Career Connections


Mikala Maiers

Major: Kinesiology and Health



Company/Organization: Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Company/Organization website: https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/education/clinical/graduate/student/exercise-physiology
Destination: Cincinnati, Ohio
Timeframe: Spring

Advisor/Coordinator Email: dpower@iastate.edu

I was responsible for...
There are three parts to the clinical exercise physiology internship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital: clinical stress testing in the exercise lab, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, and the Healthworks! Program. I spent half the day in the lab, half the day in rehab, and one day a week at Healthworks!. In the exercise lab my main duty was to assist with patient prep and the conduction of maximal graded exercise tests on pediatrics and adults with congenital heart disease. I was able to obtain resting and exercising electrocardiography, spirometry, and blood pressures throughout the test under supervision and guidance. I was also in charge of calibrating all of the exercise stress testing equipment including Medgraphics, Innocor, and ParvoMedics metabolic carts. Finally, in March I helped plan for and participate in the 2018 Cincinnati Clinical Exercise Testing and Therapeutics Symposium. My duties for cardiopulmonary rehab involved setting up patients on the Scottcare telemetry system. I individualized and lead cardiovascular, resistance training, and stretching exercises adapted to fit the need of the patient’s diagnoses. Conducting initial, 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day assessments on incoming patients including was another big part of my daily tasks. At the Healthworks! Program once a week, I participated in exercise interventions for pediatric patients who are overweight or obese in a clinical setting. On Thursday nights, I spent my time facilitating youth group fitness classes focused on movement, skill development, and fun, physically active games.

I accomplished...
There are a lot of things that I accomplished this semester, the most important being finding what I love to do and where I want to take my career in the future. I became more confident in my ability to lead patients, take vitals, and recognize EKG rhythms. I was able to be a test subject for a case study that we, as an exercise lab, did on the AlterG treadmill. Using the data, I created a poster to present at the symposium and won first place. This is probably my biggest achievement.

I learned...
The amount of lessons I’ve learned from this experience is innumerable. I think the greatest lesson I learned is how to relate to patients and establish rapport. The more comfortable you make a patient, whether it be in the exercise lab for a stress test or in cardiac rehab, the better the patient is going to do. It could be talking about your favorite Pokemon with a 6 year old boy, playing the new Drake song for a 20 year old rehab patient, or debating the best place to get brunch in Cincinnati with a 54 year old woman: People respond to personality.

Advice for others...
My advice for future students is to, first and foremost, step outside your comfort zone. Trying out internships or shadowing at places early is the best way to learn what you like. This allows you to narrow your search for your final internship, ensuring you get the best possible experience. Another thing that I’ve learned, when it comes to professionalism, don’t discount the little things. Being punctual, being present, being passionate, and being conscientious are all ways to leave an impression!

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