A Love for Helping Others

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trainer

 A group of trainers

Charles Densmore started off as just an average gym patron working out with his buddies trying to improve himself both physically and mentally. He found that when he trained his friends that it was something he felt a real passion for doing. He switched his major from Engineering to Kinesiology to reflect his new found aspirations. The more he learned, the more he found that things he learned in the gym, referred to as “bro-science”, were false information and most of it could lead to potential injuries. His better understanding of how the body functioned gave him a huge advantage when explaining exercises and perscribing fixes to form or muscular imbalances. After acquiring his degree, he started working with clients almost immediately.

Behaviors Expected of a Trainer

When dealing with the public you must be extremely patient and caring especially in a gym type setting. These people put their trust in you to not hurt them so you must do your best not to let them down. You need to be able to sympathize with issues they are dealing with but also push them further than they thought possible.

Things Every Trainer Must Know

It is extremely important to know your exercises, form/techniques, alternatives to exercises and what muscles are being worked. Knowing your exercises and their form/techniques is essential because you need to know the correct positioning of the body when doing the exercise so you keep you client out of harms ways such as keeping a straight back when deadlifting to prevent slipping a disc in the spine. Some clients are unable to perform an exercise due to strength levels, injuries, flexibility issues or disabilities. A good trainer knows alternative exercises that are still just as effective at working the target area. This is where knowing what muscle(s) are worked during an exercise movement.

Feelings Toward the Profession

For me, working with people is one of the greatest things one can do. To see a smile on someone’s face once they finish a set of reps they never thought they could do or a lift they thought impossible for them. People come from all walks of life; young, old, healthy, physically or mentally handicapped. They all have a different character that you get to experience and each one has a different story to tell. No two people are the same and that fascinates me. The determination some of these people express is motivating not only to myself but to other gym patrons that are watching. They make you want to be better.

Opinions of the Field

This kind of work is not for everyone. I see trainers up at the gym I train at paying more attention to their phones or their friends than with their client. Your whole undivided attention should be with the client. You can chat afterwards once their session is complete. They paid for a professional’s services not someone trying to beat their high score on Fruit Ninja.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you truly want to help people because you will be day-in and day-out with some clients. Loving what you do, whether it be training people or providing some other service, is key in succeeding in life. If you enjoy what you do, then waking up every morning will not feel like chore and you will await every day because what you do makes you happy.

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.

 

A GREAT EXAMPLE OF HOW A PHYSICAL THERAPY AND WELLNESS CLINIC SHOULD RUN

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Technical writing and other written work are imperative within a contemporary outpatient clinic between physical therapists, physical trainers, and other support staff within a physical therapy and wellness facility.
Mr. Christopher Simpson is a personal trainer with two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Kinesiology and Biology and is director of wellness within his place of work, an outpatient physical therapy and wellness clinic. He has told me that he is in control of all the website work and publication to potential clients. He is also head of the new form of clinic reporting and charting within his business, Web PT.
This business is not like many other physical therapy clinics I have worked with. This outpatient clinic is not just a clinic but also a place of normal exercise for other personal trainers, maintenance programs, Pilates, yoga, other fitness classes, weight loss programs, and a lot more. I thought this would be a great contrast from the clinic I had recently interned with this past school session.
I interviewed Chris Simpson instead of the owner of this clinic because everyone who I spoke to for an interview about technical writing suggested Chris. As we spoke, I was surprised about the many differences on how this clinic runs compared to other clinics, in and outpatient. Chris agrees that “technical writing is very important for any physical therapist and physical therapy assistant (PTA), but also other wellness professionals.” He believes that physical therapists and other wellness professionals “have to be able to properly write protocols, instructions, and reports because many people may not understand a program if not written clearly.” Besides the regular progress notes and daily reports, his clinic provides their discharged patients with personal home exercise programs that list different exercises that the therapist wants the patients to perform, how to perform them, along with pictures of those exercises.
As mentioned before, this clinic uses a program which I have not seen used before in other clinics called Web PT. It is a computer based system of documentation that has countless ways of customizing flowcharts for physical therapists and other therapy professionals. Chris described this system also lets the “workers document a patient’s exercise program for each session on an iPad and multiple computers, without big paper files for each patient” like most clinics. The therapists also can use Web PT “to send faxes and emails to other physicians and insurance companies in a safe and secure way.” This system of therapy documentation is great in all the right ways. Honestly, when I have the opportunity to run my own clinic, I would love to use this system or something like it.
As this system keeps the employees’ lives easier, Chris is in charge of the business’s website and Facebook page. He likes to keep the website updated if not monthly, at least quarterly. For the Facebook page, this business keeps clients and others up-to-date about events like 5K runs, healthcare programs, and wellness fairs for people to participate in. Even with these mediums, most people have told me, including Chris, that their business is mostly spread through word-of-mouth.
From all I learned from my interview, I think visiting with Chris and some of the other employees helped me understand the diversity of this clinic within just one town. The efficiency of reports and exercises program scheduling is outstanding, and I only hope that I can run a clinic with the same standards as this physical therapy and wellness clinic.

Michelle Provenza, guest blogger

HOW AN INPATIENT PHYSICAL THERAPIST WORKS OUTSIDE OF THE PATIENTS

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Inpatient Clinic

Inpatient Clinic

The technical writing and work an inpatient physical therapist needs to complete outside the hands-on work with the patients.
Dr. Cindy Morgan has over 26 years physical therapy experience and has been head of her department over a decade. With these many years under her belt, she has worked with countless types of patients through her doors. She’s also had many different types of forms and reports to fill out throughout her career from insurance filing, patient progress notes, hospital transfers, and others that other healthcare representatives need for a patient.
While interning with her and other therapists at the inpatient clinic, I have been told numerous times by her and her staff to be concise. Dr. Morgan says that conciseness is the most important part of writing for all of the different types of reports. Within the hospital setting, so many different people review a single, large folder for a patient. These staff members include: nurses, doctors, therapists, x-ray technicians who write notes each day on how the patient was doing or any new events or problems have arisen during the past day. These folders have a summary of the patients’ overall medical history made as soon as a patient arrives to the hospital. These summaries are for the different staff members to review before visiting the patient in person. There is a specific form in which the therapist in charge of the patient writes the initial evaluation. On the opposite side of that form, there is the discharge summary for that patient when he or she is discharged from the hospital or transferred to another place of healthcare like hospice or a nursing facility.
Outside the realm of the patient’s folder, there are several other aspects to a therapist’s work that are required for a department to operate and communicate well. Dr. Morgan has daily morning meetings with her inpatient therapy staff to discuss who are getting new patients, who’s covering for other therapists who may be out, who needs help with their workload, and other things of that nature. Dr. Morgan and her staff also have monthly department meetings to discuss safety, communication between different departments and their staff, and other things she thinks that needs to be discussed more in-depth. Along with these meeting within the hospital, there is also other forms of new therapy and communication skills to be learned through internet education from her company and outside conferences offered through American Physical Therapist Association (APTA). Dr. Morgan believes it is important for her staff to communicate effectively and concisely between each other to avoid misunderstanding for patients’ care.
Many people may think that a facility like an impatient clinic gets all kinds of new equipment all the time but in fact, that all depends on the hospital’s budget. If the hospital is sponsored or well-funded by a school or other large companies, there may be money for a therapy clinic to get new technology but typically, most hospitals have to pay for a lot more things besides the therapy department. Dr. Morgan says that if there is broken equipment, the equipment is usually fixed in timely manner but there isn’t too much money for brand new equipment for each year. Most clinics are like this, inpatient and outpatient. That doesn’t mean that Dr. Morgan doesn’t get numerous calls and emails for new products from different outside companies. Many of these companies try to sell products to her department but there are not many occasions when she absolutely needs them or can afford many of these products when the money they do have goes to fixing their current equipment. However, that doesn’t mean that they never get new equipment. Recently, one of Dr. Morgan’s occupational therapists was able to convince the hospital to purchase a product that makes bed transfers enormously easier for the medical staff. It is now standard to use this product when the therapy does transfers between beds or to cardio chairs, therapy reclining chairs.
With all these daily responsibilities for Dr. Morgan, it is no wonder that she typically stays at least an hour, sometimes two hours, after seeing patients to write daily progress reports, insurance forms, call back other healthcare professionals, and other companies trying to sell her products. This interview with the head of a therapy department within an acute care hospital is invaluable to my learning experience to becoming a physical therapist because I do want to run my own department or clinic in the too far future after physical therapy school. I really appreciate the time Dr. Cindy Morgan took to speak with me and hope to learn more from her throughout my continuing education.

Michelle Provenza, guest blogger.