Career Connections

Michele Summers

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Exercise Science

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: West Des Moines, Iowa

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Iowa Lutheran Hospital Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab
Company/Organization website:
Title: Cardiac Rehab Intern
Destination: 700 E University Ave Des Moines, Iowa 50316
Timeframe: May 2016 to Aug 2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Provide individual and group education to patients. Observe and present education to expand the patients knowledge of their disease. Develop exercise perscriptions for patients. Monitor and assist with their individual exercise and prescribed plans.

I accomplished...
Became familiar with common heart medications. Took resting, active and recovery blood pressures. Able to identity major heart rhythm disturbances. Expanded my personal knowledge on heart disease. Able to deliver and modify prescribed exercise plans.

My most valuable effort...
I was able to change the strength training exercises for patients in the program. At first they were doing 6 exercises that we only benefiting their upper body, not a total body workout. They were getting plenty of cardio, but not strength training. So instead of 6 upper body exercises, they have 6 total body exercises and a worksheet that helps demonstrate them and more advanced exercises that they can participate in, if they please. This was valuable because it is something that they will be able to have for forever at their facilities and it is valuable for the patients because they are now strengthening every aspect of their body instead of just their upper body.

I learned...
I do not have a most valuable learning experience. The whole piece was an eye-opener. You should never take your health for granted because there are so many people fighting to do day to day activities. Every person is different, you never know what could be going on internally with someone. I learned to pay close attention to detail. Do not just skim the surface, really look into each patients file and determine how you are going to help them on an individual level.

I will never forget...
Seeing the improvement from a patients first session, to their graduation interview. Seeing their MET level increase with just day to day activities like walking up and down the stairs, being able to lift the groceries and put them into their cabinets. Everyone is different and every memorable moment is different for each client. I wish I could get specific, but I do not want to breach confidential information, but seeing patients walk into cardiac rehab depressed and down to working with them through their whole stay and having them walk out less depressed and more motivated is amazing and what I enjoyed most about my time at Iowa Lutheran Hospital.

A surprising discovery...
Anyone can have heart disease! I never thought I would see someone that is my age in there! Heart disease is not only physical, its emotional and physiological as well.

Advice for others...
If you truly want to work in cardiac rehab programs, go to nursing school!!!!!!

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I use to go to cardiac rehab with a family member.

I landed this assignment by...
I went in for an interview. I had a family member go through cardiac rehab and I use to go with. I asked about interns and landed an interview before I knew that students at Iowa State interned there! It was awesome!

I wanted this experience because...
I want to be a cardiac nurse. My family has always had heart problems, so thing was extremely close to home and I really enjoy learning about the heart. I also love to work with older individuals.

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