Gait Training as a PT Student
The single most awkward simulated task in PT school has to be practicing gait training on classmates. It goes without saying that none of us are very good at acting, and even if we are, we can't possibly "present" with all of the complications that an actual patient would. Now that we've progressed further into the neuromuscular courses, a lot of the concepts are becoming more clinically based. We're applying things like gait training to specific subpopulations - stroke, spinal-cord injury, amputees etc. But no matter how hard we try, we just can't make the situation realistic.
What's more awkward is working with an instructor who is a gait training rock star (both with facilitating and acting). You'll watch this 5-foot-1 woman dependently stand her 6-foot-4 counterpart, who despite being neurologically intact can perfectly imitate a patient who has had a stroke. Next, they always ask for a volunteer to demonstrate, and all I can think is, "How do I follow that?" It's really impressive, but as a student it's also very intimidating.
Gait training is obviously a huge part of physical therapy, and I'm sure that the only way to become comfortable with it is to practice with actual patients. At the same time, you want to feel confident before you are in a "real" setting. There just doesn't seem to be a good simulated environment for us to learn in. For now, we'll just have to struggle through the awkwardness and hope that the skills we practice in class will translate into a clinical setting.