|Copyright ©1997-2002 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.|
Vol 6 No 5
The EPC EXAM
ASEP contact page
Code of Ethics
ASEP Public Forum
is devoted to informative articles and news items about exercise physiology.
It is a monthly magazine of news, opinions, exercise physiology professionals,
and events that shape exercise physiology. We welcome interested
practitioners, researchers, and academicians to e-mail the Publisher their
thoughts and ideas.
From the Editor:
The following email was received just recently at the ASEP National Office. It is a practical demonstration of how unsuccessful the old exercise physiology has prevailed in the public sector. This young man entered the field with dreams of translating his/her abilities into powerful realities. I can say without reservations that he/she has failed to see the dreams and hopes of the heart unfold as a healthcare practitioner in the public sector. The content of the email is real. The emotions are real. Neither is consoling and, unfortunately, there is the feeling of wasted time and worthless ideas.
What Do You See When You Look
The average observer (and many PhD exercise physiologists) glancing up from their intense work would hardly have suspected that the "student" had a dream. To penetrate through the "whatever" -- is to confirm the treasures of the heart. Is it possible that we fail a 100+ times when we share a narrow vision? This is a brief, one-email story of a young person who has put thoughts and ideas into words. As I read it, I'm reminded how I must do better to continually turn the heads of those who fail to understand.
"Greetings Dr. Boone,
My name is ....... and I have read most of what is online at the exercise physiology web site. I would like to discuss a few items that I hope will be pertinent. They do reflect much of what is said in your writings dealing with the emerging career, professionalism etc..
First of all, I have a B.S. in exercise science from ...., 1992, and a M.S. in exercise physiology from ..... I finally published my thesis in the..... After recently ordering transcripts it became evident to me what I was thinking at age 18 and even at age 23-25 with my M.S. training. I guess at the time I was too caught up in my athletic career as a distance runner to seriously think about where this training would lead and to confront my professors about the industry.
At the time I was just pursuing a dream, I guess I thought I might end up at the USOTC or someplace similar. Anyway as most former students with this training, I pursued an NSCA certification and became an excellent fitness trainer. I moved to Nashville TN in .... and I eventually found a job as an exercise specialist at a major Medical Center health promotion department. I performed some testing, max treadmills, hydrostatic weighting, flexibility assessments, diet intakes, some community health fairs, etc., and the rediculous supervising of members on the exercise floor, where I would continually get asked what it is I do.
As the amount of testing was cut back, my career choice became evident to me that I could not work along side a therapist and receive insurance reimbursement. I had several health promotion jobs previous to my .... job (including a graduate teaching assistant position) so by this point I had pretty much determined I wanted to have a much more hands on (practitioner) career and not just lecture about general health.
All my detailed graduate physiology courses (comparative cellular, medical, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, energy and metabolism, organic and biochem, nutrition, lab techniques, and thesis research courses have done nothing but put me in debt and raise my expectations to perform satisfying work. Even after ending school I had a thirst to learn more. I bought joint structure, orthopedic, rehab books etc.. to learn and as far as I was concerned I was definitely knowledgable enough to perform some skills of therapy. But of course that was not allowed.
After all if a physical therapist wanted to learn blood draws, nutrition screening or other lab tests they should be allowed to learn and practice them. Sure I could converse about hemodynamics, phospholipids, connective tissue metabolism, oxidative phosphorlation, sports training, but who cares. I had several years experience at that point testing athletes due to my natural interest as a Lance Armstrong wannybe. (Or so I thought). After all what I really wanted to do now was make a difference with diseased populations or injury rehab. So I continued on and later left my low paying position at .... and made much better money as an independent trainer for healthy people to pay back my private college training.
I currently have my reume on file with a large health care staffing agency who is hiring various holistic practitioners for pain management clinics. It's not looking good at the moment however. I have contaced chiropractors to possibly work as an assistant as well as other professionals. Forgive me if I sound a little emotionally heightened, I currently work as a painter, because my fitness training became difficult balancing it with a second job and dealing with health clubs so about 1 1/2 years ago I dropped it all and have turned into mister blue collar man.
At this point I am continuing to just grunt out a rather unenjoyable work profession and every time I thing about those wasted years I can barely stand it. I have even gotten turned down for cardiovascular tech positions because I am not a licensed cardiovascular tech, physical therapy assistant positions and others. My wife and I our finally getting a house and going back to school is out of the question at least for a few years.
Allow me to end by saying that I have been planning on becoming a member of the organization of exercise physiologists and possibly study for the fall exam. It's just that I have been unfocused as of late and I have lost heart because each day I go to work now and paint ( I realize I am losing my valuable skills) and I would be embarassed to list my current work as a painter on the membership application.
So thats where I am, a product of a state university and a private college with lots of memories. I realize there is nothing you can do but I figured as a well educated man and the founder of ASEP you may be the one for me to complain to. Hopefully you will get my application soon and I wish you well with your pursuits.
I do thank you for your time to read this."
The following email is my response to this young person. Why am I posting it here? Because I want others, who are experiencing similar difficulties, to come to terms with the power within them. As difficult as it may be, try hard to be strong and stay true to your course of action.
Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been out of town on accreditation stuff on behalf of ASEP, members, and exercise physiology. I read your email with some understanding of what you must still be going through. To pursue a dream, to still have it in your heart, and yet not be allowed and/or encouraged to realize it in ways that may have been promised is not just a disappointment but some form of hell. I wish I could be more helpful, but all I can say is that your story is one of many I've read from sent to the ASEP National Office. Your understanding of the disconnect between the "education process we professors put our students through" and the real life public sector story is the reason for the ASEP organization.
I understand your sense of "raised expectations" and all for what. We are working as hard as we can, and we are making progress at that on behalf of all exercise physiologists (and not just the PhD ones). It is an uphill struggle because many PhD/EPs and, unfortunately, many non-PhD/EPs simply don't it yet. They think sports medicine is exercise physiology and, I think, they are afraid of admitting their mistakes. Life is too short to let the inertia of yesterday's thinking keep such a strong grip on us. We need young professionals like yourself to get involved in ASEP, if possible. We need leaders, such as I think you are, to help argue our case before the world.
We are at war with physical therapy and other healthcare practitioners. This is as I see it. Creating a profession is tough enough, but doing it against the will of others is a challenge of major significance. I understand the challenge, and I am in the battle for the rest of life. At some point, I believe the door will open more and we will stop losing good people such as yourself. You have the right to want to make a difference, and you can still do so. Today and yesterday do not have to be memories that went wrong somehow. Please keep the dream in front of you and never give up even if it should mean painting 40,000 houses.
Figure it out. Don't give up even if it means a 1000 sacrifices. Dreams are what wake people up and get them to work. They give up our joy and passion in life. Our hopes give us the reason for living and coming to terms with life. Yet, having said this, I know of some of the challenges you have written about. That is why we created the Board Certification (the EPC exam), that is why we are accrediting undergraduate programs, and trying as hard as possible to help other exercise physiologists think outside of their years of the sports medicine myth.
Don't lose heart, and don't give up on realizing your dreams. I know. Easy said, easy said. That is life, though. Maybe this is exactly what has been put in your path to overcome if not to realize the power within you to define who you are. In the end, whether it is painting a house or working in sales or whatever, we can learn from it and that helps us later in sharing with others. You haven't lost anything even if it should take another 10 years. What matters most is the strength of your determination. Persistence is the key to life's challenges.
For certain, don't be embarassed about working. Many great men and women have had to do just about every job possible to realize their dreams. Take pride in doing what is right for your family. I have great respect for you. For the moment, what state do you live in (should you want to email me again)? It just occurred to me that if you should live in a state where their isn't an exercise physiology association, maybe it could become an evening hobby to keep your mind fix on your goals and dreams. ASEP can help with creating such an association in several important ways. You could become the President of the association and a direct line connection to the ASEP vision, goals and objectives. If this is not possible, then we can figure something out else, that is, if you want to.
By the way, in summary, please do complain to me whenever it is necessary. I'm working on behalf of you. This is what ASEP is about. We want to change things (and we have done so, even in 5 years) to make dreams possible within the context of exercise physiology. Sounds somewhat dumb like, but it is my right, your right, and the right of others to share in the creation of our emerging profession. Having said this, I look forward to your application to the ASEP organization.
|Just so you don't forget that ASEP is working on your behalf, please
read the ASEP President's Message:
In the Presidential Address that I delivered at the 4th Annual ASEP meeting, I indicated that one of my initial goals was to evaluate the activities of existing ASEP committees as well as to determine whether additional committees were necessary. During the last two months, I have been evaluating the progress made by ASEP committees and have developed list of action items in consultation with ASEP Past Presidents and Committee Chairs. Through the vision and leadership of our Past Presidents, Committee Chairs, and many ASEP members, significant progress has been made to advance the profession of exercise physiology. However, we must continue to move forward if we are to realize our vision.
This newsletter provides an update about some of the initiatives we have planned for ASEP this year. As you will see, ASEP is on the move. However, we will need your help to accomplish some of these goals. Please look over the administrative and committee initiatives described below and help us accomplish these goals. The best professional organizations are those whose members take an active role in various initiatives and activities. We can only move ASEP forward if its members actively engage in the professional development of exercise physiology. I look forward to your involvement in ASEP.
Committee- Chair, Tommy
Boone, PhD, MPH, FASEP, EPC
Committee- Chair, Dale
R. Wagner, PhD, CSCS
Committee- Chair, LaGary
Committee- Chair, Robert
Robergs, PhD, FASEP, EPC
Committee- Chair, Serge
P. von Duvillard, PhD, FACSM
Committee- Chair, Robert
Robergs, PhD, FASEP, EPC
Committee- Chair, Tim
PhD, CSCS, EPC