Posted by vanessa on April 6, 2018
By Sneha Gazi, Class of 2018
For my third clinical experience between January 2nd and March 2nd, 2018, I traveled to New Zealand to work at TBI Health in Lower Hutt. My time there turned out to be the most unique opportunity of my academic life. It was a combination of learning clinical skills, working with a group of welcoming and talented coworkers, and treating the kindest and most diverse set of patients. To top it off, I stayed with family with whom I ended up becoming so much closer.
The idea began when I started learning about the contributions of Australia and New Zealand in the physical therapy field. It made it easier that I had family in New Zealand to decide that I wanted to head over to the land of Kiwis. Once I got the necessary approvals, I came across many possible sites, but one of my family members suggested TBI Health - a multidisciplinary clinic with several locations in New Zealand.
The best part of this experience was the people I worked with in the clinic. I treated patients from various backgrounds including Maoris, Samoans, and Tongans. I worked alongside employees from multiple disciplines: occupational therapists, orthopedic specialists, surgeons, and dance therapists. Throughout my time at TBI Lower Hutt, I was treated as a guest, a coworker, and a friend.
My clinical instructor provided me with a set of unique opportunities: shadowing an orthopedic surgeon, observing an orthopedic specialist advise patients on options for their care and administer minimally invasive outpatient treatments, attending an in-service by a psychologist, visiting patients in their work settings for ergonomic assessments and vocational evaluations, and meeting with a concussion specialist to discuss rugby injuries and cutting edge technology for concussion management. In addition, I was able to meet with the physical therapist who treats the national cricket team to learn about sports management.
I was fortunate to have the clinical education director of TBI working in the same facility. His coaching helped refine my skills. I learned about treating chronic pain, new ways to categorize and treat low back and neck pain, and much more. I am extremely grateful to all of these individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to spend time with me.
Outside of this incredible educational experience, I was exposed to the rich culture of New Zealand and its Pacific Island and Maori traditions. I explored the North and South Island with my family during winter break prior to starting the affiliation and was able to make weekend excursions to beautiful sights and immerse myself in the natural beauty that the country offers.
I was even able to keep up with my passion for dance and performed on three different occasions in front of government officials, locals, and others during my time in New Zealand. Overall, I made memories to last a lifetime and could not have asked for a better 11 weeks.
Sneha with colleagues at TBI. L-R: Emily Moorhouse-Aires, Anna Van Dissen,
Miles Ganley, Sneha Gazi, and Irene Swensen.
At the Rugby field: Sneha with PT Miles Ganley.