As a clinical exercise physiologist who has worked for more than 30 years in health care, I’ve been able to contribute to the health of patients in so many satisfying ways. I spent the early years of my career as a program director/exercise physiologist in cardiac rehabilitation. This was especially rewarding, since most patients who suffer a heart attack or are recovering from surgery are motivated to prevent the recurrence of a very scary experience. It’s a “teachable moment” when you can guide and support patients to adopt a more active lifestyle and help them develop a circle of friends who are on the same journey.
I obtained additional ACSM certifications, including ACSM Exercise Test Technologist, that allowed me to participate in stress testing and confidently read ECG monitors during exercise sessions. Clinical exercise physiologists provide invaluable expertise and can develop a career depending upon the staffing preferences of a specific health care system.
This was especially rewarding, since most patients who suffer a heart attack or are recovering from surgery are motivated to prevent the recurrence of a very scary experience.
I subsequently went to work as a member of the health care team in various medical center departments including business and occupational health, health promotion and sports medicine. These were areas where corporate contracts provided revenue or patients paid out of pocket for selected fitness services. Since exercise physiologists are not reimbursable as individual providers, it was critical for me to demonstrate my unique value within a health care system. Using my verbal and written communication skills, I took it upon myself to lead patient education and marketing efforts on behalf of my programs.
Since exercise physiologists are not reimbursable as individual providers, it was critical for me to demonstrate my unique value within a health care system.
I became a Myers Briggs Type facilitator so that I could effectively develop and manage workplace teams. I did whatever was needed to provide value including program development, exercise testing and prescription to various patient types, management of clinic staff, public relations and external partnerships. These skills continue to help me in my current role as the Vice President of Exercise is Medicine® at ACSM. I’ve believed in the vision of Exercise is Medicine® throughout my entire professional life and have been blessed to carve out a satisfying career along the way. It is my hope that qualified exercise professionals will soon be recognized as essential members of health care teams.
Robyn Stuhr, MA, ACSM-EP, ACSM-CEP, RCEP, Vice President, Exercise is Medicine®, American College of Sports Medicine.
Robyn has served as Sports Medicine Program Director at UC San Diego Health, acting as liaison to the U.S. Olympic Committee Medical Network, and as Vice President of Academy at the American Council on Exercise. As exercise physiologist and administrative director, Robyn helped to create the first Women’s Sports Medicine Center in the United States at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, dedicated to the treatment of active and athletic women. She has 30 years of clinical and administrative experience in health care including: cardiac rehabilitation, business and occupational health, health promotion and sports medicine.
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