My Co-op Experience in Hawaii – by Sarah B.

Sarah learns how PT is about trust and the willingness to take a chance.

Describe a favorite highlight or memory of your experiences in the clinic and outside of work? 

There were so many big and small moments during my six months in Hawaii with Fukuji and Lum that make picking just one favorite moment challenging in the best way. In the clinic, I would say my favorite memory in the clinic was when I was working at the pool. One of the patients was working with a PT in the water and the patient was working on gait training and walking. I am not exactly sure how it started but the forward, backward, and sideways walking transitioned into the patient and the PT doing the cha-cha slide in the water. The patient was still targeting the same muscles and completing the same exercises just in a way to keep the patient engaged and involved in the session. This was one of my favorite memories because whenever I think about it I can’t help but smile and it serves as a good reminder to not take everything so seriously and that gait training/PT can be made fun.

My favorite memory outside of work would be skydiving on Christmas eve (in our matching pajamas). From coming to Hawaii not really knowing the classmates I was with that well, to jumping out of a plane with them wearing the same outfits, I cannot think of a better way to wrap up the end of our crazy adventures together.


From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?

Everyone at Fukuji and Lum cares and strives to know their patients and it is evident the patients feel heard and cared for. Going forward I want to be able to take what I have seen here and get to know my patients to help build trust.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

I believe everyone you cross paths and interact with has an impact on you and your journey in some way, shape, or form, and I am very thankful for everyone I was able to meet during my time here! I have been able to meet such good people who are great PTs and PTAs who have all taught me so much in terms of patient interaction and the field as a whole.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?

Willingness. My biggest take away from my time at Fukuji and Lum and Hawaii would be willingness to take a chance. Whether that was in a clinic where I was asked to take ROM measurements, or to describe gait deviations I was seeing, or help with an intervention I’ve only practiced in the lab, I learned throughout my time to trust in my skills and become more comfortable and confident in my abilities. Outside of the clinic, being willing to take a chance looked like adventures such as hiking trails, swimming with sharks, and jumping out of a plane. I have learned and grown so much throughout these past six months and am forever thankful for this experience!