My main responsibility during my internship was to monitor patients that are recovering from heart-related events such as heart attacks, stents, or bypass surgeries. During their sessions, we monitor all of their vitals to make sure everything is where it needs to be. We observe their heart rate, check their RPE scale, and we take their blood pressures at rest before and after exercise, as well as an exercising blood pressure. Another responsibility I have is to teach our patients the different education topics we have each week. A few examples of our topics are the FITT principle, target heart rate, RPE scale, goal setting, stretching, and the benefits of exercise. Lastly, I must go through each patient's EKG strips and interpret any abnormalities they may have had while exercising.
My greatest accomplishment during my internship experience was gaining more confidence in myself. At the beginning of my internship, I was nervous and hesitant if I was gonna be able to do this or not. It is a lot to take in those first few days, but after that, it slowly becomes easier. The more comfortable I became, the more I kept pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone. This led me to become more confident in myself when working with the patients and I started to build relationships with them.
The greatest lesson I learned from my experience is that no two patients are the exact same and they need to be treated as individuals. Each patient has different capabilities and we have to be able to accommodate them in any way they need. Their age, weight, previous physical activity level, or the procedure they had done can determine what they can do while they are exercising with us. It is important for us to have patience with the patients and give them the best exercise prescription that will be the most beneficial for them.
What advice would you give?
My best advice for future students is to not be afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Being an intern for the first time can be nerve-wracking but it is the first time you will be getting a taste of the working world in our field, so embrace it. You will never know what you are truly capable of until you start to challenge yourself and pursue opportunities for you to learn more. When you do this it allows you to gain more knowledge and expose yourself to new experiences. Being an intern will only help you grow as an individual and gain the confidence you need to enter the workforce.