Ever since I was a child I had always been overweight. When I was a senior in high school I had hit my highest weight of 207 pounds. I remember going to my primary care doctor to get a physical before I headed off to college, and I distinctly remember my doctor telling me that I needed to start making some major lifestyle changes if I wanted to avoid possible weight-related health problems. This was my wake-up call. I started seriously turning to exercise as a means to fix my current health status. I reached my lowest weight in August of 2016 at 135 pounds – a total of seventy-two pounds lost; it was at this time that I had achieved a normal BMI reading for the first time in my life, and it was in this moment that I decided I needed to make my new-found passion for health my future career.
Fall semester of 2016, four semesters already under my belt, I switched my major to pursue what I truly feel like is my life’s purpose – helping those around me achieve a higher quality of life through optimal health status. I began Edinboro University as a Mathematics Education major. However, I have never felt more at home than I do in the Health and Physical Education Department as a Human Performance major. This is why I want to become a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) and work in Cardiac Rehabilitation.
I will be completing an internship this summer at UPMC Hamot’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Unit in Erie, Pennsylvania. My internship experience will be divided into two sections, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. In phase one of the Cardiac Rehabilitation section, consultation, my duties will primarily revolve around observation. I will observe and interact during consultations with new clients, assist in completing client paperwork, and learn how to properly execute fitting exercise prescription plans for patients based on their medical history and current physical abilities. In phase two of the cardiac rehabilitation section I will learn appropriate EKG hookup for telemetry monitoring and how to properly execute an EKG test. I will assist patients in signing in, hooking up their heart rate monitors, and explaining their exercise prescription to them. By the end of phase two I will be able to properly take patients’ blood pressures at rest and during exercise, be able to obtain blood sugar readings for diabetic patients, and identify normal and abnormal EKG rhythms. In the pulmonary rehabilitation phase of my internship I will be able to understand normal and abnormal oxygen saturations within patients at rest and during exercise. Additionally, I will be able to properly adjust oxygen intake levels according to SPO2 readings.
I want to spend the rest of my life assisting others in their journey to lead healthier and happier lives and I feel that I can do that through a career as a CEP in Cardiac Rehabilitation. I believe that the experience and knowledge that I have gained from my undergraduate classes will complement the skills that I will master through my internship; I truly trust that this experience will help me succeed as a future Certified Exercise Physiologist.