Jacqui's current role involves conducting exercise assessments, prescribing exercise programmes and providing advice.
Jacqui graduated in 2007 with an MSc in Sport and Exercise Physiology having previously attained a degree in sports science.
'I was able to gain experience of working with clients and of prescribing exercise by qualifying as a fitness instructor and personal trainer during the time I was at university for my degree course. I took a year out between my degree and my MSc course, mainly to save up for the course and another year of being a student, but also to gain some experience. I worked as a fitness instructor and as a self-employed personal trainer for one of the big gym chains.
During my MSc course, I became really interested in lifestyle risk factors, exercise tolerance tests and clinical investigations. Although I’d always vaguely assumed that I'd work with sportspeople, I started to look at clinical exercise physiology as a career, and eventually decided to apply for jobs in this field.
My current role involves conducting exercise assessments, prescribing exercise programmes and providing advice. At the moment, I'm part of a team who support a senior exercise physiologist in working with a patient group of people with coronary heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Through my experience to date, I've developed a wide knowledge of co morbidities, acute and chronic adaptations and responses to exercise, and the physical and psychological benefits of exercise. I've also learned to be more organised, which is essential in this job, and have developed my communication and presentation skills. I'm currently studying for my British Association for Cardiac Rehabiliation (BACR) Phase IV Instructor Qualification . This entails learning about cardiovascular disease, cardiac rehabilitation, endurance exercise, risk factors, and changing behaviour and motivational interviewing.
The thing I love most about my job is motivating patients and seeing them improve. It’s very tangible, so it’s really great to share in their success, and to feel appreciated for the work I’ve done. I also really enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team and having great colleagues, and I've been able to learn so much from their experience and expertise.
My advice to graduates who are seeking a career in exercise physiology in a clinical setting is to get as much experience as you can, particularly of exercise prescription if possible. This might include work shadowing and volunteering, and the key is to be persistent! Cardiac rehabilitation is an expanding area, so I'm looking forward to continuing and developing my career in this area for the foreseeable future. I’d also be keen on doing further research, and on getting a PhD at some point.'
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