Grace Cherrey is a member of the UGA Gymnastics team. She is studying Marketing through Terry College.
Until last summer, my work experience was slim. I had spent the majority of my life in a gym training, until I solidified my spot as a collegiate Division I student-athlete at The University of Georgia. Fortunately, I had acquired skills and knowledge which would bode me well in the work force, despite my lack of work experience. As an athlete that was getting recruited, I had an opportunity to sell and market simultaneously. Though it was not in the form of a product, I was forced to sell and market myself and my athletic abilities. Little did I know, that these skills would lay the foundation for my future.
Being an athlete, I had been the culprit of injury. The prevalence of surgeries, doctors’ visits, and physical therapy was eye-opening to me, revealing my desire to be involved in the medical field, while also revealing my stubbornness and persistence. These things, combined with my competitive drive, ability to work with a team, and appreciation for interpersonal communication, introduced me to an industry which I was not even aware existed previously: medical device sales. Through networking, I was able to experience what the marketing and sales of medical devices entailed for myself.
Upon being familiarized with the field of medical devices, it wasn’t long before it became my dream job. This field presented an opportunity to submerge myself in medicine and help others, without the hands-on liabilities and additional years of education. While solidifying a position in this field posed a challenge, United Orthopedics, LLC, the Arthrex medical device distributor of Georgia, gave me an opportunity I could not turn down. Arthrex is a leader in orthopedic devices and implants, though remains privately owned. By doing so, they are able to develop thousands of innovative products annually which, in turn, contributes to their unprecedented growth as a company.
Though the company I represented was reputable, my internship only reaffirmed the love and respect I have for Arthrex and medical device sales in general. Different from other forms of sales, I was given the opportunity to sell to the expert themselves: the surgeon. This being said, I loved the emphasis this industry has on relationships, allowing me to tailor things specifically to each surgeon I worked with. Through online module training, conferences, and seminars, I was able to familiarize myself with the diverse product line and discover the ins and outs of the very products I would be marketing and selling. It is here that I was able to observe the appropriate way(s) to inform surgeons, physician assistants, surgical techs, and nurses on the appropriate ways of utilizing Arthrex products.
Though my internship was very diverse, consisting of numerous roles and responsibilities, I found attending surgery to be the most interesting and rewarding. For once, I was not the patient wondering anxiously what would come of my surgery. Instead, I was in a position of control, bringing the devices which would help repair injury and help patients return to activity. While being able to recognize the improper anatomic condition(s) of a patient was interesting, predicting the repair method and equipping the surgeon and surgical tech proved even more rewarding. I was given a unique opportunity to provide assistance the expert themselves. Being the former patient myself, my contribution to the well-being of the patient was gratifying to say the least.
Thank you to the Terry College of Business, the University of Georgia Athletic Association, and United Orthopedics for helping to make the opportunities and experiences I was able to have this summer possible. My role in the operating room had taken a 180 degree turn and I couldn’t have been more grateful; I was no longer healing, I was helping.