Career Connections

Savanah McNertney

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: Exercise Science

Company/Organization: Pocahontas Community Hospital Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab
Company/Organization website:
Title: Cardiac Rehab Intern
Destination: Pocahontas, IA
Timeframe: Spring 2017

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
I had a variety of responsibilities throughout my internship. Three days a week, I worked with phase II and phase III patients. The difference between the two is that phase II patients have recently had a cardiac event or surgical procedure, and they are hooked up to a heart monitor and EKG telemetry system while they exercise. Phase III patients are those who have graduated from phase II, and they willingly come to do their exercise while we monitored their vitals. My responsibilities included: • Assessment of clients’ medication regime, exercise history, and pain management • Application of electrode monitoring system & setting exercise equipment • Assessment of patients’ vitals at rest and during exercise (blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation) • Assisting with education on heart healthy lifestyles • Utilization of SMART goals and motivational interviewing • Recognize clients that qualify for cardiac rehab

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishment was assisting patients reach their goals. Whether it was reaching a higher MET level, weight loss, increasing strength and balance, eating a healthier diet, or even as specific as being able to dance with a granddaughter on her wedding day; it was such a fulfilling experience to help these individuals reach their specific goals through exercise. Nothing feels better than being passionate about what you do!

I learned...
A great lesson that I learned was the importance of getting to know the patients that I worked with on a personal level. My patients consistently expressed that they enjoyed working with me, and that was incredibly rewarding. It was very important to me that I educate myself and understand each individual patients' medical diagnosis. Along with that, I took the time to get to know them because they are more than just a medical chart full of risk factors and health problems. I trust that I enjoyed going to my internship every day, because I enjoyed spending time with my patients and coworkers. Wherever you complete your internship, take the time to build rapport with your clients/patients and coworkers.

Advice for others...
If you choose to do your internship at a cardiac rehab facility, I recommend researching cardiovascular diseases along with their causes and symptoms. You will encounter a great deal of patients with differing diseases and cardiac events, so it is important to familiarize yourself with those. Don't be afraid to keep learning! Iowa State does a great job of preparing you for hands on experience, but you also need to be willing to educate yourself and learn from the professionals you will work with during your internship.

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