Trust The Process-Becoming A Personal Trainer (STEP Reflection)

 

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project

Over the course of the past few months, I have spent countless hours in the gym and studying for my certified personal trainer exam. Through physical and mental hard work, I have successfully become a NASM CPT (National Academy of Sports and Medicine-Certified Personal Trainer).

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

Completing my STEP Leadership Project transformed my life and mindset. Before taking the STEP course, I had no idea what I wanted to spend the grant money on, but I have found that I need to Trust the Process. Until COVID sent us all home, I was planning on using my money for an internship, but instead I was able to push myself and put in work to become a certified personal trainer. I physically saw myself getting stronger each day at the gym, and I am equally as mentally strong because of the gym. This project helped me develop a strong educational foundation of the human body and the power it can produce. I know for a fact that the gym has saved my life, and I am so excited to be able to start working in a gym and be able to share my passion and knowledge with others. 

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

Over the course of the past five months, my self transformation has been overwhelming. I wish I could go back and talk to my past self because I have learned so much about the human body, as well as my own body. Throughout my project, I had a mentor who was super helpful because I was able to ask questions as I worked through the course. I spent a lot of time by myself, whether it was in the gym, reading the textbook, writing papers, taking quizzes, watching lectures, etc. It provided me with an abundant amount of time to reflect on the current choices I was making in my life, and what I could do to help my future self. Taking this course showed me that I am the only person standing in the way of what I want, and if I want something bad enough I should never stop and just trust the process of life. 

I did receive my certification, but I am excited because I now will partake in GymInternship near Columbus. I am currently still being placed in a gym, but I am ready to channel my energy into coaching. The relationships I have built with my own coaches over the past few months, at CrossFit Grandview, has been really inspiring. I learn something new everyday when I go to the gym, and I want to help others find their own strength. The mind is often the limiting factor in the gym, and I really believe I can help transform, other people like I did myself. 

The highlight event of completing this project was passing my exam. After weeks of studying for hours daily, I took my exam and was told I passed within minutes. The feeling I experienced was overwhelming and I knew that I had made the right choice on how I spent my STEP Leadership Project money. I am ready to continue to grow as a leader, and I feel like the NASM CPT course has prepared me to tackle whatever challenges come my way.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

This transformation is one of the largest assets in my life because I believe it is possible for me to open my own gym. I now think I want to open a gym where clients with various backgrounds can feel at home. I want to be able to create 3D Printed limbs for the limb difference community, as that has been another area I have focused my time at OSU on. Getting this certification also sets me apart from other fitness people, where I feel like I am already professional ahead of where I thought I would be. Overall, I am so grateful for having done this project and I believe it will continue to open doors for me to be able to blend fitness and engineering. 

EMS EMT-BASIC Certification At Ohio Health Grant Medical Center

For my STEP project, I joined an EMS EMT-Basic certification program class at the Ohio Health Grant Medical Center in Columbus Downtown. This was a project that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me the medical field in a very unique light. This course, provided by the Ohio Health hospital system, consisted of lecture-style evening classes and in-action clinical experience. My clinical experiences included riding with the Jackson Township Firestations for multiple shifts and hospital shifts at the Ohio Health Grant Medical Center on Town St. Currently. After completing the course certification for my Ohio license, I am working towards gaining my national certification through NREMT testing, which will allow me to be certified in most states and give me a wider window of opportunity in the world of medicine.

I have always been a very introverted person who thrived on the comfort of what I knew best, and learning book has always been very straightforward for me. When it came to street knowledge or application in the real world, I always felt like my hands were tied. Communication didn’t come easy, and the confidence to make firm decisions was only a dream to me. Walking into this project, I already knew this was going to be my biggest challenge yet. Another difficulty was learning to channel the negative energy that developed under pressure and stress the right way. For someone who wants to become a doctor to help people, I knew that the skills that were to be gained in the class were just the ones I needed to thrive as a medical student and later as a doctor. This was it! My real look in the world of medicine.  

The classroom experience during this project was in my control from the start. However, the clinical experience was a completely different story. At first, I was scared to voice the questions I needed to when interacting with patients. I was also nervous about touching my patients in my more physical examinations of their injuries. The one thing that was taught in this class that will resonate with me for the rest of my life is, as cheesy as it sounds, “the willpower to believe in yourself and let the true confidence in your mind and body flow.” This was a concept that was expressed through many different avenues in the class. As my clinical progressed, I became more clear cut with myself and the patients I interacted with, reminding myself of my purpose in this position and the importance of the power of self-confidence. The variety of people that I met, in vastly different situations, gave me way more perspective through their stories. With this, when it came time to make crucial life-altering decisions or for the sake of beating time, I was actually able to make more knowledged and assured decisions. I have to be honest that my social abilities, communication skills, and stress management (especially regarding time) have improved immensely in the 5 months spent in this course. These are things I KNOW that I can use in my day-to-day life.

So many different experiences contributed to fortifying my skills gain during this certification process. And these were experiences both in the classroom and in the field. 

In the classroom, we experienced lectures and labs that allowed us to learn basic-level medical skills in detail. Things such a CPR, airway control, oxygen tank setup, etc. were taught in a very individualized manner so that we could know everything before we had to pull it all together in our scenario lab testing. Because of the involvement, enthusiasm, and encouragement of my instructors for the class, this learning style proved to be in my favor. I knew that having these skills pat-down would take away a bit of the pressure when it came time to applying them and/or testing. 

In the field, we experienced hospital clinical shifts and fire station ambulance ride shifts which gave us experience in real-time with patients. While we were still under training, and our capabilities were limited, we got to visualize and experience the skills we learned in the classroom on real patients. Hospital shifts consisted of taking rounds, meeting checked in patients, and practicing asking our important patient assessment question that we learned. This helped us with meeting various people and developing a compassion/communication scale to know how to properly communicate with different patients. I got to see how the emergency department took in their patients and the helipad patient deploy on the rooftop! The patience, strength, and effort consistently provided by the hospital staff was definitely the highlight. Ambulance rides allowed us a little bit more to be hands-on with some patients. We could perform skills that we felt confident in: taking blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breath sounds, pulse-ox, setting up nasal cannulas, and other vital signs. Doing this in the classroom and actually on a patient are two entirely different battles. In class, you can keep practicing the skill on repeat while being able to make mistakes. In the field, you only really get one solid chance to take the right step. The ambulance rides definitely taught me resiliency and became a more intimate experience with patients. People are looking at you directly to make a decision on the course of their treatment. That kind of attention can definitely put some pressure, but in those moments, I felt in control know that the things I learned and tested on in class well would now come in handy… and they did. Being physically and emotionally tested can be draining and often times have you questioning if this is the right path for you. However, being present in these moments made me realize my true aptitude and become more confident that this pre-med path was right for me. 

Now, a lot of the experiences I had, I cannot truly share in the detail I would like to, that would make sense, showing the amazing nature of the medical world. This is because of the privacy rule under HIPAA. But I hope reading this gives you the emotional and passionate side of how I have changed. I want to detail one more life-changing, eureka! moment for me that made me realize that this is what I wanted to do. While dropping off a patient during my ambulance shift at the local mount caramel hospital, I got the chance to save someone’s life. I was asked to perform CPR on a patient going into cardiac arrest. When I was scouted amongst the onlookers by the head nurse in that hospital room, for the first time forgot all my fears, anxiety, and hesitation. When the patient regained their pulse, I stepped back with the biggest feeling of satisfaction that I had never felt before. Then I knew that this moment wouldn’t haunt me. Rather, it would resonate with me that I could do the things that I thought were not in my reach before. 

Overall this project truly was an eye-opening experience that has opened so many things up for me, not only career-wise but as a person too. It has taught me time management, discipline, ethics, control, and most importantly confidence. It assured me that the career path that I wanted to take was one that I could be most successful and passionate about. I took this class so that I could get myself more involved in the medical field while also pushing the boundaries that I was so very used to. And that goal was accomplished. Now I continue to work and learn to obtain my national license with the hope that this could land me work in the Ohio health system with more eye-opening experiences! 

In a world like ours today, where time is shifting, life is ever-changing, where we cannot expect things a certain way, I am forever grateful for the chances/moments like these; moments that teach us to flow with time and to learn every part of ourselves so we can reach our utmost potential. 

STEP Reflection

During this project, I went through the process of Emergency Medical Technician training of certification. I went to classes where I practiced skills and learned techniques while fitting in riding along time with working EMTs for a total of around 35 hours. I took exams throughout the semester and ended by taking the national registration exams which consisted of both physical and written portions.

While doing this project I was able to meet and interact quite a bit with people involved in the pre-hospital treatment of patients. I had never previously been able to see these people or truly understand their role in the health care system. While learning the curriculum and interacting with these people I was able to understand their role more fully in the workforce that I plan to be involved with even more in my future career. Throughout this project, I was able to learn real medical conditions and was given the knowledge and skills necessary to provide preliminary interventions to patients on their way to the hospital.

The aspect that gave the foundation for my transformation was the curriculum and testing regime. We had a lot of material to cover that was mostly expected to be done by ourselves if we were taking the online version which I was. The amount of material seemed daunting but was necessary to apply the knowledge later to treat theoretical and real patients. We had practice and module exams almost weekly which served to both see if were absorbing the material and able to keep up and also to prepare for the course final exam and eventually the national registry exam.

The next part of the class that helped with my transformation was the physical examinations and skill practices. Each time we learned a new concept or skill we spent the rest of the night practicing the skills and running through theoretical scenarios and working as we would with a real patient. This was helpful and necessary because the physical practicing of real-world skills helped me learn and appreciate how I would need to use the skill while working as an EMT.

Finally, the last main component to my transformation was the clinical hours that were required to do ‘clinical hours’ which entailed going to some EMS service and going on calls with them. There I interacted with real patients that were being treated and transported to the hospital. There I got to witness and experience the treatment of real patients, and arguably more importantly, how to interact and have a conversation with them to treat them most effectively and have them have as good an experience as possible.

During this project, I was able to experience working in the pre-hospital setting. Since I want to eventually enter medicine as a physician, I wanted to be able to see the whole operation, so this was an opportunity to see it. The knowledge that I gained will further prepare me for medical school and possible future pre-hospital setting jobs in the future. By seeing the profession of prehospital treatment and interacting with the people that do that job has helped me further understand this link in a patient’s treatment which will help me with interactions later in my career.

STEP Reflection

I chose to use my STEP fellowship to get certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at the Basic level. I attended a class at Central Ohio EMS Training in Lexington, Ohio, which taught me the skills and knowledge I needed and prepared me to pass the required practicals and exams to become nationally and state certified.

My EMT certification transformed my understanding of medical care, particularly in a pre-hospital setting. I gained skills like CPR, cervical spine stabilization, and patient assessment. I ultimately plan to go to medical school, so the things I learned and my first-hand experiences fueled my interest and confidence in patient care. Finally, I ended this experience with an EMT certification at the national and state level, so I will be able to work as an EMT and gain further experience in pre-hospital patient care.

The program I attended prepared me for exams and the job in the field through lectures and practicals. First, I was BLS CPR-certified, so I am able to perform CPR on adults, children, and infants. I also learned about different body systems, how they can go awry, and the EMS response to these events. Learning about concepts in class and then applying them with practices on mannequins or each other helped me solidify my knowledge. Now I am able to do things like auscultating lung sounds, taking a blood pressure, or assessing a patient with confidence.

The most interesting part of my experience was completing clinicals. I rode along with the paramedics at Mansfield Fire Department and got to observe many aspects of patient care that I had learned in class actually in practice. The paramedics and firefighters I interacted with shared stories and advised me about my future. I very much enjoyed interacting with them and the patients. The clinicals allowed me to see what a career in EMS looks like firsthand and understand the roles, responsibilities, daily routines, and culture of their job. I feel that this will help me in the future understanding how pre-hospital care works.

Finally, after the course I prepared for and took the National Registry Exam, which nationally certified me as an EMT. Since the State of Ohio uses this as their licensing test, I am also registered with the State of Ohio as an EMT. These two things allow me to work as an EMT-B in Ohio, allowing me to pursue jobs and to get more patient care experience.

This transformation is significant because I felt it solidified my career and academic plans. It allowed me to apply knowledge I had learned from my classes in a practical, real-world setting. It also allowed me to ride along with EMS providers and learn about their jobs. This class and the ability to work as an EMT allows me to gain further experience in patient care and interaction, which makes me more confident in my plans to pursue medicine.

EMS Certification

For my STEP project, I was able to gain my Emergency Medical Technician certificate.  This is something that I have always dreamed of since I was little and directly ties in with my future career plans of becoming a trauma surgeon or emergency medicine physician.  I completed the EMT course at Central Ohio EMS Training in Lexington, OH.  The course consisted of both classroom and clinical components.  Following the course, I had to sit for the National Registry exam that also serves as the licensing exam for Ohio.  The course turned out to be an eye-opening experience and allowed me to gain a unique perspective of emergency medicine- especially pre-hospital emergency medicine.  I am grateful that I was finally able to make a childhood dream come true.

As the class progressed, especially into clinical ride-alongs, I started to realize that I was capable of making critical decisions under pressure and began to feel more comfortable communicating with patients.  Going into the class, I wasn’t so sure of my ability to accurately recall information and make the correct treatment decisions.  I also didn’t feel very comfortable communicating with people in perhaps the most stressful times of their lives.  As my ride time increases, I developed these skills.  I feel like these skills will travel with me, both as a current RA and EMT… but also will be used for my entire career.

As mentioned before, I found the project to be very eye-opening.  During my clinical ride-alongs, I got to see how different populations live.  I had calls in affluent areas and I also went on calls in areas where the population had a low socioeconomic standing.  Coming into my STEP project,  I had never interacted with such a wide variety of people and found it interesting to see how different areas live.  The disparities in healthcare make a lot more sense now that I have seen the resources available (or lack of resources) in different communities.

I also gained new respect for EMS and other first responders.  I saw first hand the long hours (24 hour shifts), difficult calls they take, and saw the impact that public perception can have on them.  I always respected first responders, but becoming a first responder really provided me with a new perspective.  I saw how interconnected fire/EMS/police are, and the bond that they all have is truly special.

In terms of critical decision making and talking to patients, several experiences stand out.  I can’t get too specific because of HIPPA, but I found myself making treatment decisions in the heat of the moment alongside EMTs and Paramedics with much more experience than me and becoming an active participant in the treatment.  Regarding communication, I found myself communicating with all of my patients (some being scared/having very serious injuries).  I had to perform assessments, patient reports to ER doctors, and talk to other first responders.  This helped me get over being uncomfortable talking to people I don’t know.  I have noticed I still use these skills as a RA and even when meeting new people.

Seeing how different populations was maybe the most eye-opening part for me.  I had calls one the Delaware suburbs and I also had calls in downtown Mansfield.  The difference in socioeconomic standing was stark.  This will help me be more empathetic with patients both as an EMT and later in my career as a trauma surgeon or emergency medicine physician.  I think empathy is an important trait of healthcare workers, but I think it is often overlooked by providers based on what I have seen shadowing.  Having unique healthcare experience on both ends of the SES spectrum will allow me to be a better healthcare provider.

Hearing the “war stories” of various first responders, hearing about some of the disrespect/general unwelcomeness they see on calls, hanging out with them during their shifts. and seeing the tight bond they have with each other, and seeing how all emergency agencies play set roles on every call has made me realize that it is a much tougher job than people expect.  They roll with all the punches, and do so with a smile on their face.  They do not get paid very much and live stressful lives.  They do it all because they like helping people.  I had an idea of what being a first responder was like before I took the course, but little did I know!  I think this helped me realize that it is important to “walk a mile in their shoes” before I pass any judgement.  I think this is helpful in life in general, but also for my future career as well.

Overall, my STEP project was an extremely valuable experience.  I think that this experience helped my gain a lot of medical experience and open doors for the future.  I wanted to do this class in order to gain more medical experience for my medical school application, but it turned into that and so much more. I learned more about myself and the world around me.  Hopefully I will be able to carry everything with me as I continue on my college career and to my future career as a trauma surgeon or emergency medicine physician!  I also learned how much I enjoy EMS, my curiosity is peaked when I see a squad pass with lights and sirens!  Hopefully I am able to get a job on a 911 truck in the next few weeks so I can get my adrenaline pumping again!

SCUBA Certification for Open Water and Advanced Open Water

During my STEP project I was given the opportunity to become both open water and advanced open water certified. The program that I became certified through is nationally recognized by PADI, a associate that keeps up with diving training quality. I was able to go on a total of ten dives, learn the many precise techniques needed to dive, follow safety standards, and see the beautiful world of the coral reefs. This was an amazing experience that I would not trade for the world.

Throughout this experience my view of the world has greatly changed. While underwater, one is unable to communicate verbally and having all your senses damped underwater. It is a tranquil yet terrifying experience. During the certification classes there was one dive where I went to a depth of 100 feet to a sunken battleship. As I began my descent into the cloudy water, I spent what felt like forever just slowly pulling myself deeper underwater until it came into view. A 510-foot-long battleship covered in coral. Something so powerful and massive cover with coral over every inch. The impermanence of that experience has really changed how easily nature will take over when the age of humans is no more. It really showed me how everything in nature adapts to the situation surrounding it.

The thing about nature and by extension humans is that they are constantly changing. From the current of the water to the falling of the leaves, the whole world has always been changing since it was just a rock floating through space. When there is a new environment life must adapt to survive and thrive. I felt somewhat like this myself upon the arrival to the Florida Keys. This has been the first time that I visited Florida and I was about to embark on a new experience that I have never been through before.

Luckily upon arrival I met some very nice people very quickly. The course instructor AJ was excited to share in the journey to certification. He was a terrific guide and calmly explained everything that needed to be done and reinforced the skills learned. He and I talk about our lives often because there was lots of free time between dive locations and lessons. I believe I made a strong friend, which is bound to happen when you spend 40 or more hours with someone. He really did a great job making sure I felt comfortable in a new area.

Another aspect that made me appreciate the adaptation of life was seeing all the aquatic life that I had never seen before. Under the water there can be thousands of fish around a person at a time, and they are often not afraid of divers. Also, the diver is in a situation where they are no longer the apex predator. This kind of thinking puts your mind in that of the fish who have learned to survive with such dangerous competition. You see how specialized each fish must truly be in order to live in such a place. The environment really shows in action how practical all the sciences I have learned at OSU are. For instance, the ecosystem and how each creature plays a role in it. In addition, adaptation and speciation can be seen by having such specialized fish whether that be schools of minos or giant nurse sharks.

First day in diving training felt like being faced to face with a shark. All around the pool and shop are divers who are all experts with all the certifications and the best equipment. It can be difficult for me to even tread water when I was young and not a natural swimmer. However, I knew that getting the certification and seeing the coral reefs has always been a dream of mine so I would need to adapt. The first time in water with the scuba gear is uneasy. Nothing comes naturally and you feel like a bubble floating without control or a rock racing to the bottom. However, as my comfortability increased so did the lessons. Luckily, through hard work and good teaching the techniques became natural to use and the water felt like my home.

This is an important idea for me to keep in mind, that everything is always changing. I currently have a job as an EMT and the environment can change in an instant if something happens to a patient. Changing is needed in order to do a good job. Also, my end goal is hopefully emergency room physician which needs even more adapting, strengthening, and never giving up. This idea is not only useful to the medical field but also live in general. Something bad can happen at any time so we have to do our best to strengthen ourselves I hope to never take my luckiness for granted.

Gaining My Wings

My STEP Signature Project was called “Gaining My Wings”. This project was all about me gaining more knowledge and confidence in the career I plan to pursue, aviation. I was able to gain my Private Pilot’s License buy using the STEP money and I love how much I learned throughout this experience.

My understanding of myself was transformed during my STEP project. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a pilot. This summer I got the chance to finally act on my dream and I learnt that I loved this industry more than I thought. The feeling of being in charge and being a pilot of a very power aircraft made me feel so much more dependent than I have ever felt. I learned so much from my instructor and from the resources I was able to purchase with my STEP budget and I feel like I have grown as a student throughout this process. I usually have a hard time staying focused in my studies. However, throughout my flight lessons I never once was bored and was constantly intrigued by what I was learning. I also learned independence and leadership throughout this process. I can now guide other female pilots like myself and not allow them to be worried about this career. I say I was transformed because I have grown as a person, a student, and a pilot.

Another transformation that occurred through my STEP project was my assumptions about being a pilot and my view on the industry of aviation. I assumed that being a pilot was easy and that if I could fly the plane, I would be a pilot. However, there was so much I did not realize a pilot needed to know. My respect for other pilots has grown and those women and men that made flight even possible. As a strong feminist, it is difficult to enter aviation since it is dominantly a male career field. But I have been inspired by so many female pilots who are leaders in this career field that I have meet throughout this process that I no longer have any worries about that issue. Those women are role models and leaders and now that is something that I am working towards. My views have also changed on the world. Being a pilot is going to give me the ability to see the world from a new perspective and it is crazy to imagine the possibilities I have to experience.

The first aspect that led to my transformation as a person and a student came from my instructor. He was so knowledgeable and so excited about every flight lesson that it would make me excited to even be there. It was easy to learn and love what I was learning by having someone with so much excitement about the topic teaching it to me. Even on my worst days, he still found a way to encourage me to keep pushing towards my end goal and for that I learned perseverance and constant dedication. He was a leader to me and showed me how to be a leader for those that I instruct when I move on to my next phase as an instructor. I grew as a student and found values that I want to remain constant in my career as a pilot.

Another aspect that changed my views on the world was by the amazing pilots I met. Listening to their experiences and the sights that they saw encouraged me to keep pushing myself as a pilot. The world from above is a completely different experience. They are leaders in this industry and it is something that I hope to do when I get more experience in the field. I can’t wait to do that as either a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force defending my country or from a commercial plane flying to my next destination.

The last aspect that changed me was meeting other female pilots. Aviation seems like a daunting career field to enter with it being a predominantly male field. However, so many rising female pilots changed my mind. They talked to me about their challenges and conflicts but in the end, they came out on top. I am constantly trying to find role models and mentors and by completing this STEP project, I met more than I could have imagined. Now it is my turn to be a leader and a mentor as a pilot. My first step to doing this is by using the knowledge I gained and spreading it to other females, like in my org Women in Aviation where I am Vice President. It has helped me grow as a female pilot, as a person, as a student, and a leader.

These changes and transformation are significant to me because it is helping me grow as a person and as a pilot. I am learning more and more each day about my life goal and that is more than I could ever ask for. I feel different and more experienced by gaining my license and meeting the people that I met throughout the process. My family and friends supported me throughout this process and I now know that I have a huge support system that is behind me. The experiences I gained throughout this project is something that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. It allowed me to grow in my life and that is something that I cannot thank enough. I feel I can use my experiences as a leader and now I can lead other girls to feel the excitement of flight like I gained this summer. I am extremely excited to continue to my path as a pilot and can’t wait to see where it takes me.

STEP Reflection

For my STEP project, I completed a Phlebotomy certification course at DRM Learning Center in Lansing, MI. Through participating in the two week course, I learned the values of a healthcare worker, while mastering the skills of performing different types of blood draws and other medical lab tests. At the completion of the course, I also took a written final exam with information about working in a broader healthcare setting as well as the details of my specific skill set. 

As a student in my first semester at the College of Nursing, I originally took this class to gain the certifications to be able to get clinical experience and work in a healthcare setting while still being in school. I thought it would be a smart way to supplement my education and be a good starting point to build my resume with medical experience. Because of outside factors and COVID, I have been unable to fully work with these new skills. However, I learned much more about healthcare, myself, and what I want in my future in the class than I had expected. 

This class taught me more about the integrity and morals of healthcare workers than I had realized before. My instructor, Bernadette, shared with me her experiences of many years in different healthcare settings that opened my eyes to the diverse perspectives and opportunities I may encounter in my future. She also elaborated on the necessity of being flexible, caring, and empathetic in this field of work. Already this semester, I have already been able to carry with me the values and knowledge I gained from completing my STEP project.

In addition to learning what it really means to be a healthcare worker, I learned about the many different opportunities available for me to get a step into the healthcare field aside from being in nursing school. Before I did the research into taking this class, I thought the only way to start working in a hospital would be through going to nursing or medical school. However, I now realize there are an uncountable number of moving parts and different positions that go into making these facilities run. With this new understanding, I am excited to look into other opportunities in the future to get in extra clinical experience before I graduate from nursing school. 

Many people that worked for the training center were medical assistants, technicians, certified nursing assistants, phlebotomists, and other technically trained medical workers. Speaking and learning with them introduced me to the wide range of people I will encounter and work with in my future. I now understand that people from all different social and educational backgrounds can work in healthcare as long as you are dedicated and have a strong drive to help others. 

This class made me excited about my future because I know that I will have the opportunity to work with many diverse people, yet still have similar values and motives as them. Everyday I go to work in the future, I will get to learn from others while sharing my knowledge, skillset, and morals, as well. Additionally, I will be able to transfer what I learned from this class to help me in nursing school, and hopefully assist my peers when it comes time for us to practice phlebotomy. My dream of working in a hospital is now one step closer to my reach and I have new knowledge and experience, outside of nursing school, that can take me there.

STEP Reflection

For my STEP Signature Project, I took two classes in July 2020 to become certified as a State Tested Nursing Assistant and in Basic Life Support.  Between online instruction and in-person labs and clinicals, I learned basic nursing skills and how to care for people living in long-term care facilities.  In the Basic Life Support class, I learned skills pertaining to CPR on adults, children, and infants, how to ventilate, stop someone from choking, and assist someone having an opioid overdose.

I was interested in completing these courses because in the future, I would like to become a Physician’s Assistant, and these courses would prepare me for a career in healthcare.  Before beginning the STNA course, I had very little knowledge on issues facing the elderly and chronically ill or disabled populations.  However, after the completion of this course, I was able to learn much more about not only physical health issues facing the elderly, but also mental and social issues I had not previously thought of.  In particular, I gained a greater understanding of how frustrating and isolating it can be to move into a long-term care facility away from family and friends, and to lose the ability to complete many activities of daily life.  On top of this, it was surprising to me that I didn’t know many of these issues even existed, highlighting the fact that problems facing the elderly are largely pushed aside by society.

The way that I learned more about issues facing the elderly and chronically ill populations was mainly through classroom and clinical instruction, as well as through personal tangents from my instructors.  At Alia Healthcare, I was instructed by a team of nurses who had many years of experience working in hospital settings, long-term care facilities, and as travel nurses.   In particular, when learning about signs and symptoms of each new disease that was introduced, my instructors would often tell us a story about a particular patient they cared for dealing with that disease.  In doing so, they gave me a deeper understanding of how the same disease is capable of affecting every patient differently, especially when taking into account factors such as other diseases the patient may be facing, their mental state, and their social relationships.

Despite the spread of coronavirus limiting in-person instruction and my ability to complete clinicals in a nursing home, I was grateful to still be able to complete clinicals in person with other STNA students on each other and on dummies.  Through completing tasks to assist with hygiene, feeding and mobility, I gained a lot of insight as to how aging and illnesses facing the elderly truly does affect everyday life.  For example, a couple of tasks I learned how to do included range of motion exercises to prevent atrophy, brushing a patient’s teeth, and how to use a bedpan. Many elderly and disabled individuals, I learned, are sent to long-term care facilities because they need assistance on a daily basis.  By learning the extent to which daily life is interrupted, I had a greater appreciation for the importance of having not only well staffed, but also patient and motivated nursing assistants in long term care facilities.

Because my view on how society treats and cares for the elderly was changed, I personally became more grateful for my personal health and my family’s health.  Additionally, I now have an increased personal emphasis on patience and kindness towards others.  Many diseases facing individuals in long-term care facilities, I learned, may not present as physical symptoms.  Rather, many manifest as changes in behaviors and mental states.  While it can be easy to write complaints off as a result of aging or an individual’s personality, I’ve learned that its important to truly listen and take concerns seriously from patients because not all problems are observable to the naked eye.

Also, while the skills I learned in Basic Life Support apply to people of all ages and health statuses, they are especially applicable to residents in long-term care facilities.  When learning about diseases or health complications facing the elderly, there were recurrent issues of difficulties swallowing and several diseases that could possibly lead to cardiac or respiratory arrest.  By having a better understanding of health issues facing the elderly, having Basic Life Support Training even further prepared me for a possible role as a nursing assistant.

What I learned in both the STNA and Basic Life Support classes I will carry with me for years to come.  I took these classes in the hopes of applying to STNA and Patient Care Assistant positions in the Columbus area in order to accumulate direct patient care hours before applying to PA school.  Recently, because I gained these certifications, I landed an interview with a home health care agency, which will hopefully lead to regular employment with them. Without these classes, I would not have skills or confidence to care for an individual at home who needs assistance with activities of daily living.  Moreover, these classes have given me greater confidence in my desire and ability to become a healthcare worker.  Before the STNA and BLS classes, I had no experience caring for patients.  But the STNA course gave me confidence for caring for individuals in long-term care facilities, and the BLS course gave me confidence in helping individuals in life-threatening situations, such as sudden cardiac or respiratory arrest.   In doing so, it has confirmed that a career in healthcare, and helping to improve patients’ qualities of life is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

200-hour YTT Program Reflection

My STEP signature project was to complete a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program. We met five days a week in the evenings for five weeks, mostly outside so that it was safe to do in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. We learned correct alignment of yoga postures, the philosophy of yoga practice, meditation techniques, and teaching practices that would allow us to successfully share all of the benefits that yoga has to offer an individual.

There were many things in this program that changed my perspective on myself. I feel like I have a greater sense of my own responsibility for my own life and a greater sense of my own power to go after what I want. It’s very easy to see the world as full of events that happen to you rather than events that you create and this experience helped me see how much power I have over what I do, how I respond to things, and where I go from there. What I want from my life is clearer to me and I feel like the power to achieve those things is fully within my reach. I have a more intentional perspective on my actions and how they move me toward my goals, rather than just being reactive or impulsive. As a part of that perspective, I also have more kindness towards myself so that when I make a mistake, I feel more able to learn from it and move forward constructively without beating myself up about it. This could be summed up as saying that I have more love for myself which makes it easier to support my own growth and reach for what I want.

I also feel a lot more confident in my ability to do new things and lead people into a movement practice class. In some ways this program was intimidating because we started teaching in the first week which I didn’t necessarily feel ready to do but it showed me that I can do things even when I feel like it is out of my comfort zone. I had previously assumed that I had to be an expert at everything in order to be able to teach yoga or any other kind of movement class: if I can’t do a handstand then I can’t teach people how to do a handstand. This experience taught me that leadership doesn’t always correspond with expertise. Of course you need to have at least some basic knowledge but in many ways teaching and leading is about empowering others to challenge themselves and helping them along the way, even if that means that they go in a direction that you have never gone in before. I learned that I don’t need to know everything in order to help other people achieve their potential.

The first thing that empowered me to take more responsibility for my life was our weekly meditation workshops led by a guru named Steven. We worked through a lot of different ideas about how to meditate, why meditation is useful, and different ideas that can guide our meditation practice. One of the ideas we talked about was a mandala that connected our past situations to our present and our future. When we have been in a situation, we translate that through our conscious and subconscious mind which then causes an emotion that leads to our actions to create our present situation that then influences what possible future situations we will be in. The key point here is when we translate the situation through our mind where our perception of the situation can be influenced by thinking errors, limiting beliefs, or traumatic memories which together make up our thought paradigm. Our perception, not other people, is what creates the emotional reaction and eventually leads to the physical reaction to continue the cycle of events. So, our power is in changing our thought paradigm if we want to change the situation that we are in. There were a lot of techniques that we talked about over the course of the program for confronting bad habits or negative paradigms but even just the idea that I have total control over my thoughts, feelings, and actions was enlightening for me. I was empowered to take more responsibility for my responses and create the future situations that I want to be in.

The second thing that shifted my perspective on self-love was a book that we read called You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. It has a lot of great, specific things that you can do to confront different problems that you might have within your self-perspective that is keeping you from being able to do the things that you want to do. One of the exercises in this book was to write a manifesto of what your ideal life would look like that includes where you live, who is around you, what you are doing for the world, etc. This exercise helped me envision what it is that I actually want and get really specific about what that would look like. It was kind of scary to do that but at the same time it gave me more clarity for my life goals and challenged me to really work toward them even if they were intimidating. At the end of every chapter, she has a note about loving yourself and the constant repetition of this idea showed me how vital it is to love yourself along every step of your journey. In reaching for the life that I want to have, if each step is made with love for myself then I can’t go wrong.

The third thing that gave me more confidence in teaching was the guidance of Brittany, the woman who ran the program. She was always very open and direct about everything that we needed to know and the things that we didn’t need to stress about. She gave very clear and direct feedback that really helped me clarify my own teaching and build the skills that I needed to be able to provide the kind of class that I wanted to be able to teach. Her attitude was that people will do whatever they want, so as long as you are giving everything that you have to offer and you stay authentic to yourself, you will be able to do great things for the people who want it. She talked about how we need to let of our ego in order to teach well because it should be about helping the student grow, not proving your abilities. So, if you can’t do a handstand, that doesn’t mean you can’t help your students learn how to do a handstand and if your students “surpass” you in some way, that is a good thing. Brittany always encouraged us to find our own way of teaching and be creative and her support helped me trust my judgement.

These changes mean a lot for me as a person in terms of my own journey of self-love and trust. This is something I think everyone is working on in their own way but I got a lot more tools from this experience to help me confront challenges along that journey. One thing that I firmly believe is that when you are fully your best self is when you can give the most to the world around you so even as this experience has helped me personally, those same elements of personal growth will help me in my professional future as well. As I move into the field of professional dance, a lot of my success depends on how well I can present myself and I can do that so much better if I already love and trust what I have to offer. This love and trust will help my performance and teaching as well because it allows me to step forward with more confidence in my ability to learn and do things that are new to me. The growth mindset that this fosters is useful no matter what field I go into and will help me continue to improve any skill that I am trying to learn. This program opens up new possibilities for me as a certified 200-hour yoga teacher, but it did so much more than just give me a piece of paper saying that I am certified. It gave me new tools to grow as a human being and help others along their journey too.