is this emotionally draining every day. As time went on and I saw more people. I realized that not every day is a sad day and that you have to learn to not internalize the sad cases you do see. This experience taught me that you cannot completely fix or help everyone, no matter how much you’d like to and that all you can do is help someone as much as possible and support them.
While interning at K6 Wellness, I learned many valuable lessons. Since this was the first internship I have ever had, I was really nervous for it and felt that I had a lot to learn. Over the course of my internship, I learned that being close with your coworkers improves the work environment, that I should never doubt myself, that I enjoy working a lot more than school and that maintaining relationships with clients is crucial. K6 Wellness has a particularly unique dynamic, as it is a family run business. In fact, the name of the business stems from their last name, Krahn, and the 6 members of their family. I found it incredibly enlightening and interesting to get to witness the dynamic of a family run business. From the first day, I was able to see that the K6 team functioned effortlessly as one cohesive unit. Over the course of my internship, I noticed a few key things that I found incredibly beneficial to running a business. Since everyone was related, there was an extreme level of comfort and everyone was able to easily communicate and discuss things. While this family run business dynamic is not common, I learned from K6 the importance of being close with your coworkers and feeling comfortable around them, as it greatly improves the work environment and the communication between everyone.
While at K6, I also learned to never doubt myself or my education. As an intern, you often feel inferior to everyone else or feel that you cannot chime in with your opinion. However, at K6 it was quite the opposite. Sharon admired my studies at SMU and valued my opinion on things and had a lot of faith in my abilities. Sharon allowed me to make any suggestions during follow-up appointments that I thought may help clients or have personally helped me in the past. Sharon also believed in me enough to trust me to walk patients through their notes, answer their questions and help with their diet. I found this all extremely encouraging and learned that if I doubt myself, I will likely be doubted by others as well.
Moving forward, I feel confident in my ability to connect with patients and have learned that establishing strong relationships with patients is crucial for having a good reputation and increasing client retention. Every time someone came in for appointment, everyone knew their name and what they did, where they were from or something interesting about them. I found that I started paying more attention to the little things people said in appointments once I realized this and started to form my own relationships with clients as well. I believe that being able to connect with clients will help carry me further in my career and will prove to be a valuable tool.
Overall, I believe that K6 wellness is highly effective in its operations and all staff members collaborate well to fulfill their goal of helping others lead healthier lives and improve their quality of life. Every employee at K6 has dealt with some sort of health issue of their own and therefore, realizes how desperately some clients need their help. As a result, all of the employees have an incredibly strong work ethic and are always willing to always put their clients first. The customer satisfaction level at K6 is very high and there is a high client retention rate. The employees all strive to establish strong relationships with each client and their efforts are reflected in the continued return of current clients and increase in new clients.
This site provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with the staff and communicate with other professionals and I always felt included. Due to the current circumstances involving coronavirus, I do not think I was able to reach my personal and professional goals as I missed out on a lot of learning experiences and opportunities. However, K6 accepted me as a functional member of their staff and even would invite me to join them for dinner on Fridays at a relative’s house after work in an effort to always make me feel welcomed and included. Elena, my site supervisor was fantastic over the course of my internship. She was always willing to answer any of my questions and help me with anything. Elena was always very professional and taught me a lot including the proper terminology to use with clients and how to act when dealing with difficult clients. Elena was excited to have me at K6 and was adamant about giving me the best experience possible. My time at K6 Wellness was a great stepping stone for my career and I learned a lot about what I would like to find in a future job. I am extremely grateful for my internship and wish that I was able to finish it.
During my time as a physical therapy intern at the Carrell Clinic I performed a variety of duties that aided in patient experience as well as the running of the clinic. On an average day I would work with different physical therapists, depending on who was busiest at the time. When helping the physical therapists, I would greet the patients in the waiting room and set them up with a warmup. I would also grab equipment, walk patients through exercises, or observe the work the physical therapist was doing. At the end of the patient session, I would get the space ready for the next patient coming in. This included changing the pillowcase, wiping down the table, and putting away any equipment.
During down time when there weren’t a lot of patients, I would do laundry, clean machines and equipment, organize equipment, or sort through patient charts.
I would say the most notable experience throughout my internship was working with a young girl who ended up being one of my favorite patients to work with. This patient was around 11 years old, and when I first started helping with her, she had no interest in doing her physical therapy. She was obviously frustrated with the pain she was still having in her ankle and would speed through all of her exercises as fast as she could. I began working with her more frequently and we got into a good routine. She usually came in at a busy time for the clinic, so I gained a little more independence as I usually got to run through her exercises with her by myself. She started to warm up to me and I could really start to see a change. She began to slow down a lot and focus more on her exercises and I could tell that she was taking my feedback well. As she continued to improve, the physical therapist, she was working with was able to give her more “fun” exercises to do, like basketball and volleyball. By her last session, she was like a different patient. For me, it was so rewarding to know that I had contributed at least in part, to her success. It also showed me how much I do enjoy working with kids and the creativity and improvisation that it requires.
Another notable experience was the opportunity to learn more about the running of the clinic. After interning for a while, I was taught more about the scheduling and patient charting. Some therapists keep physical charts while others have everything digital. One of my tasks that I would do during down time included organizing the charts for the therapists that kept them. With the technology of patient records constantly changing, it was useful to see what exactly is included in a patient chart and be able to see the benefits of physical vs digital copies. It was a pretty small thing, but something I wouldn’t have thought about without having that experience. I also gained some insight into the scheduling of patients. Many of the clinics I’ve worked in before have had scheduling where patients come in at different times. For example, a therapist might have a patient coming in at 8, another one at 8:30, and then another at 8:45, with them all overlapping. However, the Carrell Clinic only has appointments on the hour. So, each therapist will only have patients coming in at 8, new patients at 9, and so on, with a maximum of 3 patients at once. I hadn’t thought of this as a possible way of scheduling before, but throughout my time interning I was won over by this scheduling method. It allowed the therapists to get the most out of the time they had with a patient and were able to give each patient equal one-on-one time. This insight was useful in allowing me to see some of the behind the scenes running of a clinic. I don’t know that I want to have my own clinic someday, but this experience will be an example of some of the practices I could implement.
My third notable experience has to do with the gratitude of patients. There was one specific time when the therapist I was helping had informed me this one specific patient was doing great in her therapy but was really struggling with confidence. In past sessions she had really benefited from someone cheering her on and assuring her she was doing well. During that session I made sure I was the best cheerleader I could be, ensuring her that she was doing a great job. After her session she began to leave but turned around to come and tell me thank you, which meant a lot to me. Other patients have come over to say hi to me when I’m working with another patient or seek me out to update me on something going on in their life that we had talked about during their last session. When things like this happen, it makes me feel so good, like I’m doing something right. At this point as an intern, there isn’t a lot I can do with the physical part of their physical therapy. But when I get positive feedback from patients that I make the mental side of their physical therapy a little better, I feel more confident in my ability to grow in my career. If I am able to do this for them now, I hope that I can always remember the significance of making a patient feel important and cared for and combine that with the skills I learn in physical therapy school, making me a better, more well-rounded physical therapist.
I would say that the four most important lessons I learned were the importance of being confident in myself, the usefulness of professional connections, the best ways to interact with different patients, and I was reminded of the rewarding aspects of this career path. I am so grateful for these lessons learned as they will be transferrable to the next job I have, as well as to my time in physical therapy school, and in my career.
Overall, my internship at the Carrell Clinic was one of the best experiences throughout my undergraduate education. I was able to take knowledge that I had learned in a variety of classes, and utilize it in my position as an intern, really solidifying my education.
SMU Health Promotion Management Office
As an intern at the Community of Health Promotion Office here at SMU, I had a variety of duties that I performed. My first job was to create a Communications Calendar and personal goals timeline for myself so that I would be updated on weekly events and be able to have a guide to stay on top of every deadline I had. One of my main roles was to design a post for our Instagram and Facebook page to post every other day of the week (typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), in which I obligated myself to take the additional role of building a more cohesive, attention-grabbing aesthetic. In addition to this, I took it upon myself to redesign the Instagram profile picture and highlights layout to match the color aesthetic I had picked. I was responsible for creating the posters, flyers, and digital signs for the events that we had and distributing them to high-traffic buildings we have across campus including Fondren Library, Dedman Rec center, Hughes-Trigg, both of the Simmons buildings, the Scholar’s Den, Hyer Hall, and the Health Center. I would also create Instagram/Facebook stories to promote upcoming events to maximize awareness across social media.
I was given two long-term projects, including a week-long social media campaign of Instagram/Facebook posts and stories to accompany every day of events for Mental Health Awareness week and a PowerPoint presentation to summarize the entire SMU Community Health Promotion department and its wide variety of functions. To stay on top of all of the things I was responsible for, I would attend staff meetings to coordinate for Mental Health Awareness week and have weekly touch-base meetings with my boss to go over the work I had done thus far, the work I would be doing that week, and make any clarifications that I needed to get the job done.
The mission statement of the Community Health Promotion office is to provide comprehensive health education programming to students in order to promote healthy behaviors, enhance student well-being, and reduce campus health risks. I believe that the CHP office has a very high level of operational effectiveness because I have seen from first-hand experience that they were able to fulfill this mission statement by creating programs that educate and promote healthy habits and successfully promoting these programs through email announcements, flyers, posters, digital signs, and social media announcements. Their social media also served to better educate the SMU staff and student body on how to achieve a more holistic, healthier lifestyle.
The collaboration, work ethic, and congeniality were all ideal and at a high level due to regular meetings and thorough communication that among everyone in the office. Because of regular meetings and constant communication, I would say the internship supervisor’s level of effectiveness was very high. I had weekly meetings with him and could email him or walk by his office with questions whenever I wanted, so I was effectively communicated with and supervised. Customer satisfaction was also very high, which was evaluated by the various assessments that the office has in place to measure feedback. This includes student focus groups, faculty/staff interviews, program feedback surveys, taking attendance at events to measure engagement, measuring social media engagement, and Health Center data (tracking student health trends). The overall facility’s maintenance and environment was always perfect, as the cleaning ladies would always clean everything at the end of each day. Me and my coworkers also respected the environment we worked in, so we tried to make their job as easy as possible by throwing things away in the trash can, putting things back after we used them, using the hands-free handles in the bathroom, and cleaning up any messes we made in the break room. Overall, everything about the site and everyone who worked there was exceptional. I enjoyed my experience working for the CHP office!
Anna Leigh Collier
White Rock OB/GYN
A typical day for me at White Rock OB/GYN would begin with organizing charts and prescription orders. The doctor often does not get to the office before 9 or 9:15, so we have a lot of time to get prepared for the day. It was important that I put away the charts from the OB patients of the previous day so that the chart room remained organized for the front desk associate, who has to pull charts for the current day’s appointments. My duty of organizing prescriptions was very important because the doctor had to be able to sign off on them as soon as they came in so that patients could get their medicine. After this duty was finished, I would assist the CNA in calling patients back to the vital room. I would often help her take weight, blood pressure, and pulse measurements as well as read urine sample tests. After these measurements were recorded in the patient’s chart, I would set them up in a room and tell them to wait for the doctor. Once the doctor arrived, the day began to move very quickly. My responsibilities included taking patient vitals and shadowing the doctor in every appointment. If it was an OB appointment, I had the duty of finding the fetal heartbeat. Other than that task, I would just observe and listen. Although it wasn’t an assigned duty, I would help the CNA clean rooms in between each appointment and always make sure there were enough supplies stocked.
Aside from my main, daily duties, there were certain times or days of the week where I had additional duties. One of these included shadowing the sonogram tech on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. I was responsible for making the patient comfortable by adjusting their chair and making sure they were properly undressed and covered. Additionally, I served as a liaison between the sonogram tech and the doctor. For example, if the tech wanted the doctor to come check something, I would be in charge of finding the doctor, filling him in on the patient’s reason for the sonogram, and bringing him to the room. Some of the other miscellaneous duties I had included faxing patient records to the hospital, driving the doctor to the hospital when it was raining, writing pap smear reminder letters, and always being alert to the office managers requests.
I had many amazing, notable experiences that helped me learn how to perform these duties. One of them was the first time I got to find the fetal heartbeat. I had watched Dr. Garcia do it many times, but when he asked me to do it on the spot with a patient, I was taken aback and had a second of uncertainty. Some people may think it as rude or unthoughtful to put an intern on the spot like that in front of a patient, but I work well under pressure and was happy that the doctor believed in me. When I found the heartbeat, it was an amazing feeling. I was so proud of myself for staying calm, but more importantly I was reminded of how incredible it must be to have a life growing inside of your tummy. The patient must feel so relieved every time they get to listen to their baby’s heartbeat, and what a privilege it is for me to be a part of that experience. From that point on, I felt very confident entering patient appointments. There were times when it was difficult for me to find the heartbeat such as when the baby was less than 20 weeks old, but I learned to be patient and the best ways to angle the doppler in order to find a stronger sound.
Usually the CNA would do the bulk of the work concerning taking vitals because I was with the doctor in his appointments most of the day, but one day the CNA was not able to come in to work. This day was a huge learning experience for me because it was the time to take everything I had observed and learned and put it in to practice on my own. I ran around the office taking vitals, cleaning rooms, discussing symptoms with patients, and assisting the doctor in procedures. I had not assisted the doctor in any procedures before this, but I had observed the CNA do it probably 100 times. When I entered those appointments, I remained confident and was quick on my feet to make sure that the patient knew that I knew what I was doing. The doctor was very grateful for my help that day, and I learned that I knew how to do more than I thought. I was exhausted by the end of the day but left with a rewarding feeling.
The last experience I want to share occurred specifically with one patient I got to know well. She had appointments once or twice a week because she was only a few weeks away from full term pregnancy and her baby was breached. She began to recognize me, and I could tell she felt more comfortable in appointments because I knew her case well. The doctor had been providing her with exercises she could do to flip the baby, but week after week she returned with the baby still breached. During one particular appointment she looked at me and said “Anna, I am so worried. Nothing is working and this baby is getting way too big for me”. She said this with some humor mixed with pure exhaustion and worry. This was the first time a patient really opened up to me, and it was such a great feeling knowing that I was a part of her journey. The last time I saw her, she came in saying she had felt movement and wanted to see if the baby had flipped. The doctor and I took her into the sonogram room, laid her down, and I said a little prayer in my head for her. Just then, the doctor handed me the probe and told me to find the baby’s head. I knew what I was doing, but the pressure was on. The patient gave me an encouraging look as I put gel on her belly and began. Within 30 seconds I found the head and it was right where it should be. The baby had flipped! We all breathed a sigh of relief together and the patient couldn’t stop smiling. We sent her to the hospital right away to be induced, and as she was leaving and thanking us, I was overcome with emotion and gratitude that I was able to be a part of that moment.
Respect for your superiors in the workplace is something I understood before starting my internship but putting it into practice with Dr. Garcia integrated that lesson into my everyday life. At work I would report to the doctor first. If he called my name, I would drop what I was doing and run to see what he needed, always making sure I was performing the tasks he assigned to me before anything else. His commitment to his patients in the office and at the hospital was inspiring to me. He never complained about only getting 2 hours of sleep or not being able to go to a family dinner because he needed to deliver a baby because he loved his job and always put his patient’s health first. I have so much respect for him because of this, and I found that this respect made me want to help him and learn from him as much as I could.
In the APSM course Fitness and Health Enterprise, we had a discussion about employee satisfaction and how important it is for the success of an organization. At my internship I learned that this is extremely important in the healthcare setting because the satisfaction of nurses and doctor’s effects not only the office, but the lives of patients. All of the employees I worked with love their job and it reflects in their work. They have a great attitude, have more energy, and produce better quality work. I believe the fact that they were friends outside of work, have known each other for a long time, and all share a similar heritage fostered an environment of shared values. An organizations performance is influenced by shared values because if employees share positive attitudes, they most likely have norms of cooperation and collaboration, which in turn enhance productivity (Koys, 2001). This value synchronization I experienced taught me that it is important to look at an organizations culture before accepting a job because employee satisfaction can make or break success.
The last important lesson I learned from this internship that is extremely valuable to me is ethics. Knowing what is ethical or unethical in a medical setting is something I was introduced to in my Senior Project course as well as Bioethics. One topic that was covered by these courses and stressed to me by Dr. Garcia is respect for patient autonomy. The idea is that as moral agents we have the right to make important decisions about what happens to and in our bodies (Mackenzie, 2010). Understanding this idea is essential in healthcare, especially in the OB/ GYN specialty. Dr. Garcia always worked to enhance his patient’s autonomy by giving them a wide range of choices and as much information as they needed or wanted to know. Whether it was about pregnancy, birth control, or surgery, Dr. Garcia would speak to his patients in a very objective tone and make sure never to frame anything in a way that would sway the patient to make one decision over another. He wanted them to feel safe, comfortable, and in control of their body.
White Rock OB/GYN is a very operationally effective organization. They see patients in a timely manner, are always able to book last minute emergency appointments, keep the office organized, establish clear roles, and work collaboratively, and more. I believe they have a great team of employees that work together very well. I believe the fact that they are all able to speak fluent Spanish and have similar working styles helps them be more in sync with each other. In addition, they are all extremely hard workers. They often don’t leave the office until a few hours after the last patient has left, and the front office staff still comes to work when the doctor is out and there are no patients. They use that time to catch up on paperwork, calls, and supply orders. Every patient that comes into the office leaves satisfied and always grateful. Since many of the patients come for weekly OB appointments, they are comfortable around the staff and have a deeper relationship with the doctor. One woman from Peru is a great example of how happy Dr. Garcia’s patients are. Dr. Garcia is also from Peru, and he always takes the time to sit with her and speak in Spanish about her family, and she always brings him special Peruvian cookies that she makes. It is more than just a patient-doctor relationship, it is a friendship. The internship supervisor was very effective, taking the time to get to know me and teach me new things every week. I believe she could be better about communication outside of work specifically with turning in paperwork, but I also understood how busy she was, and she needed me to help remind her. Overall, I loved this internship and couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I learned more in 5 weeks than I have in any other job, and when I found out that I would not be returning I genuinely felt sad. I had a strong relationship with all of them and am so grateful for the time they took to get to know me and help teach me.
A to Z Pediatric
While interning at A to Z Pediatric Therapy, I was able to travel with occupational, physical, and speech therapists to observe and assist with therapy given in homes and daycares in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I had the opportunity to observe occupational therapists evaluate children using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2 and assistants work with children on sensory, self-care, feeding, behavioral, fine motor, and visuospatial goals with different activities and tasks. During occupational therapy sessions, I assisted in set-up and clean-up of activities and participated in activities when appropriate. For example, during some crossing the midline activities, I handed children toys to their right and left side to be placed into another toy or puzzle. During physical therapy sessions, I was able to observe therapists stretch patients and assist them with exercises. With some core strengthening and step climbing exercises, I was able to assist by holding a bucket or toy at different positions away from the child for them to place an object or toy into. I observed speech therapists work with children on sentence formation, modeling, facial expression, speech sound, narrative development, vocabulary, following directions, and play skills through play or other activities. I facilitated these sessions by participating in play and serving as a model for interaction and facial expression. During all sessions, I gave children tactile, auditory, or visual cues to help complete tasks, activities, or exercises when appropriate. For children with deficits in information processing, it was important to give cues at a slower frequency to avoid further confusion within the child. I also encouraged children during their tasks, activities, and exercises by cheering, clapping, singing songs, or playing games.
A notable experience I had during an occupational therapy session was observing a therapist calm down a child from an aggressive temper tantrum. This patient presented sensory deficits, showing very high sensitivity to the sensation of clothing. Addressing a dressing goal, the therapist had the child remove his shirt for 30 seconds, resulting in a major temper tantrum with hitting, screaming, and running around the room. Continuing the 30 seconds, the therapist was able to calm the child to down to a less aggressive level by applying deep touch pressure to the back. Observing the therapist handle this situation calmly with a smile on her face was very impressive. She was able to explain to me the reasons for the patient’s behavior and how understanding the causes can help when handling difficult situations.
A second notable experience I had while interning with A.Z. was observing a physical therapist work with a very medically fragile infant. This patient was premature, connected to oxygen and feeding tubes, and experiencing torticollis. Prior to this visit, I hadn’t given much thought to how physical therapists would give therapy to infants. The therapist was able to provide me with a good example by effortlessly holding the baby in different positions to stretch the neck muscles. Each time the baby would begin to cry, she would rock the baby in a certain cradle position that calmed the baby down nearly every time. With current experience working in a nursery, it was very interesting to observe the physical therapist handle the infant so smoothly and gently.
A highlighted experience from my time traveling with speech therapy was making a patient and her siblings’ day brighter by bringing over toys and interacting with them. Upon entering the home, the patient and her siblings ran to greet us with excitement. While completing an activity of identifying objects out of a bag of toys, the siblings also participated and appeared amazed, excited, and curious by each toy given. After a session of activities and play, the patient sadly watched us leave to our cars from the door and waved to us as we drove away. This experience showed how therapists can provide a positive influence in children’s lives in more aspects than only therapeutic progress. Although it wasn’t an experience of therapeutic progress, making a child’s day better and happier even if for 30 minutes was still very rewarding.
This internship taught me the importance of patience when working with children with special needs. Many of the patients I was able to observe during occupational therapy sessions presented cognitive and sensory deficits that could result in very delayed or unusual responses to given activities. Children with delayed processing may stare blankly after being asked to do something or appear unaware of objects in front of them. Patients with sensory deficits, in an attempt to avoid the given activity, may act out aggressively – screaming, hitting, crying, or arguing. Patience is extremely valuable in situations like these in order to respond in a rational and effective matter. Remaining patient and calm allows the therapist to effectively acknowledge reasons behind behavior and address them as necessary.
A second lesson I learned from this internship is the importance of clear communication with a child’s caregivers in order to provide the most beneficial therapy. Patient’s caregivers have major influence on the outcomes of therapy when working with a pediatric population. Children rely on their caregivers for the set-up of their environment and daily routines. When caregivers fail to create a properly stimulating environment accustomed to their child’s special needs, their children are less likely to reap the full benefits of therapy. Caregivers may also hinder a child’s progress in therapy by enabling a non-stimulating daily routine. These routines may have little structure and enforce habits that impede on a child’s therapy goals. These factors may be positively influenced by the therapist providing clear communication to caregivers about home program instruction. Emphasizing the caregivers’ importance in a child’s therapeutic progress and providing them with the knowledge to implement home program instruction may give them the confidence to improve their child’s outcomes through at-home practice and techniques. Establishing trust with patients and their families when practicing home health is also valuable to create a comfortable and positive experience for everyone involved. Sessions held within the patient’s home may be in close contact with other family members. Establishing trusting relationships can make the situation more comfortable and allows the therapist to complete treatment without strict hovering or interference. Trust between the therapist and patient is extremely valuable in positively impacting a child’s outcomes of treatment. The child is able to become more engaged and willing to complete tasks and activities. Trust is especially necessary when overcoming obstacles of fear. Without trust, the child is unlikely to feel confident in conquering their feared goal.
Another lesson I learned is the value of forming relationships with other therapists in gaining inspiration and support. Although I observed as a student and not a practicing therapist, I could see the need for conversing with other professionals for ideas when hitting a block in progress with a child or when in need of diversifying activities and techniques. Listening to the therapists’ reasons for entering this career field was inspiring and sparked motivation in me to continue my education. Many of the therapists voiced their support for me and my education, giving me confidence to achieve my goals.
2019 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
This summer has been full of both personal and professional growth, such as the challenges of an “8-5 job”, learning in depth science of clinical nutrition and last, but not least, many weekend adventures (that were cursed by the Sunday storms). I am grateful for every moment endured these past two months, regardless the circumstances. Each moment has taught me something new that could not be learned in the classroom or read from a textbook.
This summer I was given the opportunity to be the first intern for the Clinical Nutrition department at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Therefore, my duties as the intern included: anything anyone asked me to do but Lona especially. The duties I performed routinely included sous chef for the National Institute of Health’s phosphate and kidney function research, UberEATS driver to deliver NIH research subject’s meals to South Campus, InstaCart shopper for NIH research groceries, Excel Forms expert for creating department surveys and last but not least, informational handout chief creator. By the end of the summer, I could recite the rice krispies recipe from memory. I much more preferred packaging and delivering meals than baking, which created a wonderful symbiotic relationship with the student research assistant Agnes, who loved baking. Furthermore, I now know all the shortcuts on Excel Forms and expanded my computer skills. However, Restaurant Depot will always be the most terrifying grocery shopping experience, not even Thanksgiving grocery shopping at Costco can compare. In conclusion, the roles and tasks I was given this summer gave me opportunities to learn beyond my scope of knowledge, held me to high standards of expectations and gave me undeserving autonomy. I never once felt like “the intern pushing paper”.
SMU's Office of Community Health Promotion
I worked in the Office of Community Health Promotion department of the Health Center at SMU, as a Health Education Intern. My primary responsibility was to put together health education materials that are used to support the Student Wellness Champion program as well as the broader SMU community. I pulled together and organized research and relevant health information from reliable academic resources to update current materials and create new materials. Through investigation and exploration of a wide range of sources including medical journals, blog posts, scholarly articles, books, videos, and narratives, my knowledge about the history and the future of health promotion expanded exponentially each day. I have gained a more comprehensive understanding of the many factors influencing the future of health and community development. I updated four Healthy Guides and created a new one. I produced these updated guides and new guides specific to the various health topics addressed by the Office for Community Health Promotion.
These four guide topics consisted of Physical Activity, Nutrition, Healthy Relationships, and Mental Health. Once I completed these four guides, I created a new guide for Alcohol and Other Drugs. After I updated the guides, I created a list of proposed edits which were either approved or denied. From there, I made the final edits and created the table of contents for each guide. These guides will be used to train Student Wellness Champions. From these guides and through research done, I created a literature review to gain an understanding of the existing research relevant to the particular area of study, and to present that knowledge in the form of a written report. Using the research to update and create the Healthy Guides; I was able to describe, summarize, evaluate, and clarify the information in a review. I learned not only from the research, but also from working with people who are similarly deeply fascinated, knowledgeable, and engrossed in the world of health.
I also participated in other aspects of promotions and events, such as the AARO Resource Expos. These expos serve as an opportunity for students and families to learn more about all that SMU has to offer. Over 30 offices, programs, departments, and resources attend the expo each week. SMU Health Center had a table with information about its resources. I attended 3 AARO Resource Expos with a graduate assistant who I worked with. We helped parents and new students by answering questions about the health center, health insurance, and the Student Wellness Champion program.
I sat in on a marketing meeting discussing the uses of social media concerning SMU and their outreach to students. I learned how important social media is when trying to connect to students, especially for SMU programs and departments. I also worked with a graduate assistant in the program to assist in the planning of Student Wellness Champion Summer Training. We edited the PowerPoint that will be used during the training days, created an hourly schedule of the days, created ice breaker games, decided on prizes that will be given out, and created T-shirts for the program.
I gained immense knowledge on a variety of health topics and how they apply to a specific population of interest. I learned how to assess current health education materials and update them according to research as well as how to use current research to create a new health education material on alcohol and other drugs for a specific population. I gained the understanding and appreciation for the process of producing health education materials starting with research and ending with a final physical product.
SMU's Women's Soccer Team
My internship consisted of a numbers of duties that helped the day-to-day operations for each of the soccer coaches. I first started out with replying to emails sent from the assistant coach Nicole Nelson; she was also my first line supervisor. The emails consisted of data and information of high school soccer players who were interested in joining the soccer team here at SMU. After I gathering all the information from the high school athlete I would then upload the information to a database called Jump Forward. The data and information put in the database consisted of their graduation year, which club team they played for, and any other useful information that stood out for the coaches. While doing this I was also in charge of sending out response emails to the athletes to remind them that the coaches were going to be at their tournaments and I would also send a camp flyer so they could make a trip here to SMU to showcase their skills. I was also tasked to help with the day camps for both the boys and girls camps ran by the men’s coaching staff and the women’s coaching staff. I was a runner for the coaches that involved making sure children were able to go to the restroom, I made sure they went home with their parents, and took care of any injured children. After the all day camps and showcase camps ended Nicole put me on another task, which involved marketing the team and putting a program tour together for Southern Methodist University. It is currently still in the works as of right now.
Fitsteps for Life
My time as an intern at Fitsteps for life has been a valuable experience that I’ll cherish for years to come. I was able to meet and work with people from a variety of backgrounds and age groups. Over the course of my internship and creating logs of my experiences I could see the great amount of progress that I’ve made with the help of my internship supervisors. I chose this internship because it provided the opportunity to play a role in helping cancer patients improve their health. Cancer has a significant physical and emotional impact on patients and their families. It was very meaningful to work with the patients and their loved ones this summer.
The main duties that I performed this summer were operating within the salesforce system, making reminder calls to patients, teaching exercise classes, conducting initial visits and working individually with patients. Salesforce is a type of software that allows all Fitsteps locations to communicate with one another and log in different information such as patient medical history, patient medications and appointments. All employees can view the schedule for all fitsteps locations in the North Texas area through salesforce. One of the first tasks that I was given was to make reminder calls to patients. The calls are made to patients who have not come in 2 weeks and then again at 1-month if they haven’t communicated with Fitsteps personnel yet. During the call I would ask patients their reason for not coming in and make sure they were doing alright then log that information into salesforce. Another duty that I would take on each week is teaching exercise classes. I taught the Friday noon class but rotated with my supervisors on a few weeks to teach the Wednesday noon class. During the classes I would take patients through a series of exercises focusing on either the upper body, lower body or both. Classes were always upbeat and included a lot fun music that my supervisors and I would play.
Initial visits and individual patient exercises sessions occured every week. At the start of my internship I sat back and observed my supervisors performing initial visits with patients in order to gain a better understanding of the process and procedures. By the 4th week I was conducting my first initial visit with a patient that had stage 3 breast cancer. Initial visits involve taking medical information, vitals and performing a neurological motor exam. After the neurological motor exam patients are taken through a workout. The motor exam helps to identify any muscle weakness by comparing one side of the body to the other. After my first initial visit I was able to help my supervisors by taking more initial visits in the coming weeks. After a patient has an initial visit, they are free to work out on their own as much as they’d like to. However, some patients require a staff member to take them through exercises for various reasons such as age, mobility issues or another condition. A task that I performed each week would be working with patients individually. During one on one visits I would take patients through exercises each time they came. For example, I worked with an elderly patient named Ed almost every week that has COPD which requires that he be monitored.
Marsh and McLennan Agency
Working with Amanda-Rae Garcia this summer, as the Health and Wellness intern at Marsh and McLennan Agency (MMA), has been one of the most influential experiences of my life. From the beginning, I was challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone. For instance, I quickly had to learn about the health insurance industry, which included some of the specific terminology that constantly is growing. Having the pleasure of working with Amanda-Rae daily allowed me to learn about the health and wellness industry in more detail as well. Amanda-Rae allowed me to optimize the use of my strengths and current knowledge by giving me tasks, projects, and responsibilities throughout the summer that required a lot of hard work and effort to be done most effectively. She taught me many different career and life lessons throughout this summer, but most importantly, she gave me the opportunity to grow as a person.
As Amanda-Rae’s intern, I was given countless different tasks throughout the summer. On a daily basis I would respond to emails and touch base with her on upcoming meetings, projects, or events we had planned. Often times I would listen in on client meetings and take notes to determine the next steps moving forward. Occasionally, Amanda-Rae would have me create survey’s, using SurveyMonkey, for the clients to distribute out to their employees to gather feedback for their upcoming wellness program. Some other tasks I did multiple times this summer were schedule and rescheduling Amanda-Rae’s meetings by email or phone calls. I was also in charge of reaching out to vendors to schedule and coordinate MMA Summer Lunch and Learns. This included me verifying and confirming a day, time, and location with both the vendor and Human Resources Manager at MMA, and then on the day of the event I would help set-up the event as well. After the event I would create a survey to send out to all the attendees through email to gain some insight from the MMA employees thoughts about the event. An additional event I was in charge of coordinating was the special Employee Health & Benefits section of the 2019 Annual MMA Health and Lifestyle Expo. My responsibilities for this event included reaching out to all the Employee Health & Benefits vendor we wanted to invite and confirming their attendance and then informing them of all the specifics about the event. The next step was for me to inform Health Dimensions, the company putting on the whole event, of the vendors we wanted to invite to the event. This allowed Health Dimensions to plan out facility specifics. Another task I was given a few times this summer was to edit, finalize, and print PowerPoint presentations with the MMA template for Amanda-Rae to use in client meetings. Additionally, I would weekly listen, watch, and take notes on the Intern Webinars that MMA provided to all the interns nationwide. Each week they had a separate topic to discuss, such as Business Insurance, Private Client Insurance Considerations, Employee Health & Benefits, and MMA Align (Culture Alignment). I really enjoyed being given so many different types of tasks and projects because I felt that I was able to gain a lot more experience and knowledge that way.
This summer I have had the privilege to be an intern at ACAP Healthworks, a subsidiary of Holmes Murphy Associates. Their mission statement declares that they are “Make a difference by promoting health, protecting wealth, and delivering peace of mind.” Holmes Murphy and ACAP Healthworks live and breathe by their motto to deliver the best services to their clients, and their actions were noticed during my time here this summer. In fact, their community focused company culture first attracted me to want to intern for them when I visited their company for FHE early this past spring.
I have been kept busy during my time here at ACAP this summer. Some of my main duties have involved weekly analytic updates to the Joyages app, a preventative measure for brain health. I would track weekly progress of the development of the app. Weekly, I would also research other competing apps, to see how Joyages stands out against them but also what we can learn from these other apps. A majority of my time was also spent creating activities for the courses in the app. Having activities was a key piece for the effectiveness of the app because it focused on cognitive behavioral therapy and having action items is crucial for helping people change their behavior. I also had the opportunity to create a book from the scripts used in the app. I was given the liberty to choose the scripts I thought would work best and organize them into a book that the rest of my team would edit. Also for the app, I researched concerns of our clients to late be used create custom content for their industry specific interests.
One of my favorite experiences this summer was getting to go to video shoots for the project I was working on, Joyages, an app for preventative brain health. What was most notable about this experience was seeing the versatility of the other members of my team. Not only did they need to be able to manage projects, make sales calls, or research content, but they also needed to be good in front of a camera! Their professionalism was unmatched, and they did great. Watching my colleagues, I noticed that their confidence and culmination of knowledge allowed them to perform well in front of the camera. My passion for the arts was fulfilled while getting to watch this and seeing the creative side of work!
For this summer session I had the privilege of working as a Scribe in the ER under the supervision of various physicians and administrators. I worked anywhere from 20-50 hours in one week, and had various responsibilities depending on the provider I worked with. Throughout this experience I learned a variety of skills ranging from patient care documentation to bed-side manner, as well as how to handle emotionally taxing situations while still performing my duties as a scribe. There are many stories and experiences that taught me valuable lessons and others that demonstrated capabilities I did not know I had, both I am excited to share with you throughout this report.
First, it is important to understand the scope of tasks performed by me, or any other scribe, during a single shift. First and foremost, our main duties are to document any interaction between the patient and the physician in a concise and detailed manner, ensuring that all pertinent parts to the patients plan of care are included. That is a skill that is constantly being refined, and one that I am happy to say I have improved on throughout the summer. We also serve as a liaison between the physician and the patient, often returning to the patient rooms to ask about pain levels, assess their level of comfort, and determine if the physician needs to intervene at a higher level. Doing this was initially daunting, as it is very important to word things in a certain way as not to offend the patient or give the impression that the physician is not interested in caring for them further. Another task that is often harder than one might think is communicating with the Point of Care lab, or the lab in the ER, to determine length of testing or the location of the specimen in question. This often involves having to call the main laboratory in the hospital, and things easily get lost in translation or in transition so locating the specimen can be tricky. Another task that we have, that some scribes do more than others, is to ensure the patient and their families have everything they need to be comfortable. This includes food, blankets, pillows, or just estimating the length of time the testing will take. This constitutes the majority of the tasks that we complete during a shift, but there are many new ones that we are presented with each day.
Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine
This summer 2019, I worked as a full-time intern at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM) over an eight-week period. In total, my internship consisted of 257 hours of work at the IEEM. I started my internship on Tuesday 4nd of June and finished on Friday 26th of July. Working at the IEEM this summer proved to be an amazing experience. I learnt about what is required to work in an exercise research lab, developed skills that are fundamental in the workplace, such as good communication and teamwork, as well as having made strong connections with very successful people.
The IEEM is founded as a joint program between Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The IEEM is a unique private-public partnership with an international reputation and focus for individual patients. The mission of the IEEM is to promote basic and clinical research, education and clinical practice in defining the limits to human functional capacity in health and disease, with the objective of improving the quality of life for humans of all ages. As stated on the IEEM webpage, and from my own personal observation, the IEEM faculty, students and staff pursue this bold mission by creating an integrated series of world class laboratories, each with a specific research and clinical focus providing expertise on particular aspects of human physiology and medicine. In my opinion, the operational effectiveness at the IEEM was efficient in following the mission statement, as the participants used in exercise studies were a range of ages from 18 to 75 years old. During my internship, I worked in the Thermoregulation Lab, which serves to help different subject populations manage and tolerate heat stress. Focused subject populations for the studies I was able to observe that are susceptible to changes in health and disease involved the elderly, military and burn survivors. Helping conduct exercise studies and collect such valuable data was a great privilege, and I felt lucky to have been given this opportunity.
Holmes Murphy and SimplePay Health
I can’t believe my summer with Holmes Murphy and SimplePay Health is almost over! It’s been an awesome 12 weeks of learning new skills, researching industry topics, building professional relationships, and making friends! My main duties this summer with SPH were very diverse and spanned many disciplines as I was the only intern for a start-up type company and I worked with every member of the team. I did sales and marketing work with Mike, operations work with Bailey, accounting and analytics work with Rachel, and sat in on almost all the team meetings. For sales I created spreadsheets from producer databases for our target markets that laid out the key players and their addresses and contacts within the company for us to reach out to. For marketing, I met with the agency we hired to help create our marketing materials and provided my feedback and contributed to discussions about the SimplePay story and the challenges we need to overcome in conveying our value. For operations, I looked at the searches members made on our website and the calls they made to our HealthPros to see if one of our clinical programs might suit their needs, and then trigger an outreach to the member about it. For accounting, I cross-checked our accounts receivable with the member portals and checks we had received to make sure they matched up. And for analytics, I assisted with analyzing member engagement and organizing the data into tables and graphics for a presentation. I also helped create a PowerPoint and accompanying handout that described all the clinical solutions and wellness programs we offer to members free of charge as part of SimplePay.
One of my favorite experiences throughout the summer was being a part of the weekly operations meeting with the whole team. Given the start-up nature with SPH, things move and change very quickly! It kept things exciting this summer, and I loved going to these meetings where we discussed exactly where we were and where we were planning on going. It kept us all on the same page, whether we were working on the sales piece, the operations piece, etc. and it really helped me feel like part of the team! Also, I don’t know many internships where you would have the opportunity to sit in on meetings with the CEO and President and have them know you by name.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work as an intern at React Neuro-Rehab in Addison, Texas. React is a facility that specializes in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. The specialists at React work with clients with a range of disabilities such as quadriplegics, paraplegics, people who have suffered a stroke, have multiple sclerosis, have suffered traumatic brain injuries, and several other neurological disorders. React is unique in the fact that it offers a multitude of programs, each individualized for a client’s needs. React offers one-on-one rehab, group workouts, R-spa time, and more. During my time at React, my duties included running group works (legacy project), scripting for the trainers, assisting the trainers with the client’s rehab sessions, running the THOR laser machine and R-Spa, answering the phone, and cleaning the facility. For legacy project, the other interns and I designed a twelve-week workout program tailored to each of our four clients. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we took these four through workouts that helped them with their goals. Some of these goals included core strength, being able to walk with a walker, and regaining triceps’ strength. When I scripted for the trainers, I wrote down all the activities they completed with their clients each session. This really helped me learn SCI and React terminology. Next, I assisted the trainers with their rehab sessions depending on what the client needed. I helped with lifts (getting the client from table to table or chair to table), and I helped with nervous system activation techniques, and assisted with walking practice, and leg presses, standing work as well as many other activities. Lastly, I learned how to use the THOR laser machine and completed many of these treatments on my own with different clients. THOR is a machine with different sized lasers that you press up to the client’s skin where inflammation is present. This laser is meant to reduce inflammation, and heal tissue quicker.
During my internship, I had many notable experiences, and many stood out, but I chose three as the most important. The first experience that was the most notable to me was the first day we had to come up with a workout plan on our own for the clients with SCI injuries. My boss came up to us and said, “okay now think of three cardio activities we could do with these clients,” and in my head, I go, “okay, easy: running, biking, elliptical.” Then, immediately, I realized these clients aren’t’ able to complete these activities and I drew a blank. After twenty minutes of my boss teaching us how to think creatively about adapting workouts, I finally felt like I had learned a new skill, and could adapt any workout for many types of injuries. This was a very notable experience because this type of skill can be useful for many different workplace settings. The second notable experience I had was the first time I worked with one of the quadriplegics. First, it’s hard to understand what it really means to say one’s legs don’t work. I did a lift on this client onto the leg press machine, and this was extremely notable for me because this is when I learned what control they had over their bodies, as well as the different levels on injuries. When I lifted this client, I didn’t really understand and forgot to block her knees when I set her down. Immediately, her knees just swayed outward and there was nothing she could do about it. From her, I learned how much goes into this type of rehab and how cautious and attentive the trainers must be during the session. I got to help this client do leg presses, and eventually watch her do them on her own which was super rewarding. The third most notable experience I had was working with a client who previously was in an accident, then had a stroke, and was also blind. This was extremely notable for me because not only did we have to perform nervous system activation to the side of his body that was affected by the stroke, but we had to use different verbal and touch cues because this client couldn’t see. I again got to learn different ways rehab can be adapted to fit each client’s needs. For example, when we practiced standing using both legs, we had to verbally tell him where his cane was, and where the edge of the table was.
Institute for Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation at The Carrell Clinic
My experience this summer as an intern at the Institute for Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation at The Carrell Clinic was nothing short of spectacular. Throughout the summer, I have grown in ways that I could not have imagined. As a student and hopeful future medical professional, I learned how to better interact with patients from all walks of life. Whether it was a stubborn twelve-year-old girl in the clinic for chronic knee pain, or a seventy-year-old man in the clinic just a few days after having a total knee replacement, I learned the importance of having patience and empathy for each individual patient. While I knew that these values were important in the medical world, and had observed them on various occasions, this was the first time I truly got to independently interact with patients and experience it for myself.
While each day of my internship was unique, my main duties as an intern remained similar throughout my experience. The first duty assigned to me as an intern was to retrieve patients for the Physical Therapist from the lobby at the top of each hour. Once retrieved from the lobby, I started the patient on their warmup. As I walked the patient to either the bike, arm bike, treadmill or elliptical, it was my job to ask them how they were feeling that day. For example, I would ask questions such as “How did your knee feel after your last appointment?” and “Are you sore today?”. Then, I would report necessary information back to the Physical Therapist. The bulk of my duty as an intern consisted of instructing patients on their physical therapy exercises. Furthermore, I thoroughly explained how to use specific equipment like the leg press, terminal knee extension, cable column, bosu ball, therabands and others. Another important duty as an intern, that I did not necessarily expect, was laundry. The Carrell Clinic has over 40 physical therapy beds in one office space, and each bed and pillow must be cleaned after they are used. With 15 Physical Therapists in the clinic, loads of linens are gone through each day. In order to ensure that there was never a shortage of pillow cases or towels, it was partly my duty to fold the linens, once they were clean and dry, and place them around the clinic. Furthermore, at the end and beginning of each hour, it was the interns’ and tech’s duty to clean and prepare the dirty beds for the next patients. Another duty of the interns and techs was to pull patient charts for the following day. This consisted of printing out individual schedules for each Physical Therapist, highlighting the date and any new patients, retrieving all patient charts on the list, stacking them in chronological order and placing them in the appropriate Physical Therapist’s box.
Michael Johnson Performance Center
This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Michael Johnson Performance Center (MJP) in Allen, Texas. As an intern there, my main roles were working as an opener, an Advanced Athlete Assessment (AAA) assistant, an AAA project manager, and a youth athletic trainer.
I learned that coaches not only work on the field with athletes, but also work for athletes behind the closed door in their office and sometimes even from their own home. For example, after working with Coach Cortney I found that there are endless mounds of paperwork coaches have to fill out and assess. I also learned is something that was not taught to me by the coaches, but was something I observed. I learned that many coaches feel overworked, underappreciated, underpaid, and feel like there is nothing they can do about it. Many coaches all over the world feel this way and yet continue to accept these conditions because athletic facilities know that there are limited athletic coaching positions available so the coaches must take what is available regardless of the conditions. This was an important piece of information to learn because it gave me insight into why athletic facilities might have a high turnover rate for both coaches and athletes.
But most importantly I learned that the coaches, physical therapists, Terry, and the office people all have one common goal. They all really want to help people be their best selves. They poured into their athletes to help them reach their goals. They poured into young students from across the world to help them be the next leaders in their communities. And they poured into us interns, to help us grow into the next version of ourselves for when we walked out of those MJP doors. That is what I really enjoyed about this internship.
Michael Johnson Performance (MJP)
At Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) I learned, I practiced and most importantly was challenged in many ways. I learned many new things about program design and methodology behind specific themes and activities. I was able to apply much of my APSM curriculum into practice during athlete assessments to fine-tuning program goals for the most efficient and productive training for each athlete.
The main duties I performed throughout the internship were shadowing trainers leading one-on-one or group sessions with athletes of all levels. Later in the internship, I was able to lead sessions after being cleared to do so as I progressed through the MJP Youth Training curriculum. Other duties I had were to log athlete profile data into the Nike research database, set-up and take-down for training sessions, maintain equipment organization and basic facility cleaning. I also helped do research write-ups for Bryan McCall with the purpose of modifying combine program designs to ensure that MJP offers the most elite and advanced research-based program for the NFL pre-draft athletes coming in.
I had many notable moments at MJP, but my top three experiences were actually not all performance-based experiences. One of the most memorable experiences was meeting and assisting in training of four MLB athletes. I am a big time Dodger’s baseball fan and one of those athletes is a player on the team. However, that was not the reason that made this a more notable experience. The simple fact that Drew allowed me to help train these professional athletes was an inspiring moment because it indicated to me that he trusted my knowledge and skill to monitor these professional players’ forms and know when to motivate them to safely challenge themselves further in their workouts. Another notable experience was being permitted to sit in on a few marketing, sales and social media meetings. Seeing other divisions that are essential to MJP and are not performance related was really eye-opening. It allowed me to see not only how the other divisions function, but how all divisions, including performance, work together. The final of the top three experiences I had would have to be shadowing one of the coaches named Jarod. He is the coach that I learned the most from in terms of communicating with athletes. Jarod is a youth training coach who has great energy and incredible knowledge, but what was most impressive was how easily he was able to translate his knowledge to the kids he trained so they understood the purpose of certain exercise and how to properly execute them.
White Rock Gynecology
This semester I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to intern at White Rock Gynecology. I shadowed alongside Dr. Javier Garcia, and his nurse, Camila Jaimes. When the semester began, I was the only assistance for Camila. I would help her bring back patients, fill out their charts, and take their vitals, which included weight, blood pressure, and sometimes a urine sample. I also filled out pap cards, which are similar to postcards reminding patients to make a well woman appointment for the following year. Since the office does not yet use electronic charts, I also learned to pull and file charts when Camila needed. In addition to the above office tasks, I was also able to shadow every single appointment with Dr. Garcia. I was rather surprised that not a single patient expressed discomfort with my presence in the room. I was able to see routine exams, colonoscopies, post-partum appointments, and sonograms. One of my favorite roles during shadowing was my role of listening to the fetal heartbeat. While it was nerve-wracking at first, I began to get very excited every time Dr. Garcia handed me the Doppler.
My first notable experience during my internship at White Rock Gynecology was when I first felt a baby kick while trying to locate the fetal heartbeat. After placing the gel on the patient’s bump, I began searching for the baby’s heartbeat. I was not particularly nervous, because the patient was about thirty-five weeks pregnant, which means that the heartbeat is fairly easy to find. Finding a heartbeat can be stressful when the patient is twenty weeks pregnant or less. It is harder to locate, and when a patient does not know that I am inexperienced, it can make them nervous. Instead of the typical sliding of the Doppler around until I found the heartbeat, I could feel push-back from the baby! I had never felt a baby kick before, and definitely not in response to me trying to listen to their heartbeat.
My second notable experience during my internship was a patient I saw with Human Papilloma Virus. Going in to this internship, I knew that HPV was incredibly common: about 80% of sexually active people encounter HPV at some point in their lives. While at White Rock, I learned that the two most severe strains of HPV are 16 and 18. The Gardasil Vaccine, a series of three shots that many get as teenagers, protects against HPV strains 16 and 18. This patient had some type of severe strain of HPV, which had progressed to what looked like cervical cancer from the naked eye. It could be seen and determined without needing to be sent to the lab: this patient would require surgery. She had had a normal pap smear just three years ago. This experience highlighted the importance of seeing your doctor every year.
My third notable experience during my internship was witnessing a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is the examination of one’s cervix, to search for potentially malignant abnormalities. When I shadowed doctors abroad in Lisbon, Portugal last summer, I saw a number of hysteroscopies done, in which polyps were removed laparoscopically while the patient was under anesthetic. Instead, I watched Dr. Garcia perform a cervical polypectomy in the office. He clamped on to the cervical polyp and twisted until it was removed from the patient’s cervix. The patient was in a great deal of pain, but she was grateful she did not have to be put under. I had always assumed a patient would be put under for a procedure that appeared to be so painful.
From these notable experiences, and many others, I learned four very important lessons. First, I learned the importance of having confidence in myself. When I arrived at White Rock, Camila immediately threw me in to the mix; the first thing she told me was, “Go start bringing patients back and get their vitals”. It is easy to feel as though you do not know how to do something, but it is harder to just begin trying it. Second, I learned the value of nurses in bridging the gap between the doctor and the patient. During particularly painful procedures, Dr. Garcia had to keep working to get the job done; however, Camila played a key role in communicating to the patient what she could expect, and how much longer the procedure would take. I think that as a doctor, it is easy to forget about the patient’s pain when you are focused on providing treatment in a safe, focused manner. Third, I learned the value of seeing a doctor every year. I had always believed it is absolutely essential to see your doctor every year, but now I have the evidence as to what can happen if you do not. Finally, I learned that having relationships with patients is incredibly meaningful. Dr. Garcia sees the same patients constantly; he knows about their relationships, previous pregnancies, and occupations. It is because of his relationships with patients that he can make judgement calls for how to provide them with proper care.
This internship opportunity was exactly the perspective I needed before nursing school. Having real clinical experience has made me more confident and comfortable in a fast-paced, medical environment. I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and to Dr. Jacobs and the Applied Physiology and Health Management department for connecting me with White Rock Gynecology, and to Dr. Garcia, Camila, and the rest of the White Rock staff for their willingness to teach. I look forward to applying the knowledge I have learned at White Rock in nursing school!
Ben De Leon
Autism Treatment Center
This semester I interned at the Autism Treatment Center. I’m excited to share all about my experience this semester, which will follow shortly. To be very general here while I introduce it all, I learned so much this semester. Not only did I learn about the field of Occupational Therapy, but I also learned a lot about myself. I learned how to be myself in the best way in the context of work, which was a really hard lesson to learn. Yet, as you’ll see, it was something that was very vital for me, and I know it’s only going to greatly help me in the future. I’ll get more in-depth with this later, and I’ll talk more about what else I’ve learned and how much I enjoyed getting to know the therapists and clients that work at this site. It’s been both hard and a blast, and something I won’t soon forget. Here we go!
To begin, I will talk about the different duties I performed throughout the semester. There were some things that I did pretty much every day I was there, and many things that weren’t quite so. I have to confess that I have a poor memory, but I will do my best to be as detailed and accurate as possible. On a daily basis, or at least every Monday and Wednesday, I would observe Lisa as she treated the clients. In the beginning, I simply watched and observed with minimal interaction. I struggled to find my place, which was one of the hardest things about this internship. I’ll get more into it later, but eventually I feel like I was able to find my place. After that, I interacted consistently and helped out whenever necessary. As has been made known, this has been a time of dramatic change for the Autism Treatment Center, so there have been times when Lisa has been busy helping fill the administrative role absence. That, and she’s just busy in general, and that left some room for me to step in and lead activities with the kids. When that wasn’t the case, which of course was the majority of the time, I would watch and interact when I felt appropriate. While I didn’t always do a whole lot, I got to know the kids pretty well and I loved that. I also got to learn a lot about how to treat kids with Autism and sensory issues. I’ll get into that later.
I experienced a lot of crazy and new things during this internship. Honestly, it’s hard for me to sum it up, but I’ll do my best to do so by offering my three most notable experiences. Firstly, something that happened during my very first week there. There was this kid that I, of course, had just met, and we were interacting very briefly. It’s important that you remember that there aren’t any male therapists that work there, so me being there was kind of new for everyone. This one kid was happy I was there, I think, because he proudly flexed his muscles to me. I was impressed! Additionally, he started telling the other therapists that I was his favorite, even though we had literally just met. That was a great way to be introduced to this place, and it also made me realize that, as the only male, I had a great opportunity to really connect with and help these kids. I continued to have a good relationship with this kid throughout my time, even though I didn’t see him all the time. It was really cool. Secondly, going over to the school was a really good experience for me. The kids stay at the school most of the day and are brought over to the therapy clinic when it’s their appointed time. However, there are several that aren’t allowed to come over, whether it’s for their own safety, everyone else’s, or both. These kids are what I would call very severely autistic. Seeing some of them and learning about them really opened my eyes. I saw how hard this job can be, because some of these kids are in a really bad place. Whether it’s because they’ve come from abuse or moms on drugs, there’s something wrong in their brains. Not all of them act out and are violent – although many are – but they all need help in some way. Going to the school and seeing different kinds of kids – especially those who can get violent– was important to see and learn. I’ll admit, there were times I was afraid. But it was also very sad to see, and it got me excited about possibly helping kids like them in the future. And finally, a couple of weeks ago I saw that I was really valued by the kids. While we were seeing one of the kids – one who they tell me always asks about “Mr. Ben” – I had to use the restroom. I walked away from seeing him for about one minute, no exaggerations there. While still gone, I hear his loud, high pitched voice go, “Mr. Ben! Where’s Mr. Ben?” He then began walking down the hall almost yelling my name because he didn’t know where I had gone. That was one of my favorite moments because it was obvious that I was valued and liked by the kids. A special bond has been created, and I certainly am going to miss and not forget these kids.
I learned a lot of different things throughout this semester. I think one of the biggest things I learned happened during the midterm evaluation. As all parties know, that was a tough and confusing thing for me to go through. I was struggling to find where my place was, and when was appropriate for me to take initiative. While true, I thought I was doing pretty well. Then the midterm came, and I realized I wasn’t putting my best foot forward when it came to being initiative and helping out. It was hard to be graded harshly, but it was important for me to learn that I needed to take more initiative and speak out. I needed to lead and offer to help more. I had to force myself to come out of my shell, and that’s something I’ll have to do at any job. Not only did it benefit me, it also helped everyone there along with the kids. It made the whole experience be more enjoyable and maximized my usefulness. That lesson is priceless and is something that will help me greatly in the future. I also learned a lot about how to directly treat autistic kids and/or kids with sensory deficits. One of the big things is pressure: providing pressure – whether it’s ankle weights, a weighted vest or lap pad, the tunnel, or a ball pit – makes these kids feel safe. Additionally, it’s important to give them lots and lots of different kinds of sensations, like oral brushing, brushing their skin, sour foods, sticky textures, etc. Practically, I learned how to make copies in bulk. That seems obvious, but it isn’t something I’d ever really done for a job, and that’s definitely a good skill to have moving forward. Especially since I’m still going to be young in my career, I’ll likely have to do this often. And finally, I learned just generally how to conduct myself in a work-place setting. I haven’t had a job besides in the restaurant business, which is obviously a totally different animal. I came into it very naïve and relaxed, and I honestly wasn’t sure what to do. Through the midterm and getting experience, I learned how I should conduct myself when working in this field, which is what I want to do. Beyond taking initiative and speaking out, I had to learn the importance of being professional and amicable. Like I said, I struggled with that at first, but I think I understand now how that should be done. No matter the setting, I should be well-dressed, timely, professional, and reliable. Even writing it now it sounds so obvious to me, but it’s something I had to learn by experience. This experience is vital, and I know it’s going to help me so much as I move forward in my career and in life in general.
Summer 2018 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Locomotor Performance Laboratory
This summer at the Locomotor Performance Laboratory has been everything I would have hoped. I was able to be a part of and learn many things that made it an invaluable experience.
One highlight of the summer was when Olympian English Gardner came into the lab to be a part of the acceleration study. It was a very cool experience to be able to meet an athlete of that caliber and interact with her. It was very memorable because even though she was of such a high status, she was easy to talk to and very personable. I look forward to when she will be back this fall for more testing.
Little did I know, this would be one of the most valuable, enlightening and humbling experiences I have ever had. The PTs, patients, and other techs taught me what physical therapy truly is about and why it is such an important field. With their different perspectives, they collectively helped me confirm that I do want to become a physical therapist and showed me the reasons why I want to become one.
A lesson that I learned was that you have to go out of your comfort zone in order to improve. During those first two weeks, I was outside of my comfort zone constantly and was struggling to remember why I wanted to become a PT. It seemed like I was messing up everything, but I did not realize how much I was learning at the same time. Looking back on those weeks, I realize that by pushing me out of my comfort zone and asking me to walk patients through exercises I had learned so recently, the PTs gave me a basis for my growing knowledge and helped me learn them that much quicker.
Bikram Yoga East Dallas
I did a wide variety of things during my internship. For one, I created marketing tools. I made coupons and business cards and printed them all myself. I designed mass emails as well as social media posts. I was also given the opportunity to promote the studio at events. These events took a good deal of time to plan and prepare for.
I learned that you have to do things even if they are slightly uncomfortable in order to grow and develop. Meeting and working with so many new people can be uncomfortable; however, I learned that by being okay with being uncomfortable I was able to learn and to develop experience in a variety of areas.
Over the past nine months, I have worked as a physical therapy technician for 3DPT. The main duties I performed as an intern for 3DPT were assisting physical therapists with patient care, data intake and related activities. Other aspects of the internship included routine cleaning, maintenance support operations, upholding regulatory standards of 3DPT’s policies and procedures, and maintaining patient privacy and comfort.
My final thoughts I have over the summer term at 3DPT cover the collaboration level, work ethic and congeniality of the site’s staff, the customer satisfaction level and the supervisor’s level of effectiveness. The clinic’s staff certainly operate in a manner that is up to par on the atmosphere that the owner was wishing to convey in his company being professional, kind, inviting, close-knit and working to your fullest potential.
The main duties that I performed as an intern with HealthFitness under Mark Scovill were to create a Wellness Champion Guidebook, create educational material, assist the international benefits team with rolling out a new program, and create a wellness program plan for Fluor employees. Going deeper into each of my main duties, looking at the Wellness Champion Guidebook, it is a book that is devoted to the Wellness Champions Mark has appointed in order to help them better understand their role, as well as the programs and incentives.
Fluor prides itself on being a trustworthy hard-working company and I think it truly shows with their employees and maintenance around the facility. In the end, I am so happy with how this internship finished. Mark was an amazing boss and I could not have asked for more from him. I am very thankful for this opportunity and the connections I have made from it and hope to continue along this road!
The interview with Erin from Te Tuinga Whanau Support was the highlight of my time with SociaLink. During the interview, I had a chance to see where the data I had spent so much time with actually came from. This was both rewarding and eye opening because I could see how some of the issues in the data had come about and see where there were some holes in the reporting.
Southwest Sports and Spine
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Southwest Sports and Spine as a physical therapy tech. When I first started working, I did not have much experience in physical therapy, other than having to attend therapy in the past for a dance injury, so I was not exactly sure what I would be doing. My experience definitely surpassed my expectations!
Southwest Sports and Spine’s mission is all about helping patients, “return to their full potential, as soon and as safely as possible.” During the eight weeks I was working at the office, a few patients completed their entire rehabilitation program and had great results. It was amazing to see the progress the patients made week to week.
Being an intern has been a life changing experience. At the start of summer, I felt confused about wanted to do for the rest of my life. I feared that I would like my internship so much that I would decide to change my career path, and that is exactly what happened to me. Being in a hospital work environment reaffirmed what I always wanted, to be a doctor.
I learned is that every patient is different and you have to have respect and empathy for him or her. Getting to know the culture of the hospital you are working in is very important to be able to get along with the other employees. Patient confidentiality because I was able to treat people I know and I want them to trust me in the future knowing that I will always follow my medical ethics. Lastly, medicine is very tedious and Dr. Nicole always taught me that one little mistake can lead to a very bad outcome. Every detail is important to give the right diagnosis and be able to treat it.
Michael Johnson Performance
One of the most notable experiences from my time at MJP was that English Gardner was training there. She was there every day, twice a day, and getting to see that was so interesting for me. What intrigued me most was how in-tune with her body she was. She would have little pains and would know where it came from at practice that day. She would get it worked on before it really became a problem.
The first lesson I learned was the importance of progressing patients through exercises. This could mean adding weight, time, sets or repetitions. Without progression, the patient would never improve which would defeat the purpose of physical therapy.
Spring 2018 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Cerebrovascular Lab at SMU
My experience working with Dr. P was very special. Working in her lab not only allowed me to gain research experience and practical skills, it also allowed me to find a mentor and a role-model to look up to. Dr. P is not only brilliant, but she is also thoughtful and generous with her time. She runs the lab efficiently but also allows interns autonomy so that they can learn. Watching and learning about her leadership style was invaluable. I hope to utilize some of her leadership skills in my future career.
I learned so much during my time at the CRL Lab, but four lessons stand out. I learned how to interact with subjects who are hurt, how research works, how to process data and also how to formally write and present research. These are all skills that I can transfer to any field, and they are even important in day-to-day life.
The Carrell Clinic
The Carrell Clinic works to provide the best care possible and cater to each individuals’ orthopedic need, however, in my opinion; the clinic does more and works above and beyond to accommodate every need of the patient. In this way the clinic lives up to its mission statement and works like a well-run machine with a clear organized structure indicating the specific roles of each employee.
Ultimately, I had such a fruitful semester working at the Carrell Clinic. I have learned a wealth of knowledge that I will carry with me for the remainder of my education and future career. Overall, I feel truly blessed to have worked as an intern at the Carrell Clinic.
The Carrell Clinic
My duties varied greatly as an intern at the Carrell Clinic. There was not one specific set of duties particularly tailored to interns. At the clinic, interns were essentially physical therapist techs who also happened to be students. It was nice not having to be separated from the others simply because I was a student. Essentially, a PT tech’s job was to ensure that the clinic ran smoothly and that the physical therapists could tend to their patients without anything interfering with their treatments.
In my opinion, the Carrell Clinic is a well-oiled machine. They provide excellent care for their patients and tie the patients’ medical needs with their current physical abilities in an effort to meet both the patients’ medical and personal goals. The supervisory staff gave good direct instruction to both the rest of the staff as well as us interns. I was fortunate that I was able to see many different management and instructional styles from each of the therapists I worked with. I believe that they were able to teach me their methods efficiently, and I was pleased with myself for learning how to adapt to each of their different styles.
SMU Cerebral Vascular Laboratory
During the semester, I progressed from the tedious task of peak-detecting vital signs in Windaq, to writing a manuscript with Dr. Purkayastha on postural control, as well as continually peak-detecting more and more files. However, overall as an intern, the main duties are to peak-detect files in Windaq, put the generated excel data from peak-detecting into templates to further analyze the data, and then put that newly analyzed data into a group file/master key so all the information is in one spreadsheet and easy to read. On top of the data analysis, interns also have the opportunity to assist in the studies and interact with the patients.
As a whole, this past semester in Dr. P’s lab has been an unforgettable experience. I have learned so much about concussions, cerebral blood flow, neurovascular regulation, and data analysis as well as patience, accuracy, dedication, and communication skills. Throughout this semester, I gained clinical experience, scientific knowledge, presentation skills, and most importantly, relationships that I hope to continue in the years to come. I truly admire Dr. P’s leadership style, her strong work ethic and dedication to research. I am so glad I committed to this internship and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a site.
Thermal and Vascular Physiology Laboratory under Dr. Craig Crandall
During my time at the IEEM, there were many experiences that stood out to me, and it is hard to limit them to three significant experiences. However, if I had to choose, they would be; when I was offered a job at the IEEM over the summer, when I was able to go to Austin for Texas ACSM and represent not only SMU but also the IEEM, and when I was able to see one of the post-testing patients. As well as having many meaningful experiences during my time as an intern, I also learned many important lessons. The first lesson was the importance of networking, and I learned this lesson early on. I was able to work in this lab due to Dr. Davis’ connection to Dr. Crandall, but also because Dr. Huang had just finished his doctorate at SMU under Dr. Davis. Another connection was that both of the research associates, Manall Jaffery and Sarah Bailey, attended SMU for their undergraduate degrees. It made me realize how well connected SMU is, as well as how important it is to keep good connections with people you meet.
Knights Volleyball Academy
Over the course of the semester, I created practice plans, helped to coach proper technique to help avoid injuries both in athletic training and skills training, and worked with athletes who had specific injuries to be able to offer pain-management and injury prevention tips for athletes of various skill levels and ages.
Another notable experience I had was when one of the players on the 14U team tore her ACL/MCL/meniscus in practice. I have been working with small injuries of athletes since I started coaching volleyball when I was in high school, but this was the most intense injury I had been exposed to. At first, I was in a little bit of shock myself because I hadn’t seen the injury happen and I had never seen an injury like that before. After taking a second to collect myself, I was able to test the player’s knee and palpate it, as well as ask her questions about what happened and what she could feel/not feel. This was notable in the sense that it was the first time my athletic training knowledge was really tested.
Fall 2017 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center
At the conclusion of my internship, I look back and realize how blessed I was to be at FYZICAL. The employees have brought me nothing but joy and support. Our interconnectedness is one of the best qualities FYZICAL has. FYZICAL is a franchise leading the charge to transform healthcare from one of “sick care” to “well-care” by providing services focused on outcomes, total well-being, and prevention.
It is so valuable in making a difference in society and my job. I can truly say that every single person I work with brings a light to the profession that changes the way I want to work. At the end of the day, our patients are people. We all live separate lives, but during those sessions at FYZICAL we have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Health Professional Building – University of Texas Southwestern
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the professors and students. It has been really encouraging to see their strength in community and the way they pursue and push each other to reach their full potential. Overall, it was an immense learning experience.
One way in which I believe the UTSW PA Health Professions buildings and school stands out among other schools is their strong sense of community. Each faculty member has the same hard working ethic, seeks help and advice from fellow faculty, and maintains a relaxed and enjoyable working environment. In this way they abide by their mission to encourage excellence among their faculty, staff, students and graduates.
Summer 2017 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Texas Orthopaedic Associates
This story leads me to one of the major important lessons that I learned this summer: the patients that smile all the time are usually the ones that need your help the most. Nine times out of ten, the people coming into physical therapy are not okay—no matter how many times they tell you that they are.
Listening is one of the hardest skills to learn, and this summer I learned that first hand. No one can make you listen to others except yourself. Although some patients’ problems might seem minute or petty, everything is relative.I feel that because I came into the summer already knowing the basics of being a PT tech, I was able to work on my managing and patient care skills more so than if I had started at a new facility. I feel that I learned more about how to be a physical therapist than how to be a physical therapy technician, and I feel that that will aid me greatly as I pursue my physical therapy career.
Fit180 Personal Training Studio
Every day when I first got to the gym, I was in charge of keeping the towel shelf stocked and putting any towels in the laundry that needed to be cleaned. I also went around the gym and just put any equipment that wasn’t being used anymore or had been left out. Most of my days during the week were spent with her attending meetings, sitting in on conference calls, pitching ideas, and handling different tasks.
I just thought it was really cool to sit in on my first ever business meetings and meet all of these different people. I got to meet the founder of the Simplified Genetics, the founder of McGuiness Dermatology, the owner of high-end apartment complex, and the founder of Nuuvo Health. I got to sit in with several meetings with these different entrepreneurs and watch business deals come to life.
Southwest Sports and Spine Katy Trail
Overall, I could not have been happier with how my internship turned out. I have learned so many things and have gotten to know so much more about my future career goals throughout my experience.
The past summer has been one of the most enlightening and educational summers I have ever had and has truly helped me determine my future career goals. I completed my 250-hour internship at Southwest Sports and Spine Katy Trail, a physical therapy clinic.
Autism Treatment Center
One of the lessons I learned is how essential it is to be patient in a therapy setting such as the Autism Treatment Center. It can be very discouraging to see a client show great steps of improvement one day, followed by a series of off days during which it appears that they are regressing. Although it can be hard to stay positive at times, it is important to stay diligent with the treatment plan and never give up.
My most notable experience occurred on a day that one of the clients was having an off day and had a challenging behavioral episode, during which the rest of us had to stay in the section of rooms that we were working in with the most outer door shut. At some point during the client’s episode, the fire alarm was pulled multiple times. Throughout the whole situation, I was quite impressed with the way it was handled by everyone and how the therapists were able to keep the kids calm and distracted for an extended period of time.
Another notable experience I had was my first day at the ATC. Although I was new and no one knew who I was, everyone was very welcoming, said hi and introduced themselves. They were all willing to explain anything to me and answer any questions I had. I was able to easily catch on to how each days’ schedule flowed and get a feeling for the day-to-day schedule and way of doing things.
Michael Johnson Performance
The four lessons I learned really have to do more with how to coach. The four lessons are my coaching voice, coaching cues, how to enforce rules, and how to have fun. I learned how to use my coaching voice after I got feedback from a coach telling me that I need to be louder when coaching drills, as well being more direct when coaching. After receiving feedback telling me I need to be loud and commanding, I saw a difference in the way the kids listened to me when I started raising my voice more.
The facility is a well-oiled machine working together collectively. I think that the way the whole staff interacts with each other is very positive and everyone seems to like being around and being involved together. The program that MJP runs is very effective in producing results, and I have seen it first hand with inputting athlete data. The whole staff works very hard at what they do and they really help each other out all the time.
The experience that was a huge breakthrough for me was being able to be hired to work the Lebanon Trails off-site camp. I was able to really come into my own as a coach here and figure out how I am as a coach. I was able to really run things how I wanted to, coach kids how I wanted, and really get some great experience.
Texas Orthopaedic Associates
The second highlighted experience that was very notable was the compliment that I received from two of the physical therapist at TOA. As they had been observing me and as I started building a relationship with everyone it was easy for them to talk to me and vice versa. They shared with me that there were a lot of patients that had been complementing me. They themselves also complemented me and told me to keep up everything that I had been doing. This was very rewarding information and made me feel as though all my hard work hadn’t been going unnoticed.
This lesson reassured to me that that working hard work and giving your best is always the right thing to do, whether people notice it in the beginning or not. At the end of my time at TOA it was brought to my attention that not everyone at TOA knew I was an intern. This was a very big compliment as well with me grasping all the duties of a full-time tech.
Another valuable lesson that I learned while interning was considerateness. This lesson was very vital with in the field of physical therapy. The patients that come into the facility are usual in pain or experiencing discomfort. With that being said, the patients tone or delivery may not always be the best. Regardless, it is always important to respect other opinions and wishes. Being thoughtful, friendly, and courteous are always important.
Central Coast Family Care
The next most notable experience I had was actually with one of the MDs in the office. He was injecting a knee and called me over to watch. The patient receiving the injection was a candidate for a total knee replacement but was trying to avoid surgery. So to avoid surgery the doctor was removing some of the synovial fluid in a patient’s knee joint and replacing it with a synthetic serum which is supposed to mimic the synovial fluid and relieve some of the patient’s pain. The coolest part of this experience was that after the doctor removed the fluid from the knee, he squirted some onto my hand to I could see what synovial fluid really felt like, it was similar to motor oil and it was really awesome to see in person.
My favorite task was when Adrienne would let me scribe for her. I would type the history of present illness for the patients while she dictated, while we were in the room. I really enjoyed this because I felt like I got to get more involved in the patient visit.
Adrienne and the MDs in the office all work well together and collaborate often on patient care. Adrienne is very effective at time management and sees her patients in an efficient and timely manner. She works well with others, is very reliable, trustworthy and intelligent, I think that almost every employee in the office goes to her for medical care.
Carrell Clinic Physical Therapy
Every member of the clinic was always proactive, organized, and working hard, which ultimately says a lot about the manager. The clinic had one of the best cultures I have ever experienced and Carrell Clinic set the bar high for any other place I work in the future. I enjoyed my time interning for them this summer and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team and clinic.
The second lesson I learned was that a little goes a long way. When working individually with patients, being just slightly happier and more positive than you normally are can really impact the mood of the patient. There were plenty of times where I could see how my positive attitude and mood rubbed off on the patients and made them excited to be there. This lesson in patient care will be valuable to me when working with patients or customers in the future.
Lastly, I learned that work doesn’t always have to be serious and boring, and that it is ok to have fun. The PTs and aids that I was fortunate enough to work alongside were all great people and the clinic felt like a family. We had fun at work every single day and our patients had fun as well. Carrell clinic allowed me to see work as something fun and enjoyable, and not something to dread.
Carrell Clinic Physical Therapy
I learned that in the field it is vital to stay current on the newest treatments and information so that you can treat the patients to the best of your ability. Being in this field you must constantly be learning and that is one of the most attractive aspects about this field to me.
I’m very thankful for this internship because it taught me more than I could’ve even imagined. For example, it taught me the importance of networking and selling yourself to the people around you. I came into work every day with a lot of energy and worked hard and by the end of the internship they offered me a job to be a physical therapy tech and all insisted if I ever needed anything just to let them know, including helping me with applying to physical therapy school which will be helpful because I don’t know much about that at all.
Harvard University – Strength and Conditioning
The amount of involvement with the athletes that we received as interns really allowed us to test how good we are at connecting with athletes. The “customer satisfaction level” would refer to the happiness of the athletes and would manifest in their eagerness to come train each day. Based on my observations, I was not able to pinpoint a single athlete that wasn’t happy to be there each day.
The full-time coaches were always willing to field whichever questions that we had about any number of topics related to the profession and were always working extremely hard to make sure that every objective was met on a daily basis. As interns, we were held to an exceptionally high standard and pushed to our limits on most days.
Southern Methodist University – Strength and Conditioning
Strength and Conditioning interns at Southern Methodist University have 3 duties: seek knowledge, uphold the standards and traditions of the department, and add value to the department. Seeking knowledge should be the number one duty at any internship, however, here it goes beyond learning the day to day activities of the paid individuals on staff. Interns are expected to learn outside of the weight-room, football field, or soccer field.
Although we learned about the importance of culture in the internship prep class and memorized the saying that “culture trumps everything,” it is another thing to see it put into practice and feel a culture of excellence. After being part of an amazing culture, I leave feeling both changed for the better and optimistic that I can emulate that culture in my future organizations.
Ursa Bezan Petric
SURF Program – UT Southwestern Simmons Research Center
In order to comply with SURF program my main duties were to design a project, create a hypothesis, collect the data, analyze the results and interpret the data on the poster for final presentation. Furthermore, in the lab I also had a duty to help the post docs with their studies and at the weekly lab meetings report on the work in progress.
The collaborative environment between different fields of sciences and health care professionals really drives the progress forward and optimizes the effectiveness of UTSW to its maximum. All the amazing hands on opportunities that are provided for students are very valuable in order to create and educate leading professionals in their fields. I really believe that UTSW research center specifically to my experience operates with high effectiveness.
White Rock Gynecology
I would to first begin by stating that this internship was hands down one of the best experiences I have ever had. Without having this opportunity, I think I would still be tossing back and forth between which career I would like to pursue: nursing, PA school, or medical school. I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to discuss my future plans with Dr. Garcia.
I surprised myself with how much I was able to absorb in a matter of roughly three months. The first main duty that I did on a daily basis was to triage patients by checking blood pressure, pulse, weight, jotting down significant medical history, and accurately listing all medications. It was important that I greeted each patient with a smile and instilled that first gesture of trust.
Spring 2017 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Izzy Eastment at Equest
My main responsibilities as an intern evolved throughout the time I worked at Equest, but there were some duties that stayed consistent throughout. I worked with both Equine Therapeutic Riding clients as well as the hippotherapy clients which I really enjoyed because it gave me experience with the two main types of therapy that they offer at Equest. The majority of the classes I worked with were hippotherapy classes in which the clients have a greater variety of disabilities and use the movement of the horse to help physically strengthen different areas of their bodies.
One of my biggest weaknesses as a person is that I am very unwilling to try new things and I heavily prefer things and activities that are familiar to me. Therefore, this internship pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way that allowed me to experience something new while still feeling familiar in a horse setting. Not only did I become more experienced with interacting with disabled people but I also gained more experience working with just people in general. With every lesson there is a new group of volunteers or a different instructor to work with, and everyone has to learn to work well together so that the lesson may run as smoothly as possible and so that the client can get the most out of their riding time.
Overall I consider myself lucky to be involved with an organization such as this one and I plan on staying involved with them as long as I live in the DFW area. From working with both the staff and the clients at Equest I was able to not only learn about equine assisted therapy but really develop a passion for it and for the individuals that it serves. Equest truly creates a community that makes you want to give back and makes you feel so rewarded to experience how the lives of their clients are truly impacted through their program.
Megan Hecimovich at the Institute for Leadership Impact and Center for Global Health
Working for Dr. Bing in the Institute for Leadership Impact and Center for Global Health I was exposed to a lot. Most of the daily responsibilities were administrative tasks and were centered on Dr. Bing’s Global and Public Health class. These tasks included things such as printing/copying documents for class, technology assistance during class, and setting up the classroom before and after class on Thursday nights. Eventually I was able to become the official Teaching Assistant for the class so my duties then included Canvas management, grading, and correspondence with students.
Another experience that I would like to highlight falls in this same category of being attached to my future career as a teacher. Dr. Bing gave me the opportunity to lead a portion of one of the classes. I lead the discussion on the Aravind Eye Care Case, which was actually my favorite case from taking the class last year. This is a highlighted experience because not only did I get to take on more of a teacher-like role in the class, but it forced me to prepare for the class in advance and be ready to not only follow along with the discussion but lead it.
Finally, probably one of the most important lessons that I learned this semester is the power of listening. This is not necessarily something that I have mastered but I learned it from observing Dr. Bing and his interactions with his students this semester. Dr. Bing made the point to me one day that “all students have value” and really the only way to find that out is by talking to students one-on-one and really listening to what they have to say. Dr. Bing did this with a few different students who he had noticed struggling in the class and just from having a conversation with them it was amazing to see the improvement they showed. This is definitely a skill that I intend to practice in my own teaching career with my students in the fall.
Hannah Dart at the Carrel Clinic
An intern at Carrel Clinic is expected to fulfill the role of a physical therapist’s technician. Technicians act as a physical therapist’s co-pilot. They assist with retrieving patients from the waiting room, helping patients with exercises; specifically when therapists have more than one patient scheduled, cleaning tables after each appointment, and retrieving hot packs/ice for patients prior to or after an appointment, keeping areas clean and clear of excess equipment, and laundering the pillowcases and towels. Technicians are an integral part in allowing the appointment to go smoothly.
Throughout my time at the clinic I learned to anticipate this and slowed down my explanations because the name itself did not act like a prompt on these patients like it did on younger patients. Technicians have many jobs so it is important that they are able to multitask and learn to become efficient so that they can tend to patients when needed.
I learned a lot during these past months. I learned how easily my attitude would rub off on the patients. If I am too bubbly or hopeful with the patients and they have a bad session they will feel even worse about their lack of progress. But, if I am helping a patient who is stuck in a recovery rut it is important to keep their mind off the lack of progress. Knowing the patients I was working with I learned how to change my tone, pace of speaking, and topic of conversation depending on how they were feeling that day and where they were with their recovery.
Chris Anders at KinetikChain
The culture found at my internship made all the difference in helping me to learn and realize that an organization’s uniqueness is what makes each business standout. My internship at the KinetikChain afforded me the privilege to experience learning in an environment that welcomed my thoughts and ideas in a relaxed, professional culture. As an intern at the KinetikChain, my position was not only to increase my knowledge and skill level working in a clinical business setting, but it was a great opportunity for me to prove my passion and determination.
I thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience at KinetikChain from the relationships built to the knowledge gained. The environment of the clinic is one that most people dream of working in or hope to create for their own employees and cliental. The formula and process this business follows is so successful that I feel even in the constantly changing world of healthcare they will continue to experience success.
I soon realized that learning and cultivating my emotional intelligence and self-awareness was as paramount as my clinical education was during my internship. The first important lesson I learned during my time at KinetikChain was to increase my patience while working with patients and a better understanding that my expectations, if not controlled, could be detrimental to a patient’s progress. Being self-aware that I hold myself to high expectations and those expectations may not be realistic or fair to hold others to make it possible for me to step-back and appreciate the process.
Kelsey Gorney at Mednet Surgical
Throughout the semester I had many duties as an intern at Mednet Surgical. Since we sell a product, not a service, I had learn my product like the back of my hand. I needed to know how it worked, how to explain it to a heart team at the surgery table, what potential things could go wrong using it and who our competitors were. My company sells two types of sternal closure systems that included cables and a plating system. In the beginning I spent many days in the office learning how to handle our product and watching videos of it being inserted into a patient.
Another part of my job as an intern was to promote sales in the DFW territory and generate new sales. I had to do some research on what doctors were at certain hospitals and what they were currently using to close up the sternum whether it be wires or another competitor’s product. Some doctors are really hard to get a hold of or do not take meetings so as a salesman you have to figure out how to get their interest. I had to schedule lunches and demo meetings with surgeons so we could deliver a sales pitch.
Another great experience during my internship is when I got to go down to Houston for a couple days and shadow Elisa. At my company, and from being in the hospital and meeting other reps, I have noticed there are not many women in this field. Therefore, it was nice to see how she did things and connected with doctors. I felt very comfortable with her, which made it easier to ask questions that I probably would not have wanted to ask my male co-workers.
Fall 2016 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships:
Excel Pediatric Physical Therapy Rockwall
Excel Pediatric Physical Therapy Rockwall provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children and adolescents. Patients with a multitude of neurological, orthopedic, and developmental diagnosis are treated at this facility. The staff specializes in working with children with autism and ADHD. Many of these children have sensory disorders and require innovative therapy as well as traditional care. It is owned and operated by two physical therapists, one of whom was my supervisor.
One of my main duties for this internship was to check off all of the exercises that the children did while in session with [my superviser]. This helped reinforce the knowledge and nuance between the exercises and the work done on the nervous system. The exercises were categorized by the sensory system they predominantly used. Occasionally, I would help begin a child’s therapy session if [my supervisor] was having a parent conference or updating a parent on the specifics of a child’s progress or condition . Not only did I learn the administration of the initial exercises in [my supervisor] absence, but I also learned the importance of communication between the therapist and the parents.
The staff at Excel is very friendly, and they clearly have a unified team relationship. It is a positive place to work. My supervisor is a great teacher and life encourager. It is evident that she deeply cares about children, and seeks to provide the best care and equipment for her patients. The collaboration, the environment, and the experience of working with the Excel staff was a great experience.
Lindsey & Bobbie Embrey Sports Medicine Complex
This Fall I was able to work in the Lindsay and Bobbie Embrey Sports Medicine Complex located here on SMU’s campus. While working in the training room, I was able to work with the Men’s Soccer team, the Women’s Soccer team, the Rowing team, and the Women’s Tennis team. In working with these teams and the athletic trainers that are responsible for these teams, I was able to help with practices and competitions as well as various treatments and rehabilitations for the sports. The main duties that I preformed in the athletic training room were setting up and breaking down the fields for both practices and competitions. When setting up for practices and games, I was in charge of making sure that all the emergency equipment was taken out. Another duty of mine was helping the athletic trainers with treatments and rehabilitations of student athletes.
A highlight of my internship experience was helping the Women’s tennis athletic trainer with two tennis tournaments that were hosted by SMU. During these tournaments I was able to aid the tennis players not only from SMU but that athletes that attend other universities. I was in charge of setting up and breaking down of the game day equipment on the courts. I was also able to provide first aid to any of the athletes that came into the training room needing help. The athletics trainers were able to give me hands on experience in a controlled environment so that I was able to better learn.
While I have been working in the athletic training room before I started this internship, I was able to gain a better understand of the athletic training profession and gain more knowledge through this internship. The staff is truly a family and I was thankful that I was able to be a part of this family not only for the semester that I spent gaining my internship hours but also for the 3 years that I worked there. When I transferred to SMU, I was still unsure of what career I wanted. It was not until I started working in the athletic training that I found my passion. The staff truly took me under the wings and taught me more that I could have expected. I am truly thankful to the SMU Athletic Training Staff for helping to further my knowledge as well as their support in my future as an athletic trainer.
Student Athletic Trainer with SMU Football
As a student athletic trainer, many duties are given to me throughout the week in order to assist the head athletic trainer, the assistant athletic trainer, and the football athletic trainer. My interest in this internship was specifically working with the SMU Football team, so many of my duties revolved around football treatment times, practice, and breakdown time. Student athletes come in at appointed times for treatments. Several advanced treatments took place, along with physical therapy, and concussion protocols. Treatment modalities allowed to be administered by students consisted of Electronic Muscle Stimulators (or stim for short), Ultrasound therapy, HIVAMAT deep oscillation therapy, Normatech air compression, and Gameready cold therapy. Various other therapies that were also allowed to student trainers included an ice massage, muscle scraping, and muscle rolling.
Being a part of this large organization came with many learning moments and memories. A positive highlight was when everyone was travelling for the Eastern Carolina University game. Everyone who was there worked very efficiently and assisted the ATC team effectively. Away games are always a logistical challenge, and travelling via plane, and then immediately jumping out of business professional clothes, into athletic wear, and then moving 300-400lb chests and numerous amounts of equipment is no easy task. No one complained and everyone kept a positive and upbeat attitude, which contributed in finishing the work very quickly.
The lessons I learned from being a student athletic trainer for the football team include the importance of constant communication, quick decision making skills, a strong work ethic, and the importance of teamwork. Learning how to face the problem and how to have constructive dialogue with a coworker are skills I surely improved on this year. Teamwork is what made this boat continue chugging along and it is also, what made the boat stick together.
Southwest Sports & Spine- Katy Trail
Since November 2015, I have been working as a student intern at Southwest Sports & Spine – Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas. Initially, I was observing and shadowing the physical therapists for a few weeks and then was assigned the position of physical therapy technician. The primary duties of a physical therapy technician include assisting the therapists by staging equipment, cueing the patients of their exercises and updating therapy notes/flowsheets. About 6 months into the internship program, I was cross-trained to assist the front desk receptionist. During the remainder of my internship at the clinic, I was assigned to complete duties for both positions.
Besides learning several vocabularies mainly used in physical therapy including: anatomical directions (supination, pronation, anterior, posterior, abduction and adduction), exercise therapy names (“Thomas stretch,” “Figure 4,” “Leg-Over,” retraction & protraction) and different types of exercises (isotonic, isometric and eccentric); I experienced working next to experts who have been in the field for at least five to ten years. My experience provided an opportunity to understand a specialist's perspective regarding the field of physical therapy and expanded my knowledge as a student.
Another highlighted experience I had at the clinic is providing service to the patients. I met an average of 24 patients per 8-hour shifts which immensely improved my bed-side manners. The clinic serves adult population and a few adolescent patients that are active or working around the Dallas Uptown area. The main physical therapy goal is to restore the condition of these patients before the injury. A few memorable times working at the clinic inlcude seeing the patients start out therapy using crutches/braces or right after their surgeries and eventually walk and run again after a few months of physical therapy. It is very rewarding watching patients recover and improve their gait.
PhysAssist Medical Scribe
My primary role as a medical scribe is to increase the efficiency and speed of medical care. I perform this role by completing the medical charting for my designated physician. This means that I record personal medical history, surgical history, drug allergies and previous consultations of individual patients while the physician is examining them. Additional duties include transcribing physical examinations and documenting test results, including scan and EKG interpretations, plus accurately noting follow-up care and recommendations. Along this process, I was fortunate enough to work with brilliant doctors who were kind enough to give me some pearls of medical knowledge while on the job.
The greatest lesson I could have learned from this job is the importance of patient care. Our role as a medical provider is to treat and care for the well-being of our patients. There is no better feeling than seeing a patient’s life saved or improved due to the medical care we can provide. After we treated my very first patient on the job, I knew what my purpose was in this world. I want to improve the lives of others. I am fortunate to have decided to work in a setting where I can see examples of this every day. This gives me hope.
Personally, my work ethic has improved not only in school but my outside life as well. I see how these physicians manage their time even in their daily lives. They have inspired me to go to the gym more regularly and the importance of fitness. Of course, I have been learning about physical education and activity through APSM. However, it holds a bit more weight when medical doctors are relaying similar information on physical activity and work ethic in and outside the hospital. If there is any student who is borderline serious about medicine as a profession, I would HIGHLY recommend applying for a scribe job in the DFW Metroplex.
TexStar Physical Therapy
For the past four months, I have been an intern at a physical therapy clinic named TexStar Physical Therapy. During this time my duties have fluctuated but I was always given the opportunity to understand the intricacies of what goes into to being part of a physical therapist. My duties during this semester were a combination of office work and therapy help. If the physical therapists had an evaluation of a patient, my main duty was to lead the patient through his or her exercises and stretches. That usually looked like me stretching their hamstrings or providing them with a Thera band or an exercise ball. One of my main duties that were given to me during the semester was to go through the exercise and stretching program that the therapist had written up for that patient. I particularly remember leading two women in their exercises and it gave me a lot of experience on the job on how to talk to and instruct someone on how to perform an exercise.
From this internship, I learned a physiological lesson about the body. The physical therapist showed and talked me through the lessons and processes of how the back is the central cause nerve damage and pain in a person. They taught me about the fluid between the discs and physically showed how extension and flexion affects the hip, leg, and arm pain. Also after Anatomy, I understood the impact of the nervous system in the body, but I never saw up close the physical impact of stretching the back has on arm and hip pain. I saw after 2 minutes of extension that had he more flexibility and reduced pain.
The mission statement of Texstar is, “We are a TEAM of committed, passionate and positive physical therapists who strive to give you the best opportunity to heal. We take pride in the very best possible care for patients in our clinic.” The effectiveness of the clinic to this mission statement is very true. They are committed because each physical therapist will work at least ten hours a day one time a week. The positivity is there because they always try and mention the littlest improvements in range of motion. This clinic takes pride in providing the best care. I know this because I fill out the initial forms for discharges and in the past month over 20 people have been discharged due to them not needing therapy because they healed or are able to function. I view that as proof that they provide the very best possible care and treatment for patients.
Summer 2016 Applied Physiology & Health Management Internships: