Port Charlotte, FL -  When Teresa Hayse first stepped foot into Fawcett Memorial Hospital, she was in Middle School. The current director of Fawcett Sports and Rehab grew up in Port Charlotte and recalls visiting Fawcett to learn about career opportunities with her middle school. Thanks to encouragement from various local educators, Hayse knew that the healthcare field was where she was meant to be.

Hayse was born and raised in Charlotte County. She attended Sally Jones Elementary School, Punta Gorda Middle School and Charlotte High School, where she was a successful softball player and active in sports. She recalls her health and anatomy teacher, Mrs. Jordan, who had an impact on her future career choice. She recalls Port Charlotte High School being built while she was in elementary school, and remembers when her current office was the movie theater in the Promenades Mall.

“I’ve seen the community grow by leaps and bounds. I watched the mall get built, I remember when my office was the movie theater. There has been a lot of change and it is part of the reason I wanted to come back home,” said Hayse.

Following her graduation from Charlotte High School, Hayse attended the University of Florida, where she studied physical therapy, health and wellness in hopes of becoming a sports trainer. During college, she was able to intern at Fawcett, Naples Community Hospital and in Maryland.

Afterward, she was hired by Fawcett and was able to experience both inpatient and outpatient physical therapy. She began her career as a physical therapy clinical coordinator and is now the director of sports and rehab, at Fawcett; her 20th year at the hospital and 12th year in clinical management. She said the most difficult and testing time of her career was during Hurricane Charley.

“We weren’t used to having crazy emergencies like that. Fawcett Sports and Rehab was closed for four weeks, but we realized we were needed due to injuries after the storm. The outpatient staff also helped stabilize the homes of nurses and essential employees in the hospital, so that they were able to work and help patients during such a critical time,” said Hayse.

Since her first time in the facility as a middle schooler, Hayse has seen Fawcett change and grow, and will see more necessary changes again with its upcoming $32.5 million expansion project.

“There has been a lot of growth at Fawcett, physical therapy has evolved and Hurricane Charley obviously had a huge effect on the community, but Fawcett is still people caring for others and focusing on the patient,” said Hayse.