Role: Exercise Physiologist at UC Health
Professional School: Miami University, graduated in 2016
Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I started Denison as a Chemistry major, wanting to go to pharmacy school but quickly decided chemistry was not for me. I switched to a Biology major my sophomore year, still wanting a career somewhere in the medical field. I shadowed several professions during my junior year, searching for the right fit. I found that perfect fit in Cardiac Rehab as an Exercise Physiologist.
What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
The reason I love going to work every day is because I know I am positively influencing the lives of so many people. My profession is so incredibly rewarding because I help cardiac and pulmonary patients improve their health through exercise and education about living a healthy lifestyle. I physically see improvement in these patients as they make their way through rehab. I am very passionate about living a healthy life by eating well and exercising. I also love knowing how exercise positively affects the body, so getting to share that knowledge with individuals every day is a lot of fun.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Sometimes we get patients who are not willing to change. Trying to help patients who are stubborn or who really don’t have the desire to improve their poor habits is very frustrating. However, I’ve learned that sometimes it just takes more time for some people to want to change aspects of their lifestyle and that I might just have to try a little harder and be patient because usually these patients will improve in some way by the end of rehab.
Describe what a “typical day” looks like for you.
When I come to work, I first set up a few things for the day. By 8:00, patients start coming in for their cardiac rehab classes. We have 7 classes three days a week with up to 12 patients per class. During each class, the staff and I rotate jobs. The jobs include sitting at the EKG monitor and telling each patient what levels on the cardio equipment they should be on, taking blood pressures, and doing individual treatment plans with patients. We also teach various education classes every Wednesday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for pulmonary rehab which is very similar to cardiac rehab, but patients aren’t hooked up to an EKG monitor. On those days, we also do orientations with new patients where we talk about their health history and document the evaluation prior to starting their rehab program.
What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
I recommend shadowing an Exercise Physiologist in cardiac rehab first to see if that career path is right for you, do an internship during the summer to get some experience, get a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology after Denison, and then work on getting an ACSM certification.