rtw dream job case study

Back to Work – But In His Dream Job!

Our job at Specialised Health is to get people back to work and life. Most of the time we help people return to the same job with the same employer. Often, people return to the same job with a new employer. Once in a while, through our programs people find themselves able to return to a brand new role. 


That was the story for Charles*, a 51 year old pharmacist who not only regained function through exercise, but also a whole new lease on life. 


Taking The First Step 


Flash back to pre-exercise physiology, Charles was struggling with debilitating pain and symptomology in both of his knees. At this time, he was (understandably) feeling quite disheartened and in a place of general lacklustre, for work and for life. Eventually, he underwent a total knee replacement as the first step toward improving his condition (and circumstances!). 


Two months after his total knee replacement, Charles had to undergo a revision surgery on one side. At this point, his insurance case manager referred him to us at Specialised Health to assist in the recovery. 


Charles, meet Hussein!


Our EP Hussein was assigned and he and Charles hit it off quickly. Charles was motivated to get back to his former self and despite the expected challenges that come with this type of recovery, such as swelling, pain, and worry, Charles showed great perseverance. Throughout the program, Charles completed a mixture of weights and cardio, specifically cycling, with Hussein’s guidance. Through consistent, gradual gains in strength and stamina, he developed  newfound confidence as well. 


Discovering a New Passion


The original plan was for Charles to return to his role as a pharmacist once he had fully recovered. However, as Charles progressed through the program, he began to realise that he didn’t want to return to a life and job that he described to Hussein as “boring”. He had always had a passion for cycling and bikes, and this time to focus on himself allowed him to explore that interest more. 


As his recovery progressed, and Hussein worked with him to build versatile function such as standing, walking and lifting capacity, Charles started a part-time position in a bike shop. He quickly realised how much more he enjoyed this role and at the end of the program, Charles had regained full strength and made the decision to pursue his passion for cycling full time. He took on a full time role at a bike shop, where he could share his knowledge and help others who shared his passion. 


His recovery journey had taken him on an unexpected path, but he had found a newfound happiness and sense of fulfilment that he never would have discovered if he had returned to his former job.


Charles’ journey serves as a powerful reminder that sometimes life can take unexpected turns, and it’s important to be open and adaptable to new opportunities – both as the customer, and as the exercise physiologist. 


*Name changed for privacy

Author: Tessa Nielsen 
Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Content Creator at Specialised Health

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