Co-op in the Health Sciences: a Lasting Impact, and Memories to Last a Lifetime!

When most students are asked why they decided to come to Northeastern, co-op is clearly one of the most important reasons when choosing Northeastern University.  Whether it be positions in the greater Boston area, across the country, or even globally, co-op is an incredible experience to have, especially when it is incorporated in your undergraduate career.

When thinking of my favorite memories throughout my college career, my two co-ops are definitely my most memorable.  After I declared my major, and continued as a Health Sciences student, I wanted to have most first co-op in a hospital setting to see if medicine was truly the right path for me.

My first co-op was at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and I think that this position truly shaped me for the rest of my undergraduate career.  I worked in the Respiratory Care Department, and dealt with calibration of the equipment, safety checks, and stocking of the hospital.  Through this co-op, I was able to shadow Respiratory Therapists, and see what their responsibilities were.  Additionally I got to view a lot of very interesting procedures that I would have otherwise not known about.

I had the incredible opportunity of shadowing a Pediatric Anesthesiologist for the day, and got to be in the Operating Room while various surgeons were practicing.  While these were all incredible events, I think that my most memorable experience was witnessing a Caesarean section.  It was at that moment that I knew medicine was for me, regardless of the specialty.  It was also through my position at MGH, that I knew I wanted to explore patient care.  I realized that I did not want to be background and really wanted to focus on interaction with patients.

My second co-op was also an incredible experience.  For my last co-op, I wanted to focus on patient care and I worked at Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy in Braintree as a Sports Medicine Co-op Student.  At this position, I worked as a Rehabilitation Aide, and assisted the Physical Therapists with instruction on how to complete exercises, performing manual Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and Progressive Resistive Exercise (PREs), and much more.

Being able to witness people achieve their goals, whether it be post-surgically or post-injury was heart warming.  Many patients had expressed their gratitude for encouraging them throughout their physical therapy, and it was truly a gift to be able to show up to work and have a nice relationship with all of the patients. My patients even threw me a giant Going Away party, featuring puppies and food when I finished my co-op! I loved working closely with patients in an outpatient setting, and I felt as though the patient care and interaction was the most valuable experience I have had at Northeastern. It is because of my two co-ops that I am so excited to be on the path to becoming a Physician Assistant post-graduation.

Co-op is truly one of the most incredible and life changing experiences Northeastern has to offer. Make the most of your adventure into the working world, and most of all enjoy it!

By: Amanda Carreiro