Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics- March 2020

March 2020

Where All My Interests and Passions Converged Why I Love Being a CPO

What do you do when you’re on track to become a mechanical engineer but also want the levels of human interaction that come with being a medical professional? What if you also don’t want to be a doctor or nurse? Well, based on my own personal experience, you become a certified prosthetist and orthotist, or CPO for short. While I earned my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering from Boise State University, I realized I didn’t want to be confined to a research lab or behind a computer for the rest of my life. During my junior year, I took a class that let us study the internal aspects of prosthetics. We studied the design and manufacturing of things like hip and knee joint replacements. I found some aspects of the course interesting, but I couldn’t see myself designing the prosthetics separate from interacting with the people who would actually be using them. When I discovered the CPO profession, it was like finding the perfect convergence of everything I was passionate about in my studies. Being a CPO is incredibly rewarding and uniquely challenging. Many times, I meet with patients when they’re at one of the lowest and most uncertain points in their life. They may be dealing with the recent traumatic loss of a limb, they may be on a new path for orthotic/prosthetic intervention, or they may have suffered from injury or amputation years prior to our appointment and have lost all hope of ever having a normal life again. I get to serve each individual and address their own set of challenges as they regain their independence, along with educating and supporting their families. I can say without a doubt that few things are more fulfilling than watching someone regain their independence and mobility. I’m fortunate to have found an incredibly rewarding and challenging career that supports my interests and a workplace that’s 100% committed to serving patients however it can. We make sure anyone who comes through the doors

at Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics feels like their concerns are heard and their needs are met. Dictating what you

think patients need, rather than listening to what they actually need and responding accordingly, is a big problem in the prosthetic industry. But we’re about more than just cycling patients through our office and living and dying by

the dollar. We want to invest in our patients’ lives and in our community. The Challenged Athletes Foundation set up a Boise chapter last May, and it’s been amazing to see all the doors that have opened for us to be involved in the Treasure Valley community while also supporting our patients’ dreams. When I’m not at the office, I love spending time working on the farm my husband and I own, training horses, and hiking with our dogs. I’m a professional equestrian and have spent a large part of my life living around horses and training hunter/jumpers. That said, I did take a break from that life in college and grad school. Instead, I ran Ironman races and marathons and even qualified for the Boston Marathon at one point. Now though, I’m back to training horses for competitions all over the Northwest and running a local equestrian nonprofit. In any other spare time, I love to travel and explore new cultures all over the world with my husband and spend time with our family. If you’re ever interested in finding a prosthesis that will let you run triathlons or road races, then let me know! I would love to help you find the right prosthesis for doing what you love.

–Brittany Tilden

" I can say without a doubt that few things are more fulfilling than watching someone regain their independence and mobility."

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