One Personal Trainer Makes Technical Communication Personal

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Jadarius Willis Boot Camp

Jadarius Willis Boot Camp

Personal Training is a wide-spread, rapidly growing industry. With obesity levels on the rise, many people are attempting to combat weight gain with a healthy change in their lifestyle. For many of these people, hiring a certified personal trainer is one of the first steps of their fitness journey.

Jadarius Willis is a certified personal trainer here in Ruston, Louisiana. Through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), he is certified for both personal training and group training. With this certification, he is currently employed at Anytime Fitness as a part-time personal trainer. Jadarius is also completing his dual degree in Kinesiology and Psychology at Louisiana Tech University.

In a small town like Ruston, aspiring entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to reach a wide range of people quite easily. In this small rural community, news travels fast and new clients are easily accessible. Jadarius takes full advantage of this in order to promote himself and his growing business.

For Jadarius, word of mouth has been a tremendous help in jump starting his progress. However, he realized very early on that in order to promote his business and launch his career, public technical communication would benefit him the most. He says that telling his friends and classmates about his business has been beneficial, but his Facebook page “has really helped [me] reach the general public and created a wider range of potential clients”. He tries to keep his public page “professional yet fun” to give off an approachable and friendly vibe.

In keeping up with the times, Jadarius has also created an Instagram profile where he can upload photos and videos of his clients and their training sessions. He can announce promotions, upcoming boot camps, or just general availability. “Instagram allows me to advertise my business a bit more than Facebook can” he says. “With Instagram, the use of hashtags can help me reach the entire Instagram community”. People on the app can look up words like “boot camp”, “fitness”, “fitfam”, “training” and more, as well as be able to see Jadarius’s photos. With the Instagram app, Jadarius has been able to use modern technology to communicate his skills and his credentials to the general public.

There is, however, a more business oriented side to technical writing for Jadarius and his career. If a potential new client sees his social media pages and wants to hire Jadarius as a trainer, there are many steps to take before the training sessions can begin. Jadarius says that “first and foremost is the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (Par-Q) which helps expose any contraindications or health issues that would prevent you from exercising”. This and other general health screenings help Jadarius keep a professional feel, while also looking out for his client’s health and safety.

If a client is deemed healthy and ready for exercise, the communication from that point forward is more casual. Jadarius will typically communicate with clients about scheduled training sessions or changes via text, emails, or phone calls. As a trainer, he likes to keep communication “easy-going”, as he feels that a client is more likely to listen if he or she feels like they are being cared instead of just being told what to do. With a healthy client, the most “official” forms of writing is creating workout spreadsheets and charting progress, although the former can be as simple as jotting down a workout in a notebook.

If a client is deemed unfit or not ready for physical training, Jadarius refers them to their physician, and that is where the real technical communication begins. Once a physician gets involved, Jadarius is in constant communication with him or her regarding the health status of the client. Official medical forms must be filled out, proper guidelines must be followed, and records must be consistently updated and shared in order to provide the best service possible for the patient.

When it comes to technical communication, Jadarius has the best of both worlds as a personal trainer. While he is still responsible for official paperwork and medical records, he gets to create a friendlier, more casual environment when working directly with his clients. The result is a wonderful mixture of professional and laid back, and that type of impression makes for a successful career in the fitness industry.

 

Keely Davis, guest blogger

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Blog 1- Written Communication from the Perspective of a Psychology Professor

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woodard hall

Photographer: Billy Hathorn

The field of psychology has many different paths that one may take such as teaching, counseling, research, and much more.  Specifically in the branch of collegiate teaching, communication plays a very important role in the everyday workplace.  Communication between the professor and the students and colleagues helps to keep the job running smoothly.

Dr. Jerome Tobacyk, a psychology professor at Louisiana Tech, has a bachelors and masters in Psychology, as well as a PhD in Personality Psychology.  He teaches a class called Fields of Psychology, as well as Personality, both of which I have taken.  Dr. Tobacyk serves many purposes besides teaching that also include conducting research for the university, as well as for himself; publishing findings; and acting as an advisor for students.  None of these things could be accomplished easily or efficiently without written communication.

Dr. Tobacyk, from the very beginning, made it clear that written communication is “the most important process associated with success in any workplace.”  He does not simply go to the front of the class and spout information from the top of his head or simply hand out tests to be taken.  There is much more work that goes into being an effective professor, such as lesson planning and explaining material to confused students.  He has to be able to effectively communicate the information in a way that is easy for students to understand so that they may meet the standards set by himself and the university.  Dr. Tobacyk says that the most common method of written communication between himself and his students is email both to answer questions students may have and to grade dissertations or any other written assignment.  It is extremely important that he be able to clearly communicate with students about such documents otherwise their grades may suffer tremendously.

Besides acting as a professor, Dr. Tobacyk also conducts research on his own time.  He believes that written communication between himself and others helps him as a teacher because it is “the best medium for the exchange of ideas and the best way to examine ideas critically.”  In a field where information is constantly changing and growing and improving, written communication is essential to be able to keep up with the times and ensure that the details he is imparting onto students is accurate and up to date.  Dr. Tobacyk believes that psychology, as a science, improves and grows through the exchange of these improvements.

During the interview, I drifted away from questions about the present, and instead inquired about his years as a student in the 70s.  In school, Dr. Tobacyk was not required to take a professional writing class such as Technical Writing.  He said that an unpleasant introductory speech class was the closest he came to learning how to communicate effectively.  While he was a student, he was expected to learn how to communicate effectively through experience in other classes and was not taught how to do so.  But, had he been offered such an opportunity, Dr. Tobacyk said that it would have been very beneficial to his “competency and self-confidence in the class setting.”  He also believes that it would have helped tremendously in graduate school because the publication of important research through journals was extremely important.

Dr. Tobacyk plays a very important role in the community that makes up the psychology department at Louisiana Tech.  Without written communication between himself, students, colleagues at Louisiana Tech, and colleagues in his field, he would be unable to do his job properly or effectively.

Amanda Allday, guest blogger

The Rewarding Field of Speech Language Pathology

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I am currently pursing a Speech Language Pathology degree. A Speech Language Pathologist is a trained professional who evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty with speech or language.  When I graduate, I plan to work with young children with speech disorders.

I had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Penny James who is the Speech Language Pathology coordinator for Lincoln Parish. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a masters degree in Speech Language Pathology (SLP). She has worked as an SLP in Lincoln Parish for thirty-three years. For the past fourteen years, she has served as the coordinator for Lincoln Parish in Pupil Appraisal. 

Mrs. Penny chose Speech Language Patholgy because she wanted to work with children and families. She believes that Speech Pathologists are, “a vital part of the school,” because they positively affect a child’s life and future. SPLs are a big part of literacy and language development and they serve as a resource to the teachers.

One of Mrs. Penny’s main responsibilities is the Early Steps Transition program. This is a program for children that are placed in an early intervention program in Louisiana. These children range from birth to three years old.  Through this program she is responsible for communicating with parents about their child’s progress. She contacts co-workers, doctors, and patients by phone, fax, letter or email, and even makes personal visits. When the child is about to begin school, she meets with the parents to discuss the need for the continuation of Speech services in the school system. She uses her technical writing skills to write evaluation summaries and recommendations for each student based upon their need.

She said, the amount of time a child receives Speech services varies on the severity of the speech problem. It is difficult to tell how long someone will work with a speech pathologist because something may be going on that wasn’t obvious before. On average a speech pathologist will work with a student two times a week for thirty minutes in a school setting. Communication is especially important for students receiving Speech services. The SLP writes Individualized Education Plans (IEP) with specific goals/objectives and fills out Therapist data sheets to monitor a student’s progress

Mrs. Penny works with children with speech problems to overcome difficulties such as stuttering, lisps, and omission of sounds in speech. She also gives the parents and families of the children ideas of how to continue to work with their children to stimulate their speech and language development in all kinds of settings, other than school.

When asked about what kinds of technical communication was required in this field Mrs. Penny told me that she must communicate with doctors and audiologists as well as write technical reports of her evaluation findings. Which require a more formal style of writing because of the importance that the information be conveyed correctly and so the data will be easily understood. 

When asked what advice she had for someone thinking about following the career path to become a Speech Language Pathologist Mrs. Penny said, “Take a few classes, because the classes are all based on skills, and I think that you find out just by the classes and the presentation of the classes and the information whether you’ll like it or not.”

Mrs. Penny said, the best part of her job is, “Working with the children and the families, meeting the children and really trying to make a difference in the life of a child is very rewarding.” She likes to see the students that she has taught in the community and realize the impact you’ve made on their life it gives you a feeling of accomplishment that you were able to help someone.

Darby Rowland, guest blogger

Reducing Children’s Anxiety Before Surgery

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When I graduate from Louisiana Tech, my plan is to go to medical school and then to go on from there, to become a pediatric surgeon. My Family and Child Studies professor, Mrs. Anita Pumphrey, is whom I chose to interview as my inspiration for writing this blog post because she got to work closely with children in the hospital that were getting ready to have surgery.

When she was a graduate student at Louisiana Tech in 1995, Mrs. Pumphrey needed something to do her thesis on and she decided to come up with a program to help children reduce their anxiety and increase their knowledge before they go into surgery. She was getting her masters degree in Human Ecology and needed to do her thesis on child life development. She wanted to work closely with the local hospital and she was hopeful that she would be able to help the children having to go through surgery cope with their situation and hopefully help them relax. I interviewed her in hopes of learning how she used technical communication while doing this project.

At, what was then, Lincoln General Hospital, she created a Pre-surgical Preparation Program. In this program, she provided information to the children on what they were actually going to go through. “A few days before their surgery, the children and their parents would come to the hospital and take a tour of and the children got shown a picture book that I made that showed them all of the rooms they would be in and all of the different tools that they would see the day of surgery” explains Mrs. Pumphrey. Pictures of this book can be seen here. The first picture is of the cover and the second picture is an example of what the inside looked like. She went on to explain, “This picture book was very helpful for the children because when they came for the actual surgery, they had already seen everything and weren’t surprised by anything”.

Cover of Picture Book

Cover of Picture Book

Inside of Picture Book

Inside of Picture Book

Before she could actually start this program, Mrs. Pumphrey had to present to the pediatrician board her idea for her plan and gave each of them a Teaching Outline. The outline included the tour of the hospital, the talk she would have with the children, the two tests the children got. This part of her research was where the technical communication came in the most. This teaching outline was basically an instruction manual for herself, the nurses, and the parents on what to expect out of the program.

The two types of tests the children did tested their knowledge and anxiety. The knowledge test asked the children about their surgery and measured how much they knew about what they were about to go through. The anxiety test asked the children to measure how they felt about doing certain things like (going to the doctor, going to a friends house, getting presents, etc).

The nurses were told to give the tests to each child and only Mrs. Pumphrey knew which patients did the program. After her research study was over, she discovered that the children who did the program had less anxiety when they came to have surgery and were more knowledgeable about the procedure they were about to go through. Even some of the nurses told her before they gave her their results that even though they did not know for sure which children went through the program, they could tell which children were more anxious because they were nervous about their surgery, and they could tell which children were more relaxed because they were told exactly what they were going to do and they were expecting everything.

In conclusion, Mrs. Pumphrey used technical communication while doing this project by creating the Teaching Outline to give to the pediatric board and to the nurses, and also used technical communication through her picture book that she would show to the children to explain to them what their day would consist of. It is absolutely certain that she could not have done this program, or even started it, without using technical communication throughout the hospital.
-Meghan Johnston, guest blogger

Blog 1- An Athletic Trainer’s World of Workplace Communication

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Kristen Cook, Athletic Trainer at Louisiana Tech

Kristen Cook, Athletic Trainer at Louisiana Tech

In the field of athletic training, efficient communication is a daily necessity. Consistent correspondence between trainers, athletes, doctors, and insurance companies is what keeps an athletic training workplace running smoothly.

Ms. Kristen Cook, the head athletic trainer for women’s soccer at Louisiana Tech University, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and is currently earning her Master’s degree here in Ruston. As the head trainer for a specific sport, Kristen is constantly communicating and organizing information to help her department run as smoothly as possible. With almost thirty athletes to take care of, Kristen has a fairly hectic schedule, which could not be kept up with if it were not for her efficient communication skills.

When speaking with Kristen about her duties regarding technical communication, it became clear to me that athletic trainers do so much more than just rehabilitate and help prevent injury for athletes. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes on in the day to day operations of a field house or clinic setting. Without proper communication between the training staff, certain practices, games, or sports events could accidentally go unsupervised by a trainer, appointments could be forgotten about, or medical records could be improperly filed or updated. It is especially imperative that trainer to athlete communication is excellent so that rehabilitation, both physical and mental, can be carried out. Kristen says that “everyday there is athlete to trainer communication…consisting of injury related events to events in daily life”. In other words, every day Kristen speaks with her athletes, both professionally or casually. This communications ranges from emails, group meetings, or texts messages, varying depending on the recipient’s preferred method of communication.

It’s not just the athletes Kristen is responsible for communicating with. Since health and preventative wellness for athletes is the core of her job, Kristen communicates with “anyone and everyone involved in the health and wellbeing of our athletes… parents, doctors, physical therapists, coaches, or administrative staff”. Since Kristen is not yet a member of the full time staff, her communication revolves heavily around medical paperwork, creating and managing insurance and medical documentation. This category of communication begins before preseason even starts; Kristen “manages and arranges physicals for all athletes…having the proper signatures and updated information”. She is constantly updating and creating files on all injured and ill athletes under her care, and one can imagine how poorly things could go if an athlete’s medical records or paperwork was not updated regularly or filed correctly. If an athlete were to suddenly become ill or injured, a visit to the doctor’s office with incorrect medical records could be a waste of time, or result in an incorrect diagnosis.

With so much communication going on in so many ways, there are many chances for error, and therefore many areas for improvement. When asked about mistakes or miscommunications in the workplace, Kristen informed me that one of the biggest risks is not having a supervising athletic trainer at a sporting event or practice. Without a trained professional on site to be a first responder in the case of a serious injury or illness, athletes won’t get the quality care they need. Kristen says that these situations (as well as far more serious ones) can be avoided. She states that within her workplace, “form and amount of communication should be improved” with more “face to face weekly meetings within the department” so that information can be passed on faster and with greater clarity. This, as well as written communication, can help the department run smoothly and assist in efficiency.

As an athletic trainer for a division one college, Kristen is certainly kept busy with injuries, rehabilitation, doctor’s appointments, diagnosing problems, and aiding in preventative health. While paperwork, memos, emails, and insurance files are certainly not the most exciting side of her job, she realizes its importance, and that without proper communication in the workplace, the athletic field house would inevitably fall apart. Speaking with her gave me a reminder that what one does for the whole world to see is admirable, it is what one does behind the scenes that can really make a difference.

 

Keely Davis, guest blogger.