Describe your setting:
I am employed by Work-Fit, Inc. where we are contracted to work in various manufacturing plants. The factory I work in is the largest building in the world by square volume. We have over 40,000 people on site at this location. It is loud, busy, and always changing. The best thing about this setting is the people. I get the chance to work with some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. These people also have some of the hardest jobs I have ever seen. They are working in confined spaces, using heavy tools, and working for hours in awkward positions. They are proud of what they do and about what they are building.
How long have you worked in this setting?
I have worked in this setting for 3 years. When we began, my team and I realized very quickly that we didn’t know a thing about how to be an Industrial Athletic Trainer (AT). None of us had ever been exposed to this setting. Since then, we have not only helped define what an Industrial Athletic Trainer does, but we have learned what it means to change the culture of healthcare for an entire company. As my boss says, we have tasted the Kool-Aid and we want more of it. It’s that important to us.
Describe your typical day:
The factory employees work around the clock. The building literally never sleeps. My typical day starts about 4:30 in the morning. I get in to the office and take between 10-20 employees through a corrective exercise circuit, focusing on balance, core stability, and muscular activation. After class, I will see four or five employees for a preventative intervention and evaluation. Then, I take my job out to the shop floor to check-in with a few employees I have been working in with. I will do a biomechanical assessment of them working to look for dysfunction, improper positioning, or ergonomic hazards that might lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Every evaluation we do, every class we teach, or every preventative interaction we have is documented, so I will spend a bit of time documenting everything I did. My day ends around 12:30 in the afternoon. The best thing about this job is that it’s an 8 hour day. The worst thing about this job is that it is a very full 8 hour day. We don’t sit and wait for things to happen. We are always on the move. Throughout the day, since we are in such a large facility, we walk. A lot. We are in and out of the shipside support athletic training room, on the shop floor, and on the worksite. We are always talking to people wherever we go. My career is in sales. The product I sell is heath care and an investment in the employee’s overall healthy lifestyle. I teach, educate, connect, and become a resource for thousands of people.
What do you like about your position?
I get to be an AT and use everything I know. I am on the forefront of changing the profession and making a real difference in the lives of people and their families. Because of my team, the employees we work with can provide for their families and can go home injury-free. In the industrial setting, our focus on prevention of musculoskeletal injuries has become a game-changer for manufacturing around the world. I am helping make that cultural change. This is the most fulfilling position I could ever imagine. My team and I have wins every day. They may not come in the form of trophies and championship rings, but when an employee comes to you and says the balance exercises I taught helped prevent a fall that would have otherwise caused a serious injury, that is a win that means so much more.
What do you dislike about your position?
Not a day goes by where I wake up and go, “I HAVE to go to work.” I wake up proud that I GET the opportunity to work with such an amazing population alongside the best group of Athletic Trainers anyone could ever work with. With a team like I have, what is there to dislike?
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young athletic trainer?
Think outside of the box and well outside of your comfort zone. If it wasn’t for the creativity of my team and the support from our customer giving us the opportunity for that creativity, we never would have been able to do what we do best. Because of our profession, the Industrial AT has a role to play in every manufacturing venue in the world.