By Mark Yanai

Introducing Ashley

Embracing Change is one of F&L’s core values that we look for in each of our employees. Every six months we get a new set of students from Northeastern University and our entire organization embraces their presence and the responsibility to care for them. This fall semester we have four new students including Colby, which I wrote about in my last blog.

Since my first Co-op blog, I’ve always used the same format when questioning the students about themselves. In trying to keep things fresh and evolving, I gave each of the Co-ops the freedom to write whatever they wanted in introducing themselves as employees of F&L. Today, we get to meet Ashley. [one_third]

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Deciding to spend my first co-op in Hawaii is probably one of the better decisions I have made. From the first time I spotted the Hawaiian site for my Co-op I knew I wanted to apply to Fukuji & Lum. However, never in a million years did I think I would actually get the honor of working with such intelligent and caring people. Being a physical therapy major, there isn’t much time to travel during the six years that I am I student. I am truly lucky to have been given the chance to be able to move to Hawaii and immerse myself in its culture for six months. [/two_third_last]

Working at Fukuji & Lum has given me opportunities that I never imagined were possible. From getting grastoned to actually taking patients through their exercise programs, I have gained so much experience that will help me become a better therapist in the future. Every day I learn something new. The people I get to work with are the best in their field, always making sure they explain things to me and that I understand, and constantly improving themselves as well.

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Having the opportunity to work not only in a clinic, but a pool and front office, also gives me a chance to learn so many different aspects of therapy. Each job that I have is different and teaches me something new.

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Working in the office has taught me a lot about the paperwork aspect of therapy. Before this experience, I never knew how complicated insurance was and I have gained a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs. Being in the pool was something that made me very excited to work here. The pool is a very unique setting for therapy and one I always found fascinating. While in the pool I have learned an alternative to land therapy and it has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to coming up with helpful exercises.

So far two months (one-third) of my Hawaiian adventure has gone by and I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s hard to believe I have already spent so long in this incredible place, at a job that makes me excited to wake up every morning. It also scares me that in a few short months I’ll be heading back to freezing cold Boston in the middle of January! At least I’ll have a nice tan… I am so thankful for this experience and can not wait to use all I learned and all I will learn at Fukuji & Lum as a physical therapist one day! [/two_third]

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By Mark Yanai

Meet Jocelyn

Pediatrics and Pool Time with Jocelyn

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Jocelyn Shiro, MSPT, PAq has been a licensed and practicing physical therapist for the past 30 years in California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Twenty­-eight of those years have been in pediatric rehab, working with clients of various ages, ranging from birth to young adulthood. She has worked in neuro-rehabilitation, public schools, birth to three early intervention and private pediatric clinic settings.

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Jocelyn has experience with aquatic physical therapy, developmental assessments, sensory integration treatment, evaluation and treatment of children with global and motor developmental delays, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Spina Bifida, lower extremity amputation from disease, trauma, and birth defects, Failure to Thrive, FAS, seizure disorders, Brittle Bone Disease, and orthopedic anomalies.

In August 2016, Jocelyn became a certified Pediatric Aquaticist through the Aquatic Therapy University in Minneapolis. She currently works for Fukuji and Lum as a full time aquatic physical therapist, and for the Waianae Coast Early Childhood Services Parent Child Development Center.

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Jocelyn joined us a year ago and has been busy at our Kokokahi location working daily in the pool. Her certification in Pediatric Aquatics brings us closer to providing lifelong care for our patients.

What makes you so drawn to working in pediatrics?
I have always had a soft spot for babies and children.  No matter what deficit or diagnosis they have, no matter how high or low functioning they are, they just want to have fun and feel happy.  If they are in pain or are unhappy, hugs tend to work much better than pills. They are also smaller than me, and being a rather small adult, it makes being a physical therapist much easier!

Who is your greatest influence in physical therapy?
My clients, both young and old are my greatest influences.  I am often inspired by those who are overcoming pain, suffering and disability, and I strive to be a better therapist, so that I can better help them.

What is the most interesting thing or most rewarding thing in working with children?
Children’s bodies and nervous systems tend to be more plastic or resilient, because they are young and still developing.  They tend to improve or recover relatively quickly, which makes working with them very rewarding.  I also enjoy working with parents or other caregivers, educating them and empowering them to be their child’s best advocate and “therapist”.

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You moved from Alaska to work in Hawaii. What drew you to Hawaii? 
I was tired of the cold, dark winters of Alaska and was ready for a change. I felt like I had made an impact and contribution to my small town in Alaska through teaching dance and being a PT for the hospital, public schools, and the birth to three early intervention organization.  I wanted try making a new contribution to a new community, with the same feeling of “Ohana” if I could.

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What do you see in F&L that’s so different than other PT organizations?
The owners and clinic directors treat, make investments in, and take care of their employees like family.  I am starting to really feel a part of it just after a year. I’ve worked many years in different settings, and it’s rare to find that special closeness between the different staff levels.  Everyone is important and valued, regardless of title. When people feel invested like that, the company can run more smoothly and respectfully. I truly appreciate that and feel blessed to be a part of Fukuji and Lum Ohana.

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How have you adapted to life on the islands?
Haha, I think I have adapted very quickly and comfortably.  I feel very at home here and have enjoyed getting to know a wide variety of people, both local and not local, and have involved myself in the medical, yoga, and dance communities this past year.  And my son serendipitously ended up at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, which we both love (that was NOT planned, but he says I followed him).

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By Mark Yanai

The Awesome Experience of Finding Yourself

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One of the rewards of working with physical therapy students is being able to witness their amazing growth during their time with us. At the end of their internship, students normally see the success they accomplished with their work and have the realization of a learned skill. But with the Northeastern Co-Op students, it’s often a lot more than what happens in the clinical setting. They end up discovering their identity of who they really are and want to be in life.

While the experience of being in Hawaii for six months seems like an extended vacation, it is often much more than that. There’s a saying “You never leave a place you love, you take a part of it with you, leaving a part of you behind.” I find this is true for many of the Co-Ops, but much more so with Kara, one of our 5 Co-ops this past semester. When I first posted a blog introducing her back in Febuary, she wrote about her hopes to finding out what kind of therapist she could be. Six months went by fast and I could describe her tremendous growth in my words, but it’s more clear when you hear it from her.

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So I guess now that I’m done with my first semester back I have no more excuses to not write this blog. It’s a big undertaking, however, because I am not particularly adept at putting my feelings and experiences into coherent thoughts. My usual encounter with anyone asking me how my 6-month co-op was in Hawaii might be something like this:

“So how was Hawaii?” Internal dialogue: ‘Ohmygosh it was so great I had so much fun I learned so much Fukuji and Lum is awesome they actually care so much about the co-ops and that we are having a good/educational time and the islands were great/magical/more than I ever imagined and I made friends and swam in the ocean with cute sea creatures and almost fell off a few mountains and ohmygosh I got so fit biking to work every day but it was scary in the rain and everyone was always so concerned and supportive of everything that we did and looked out for us like family wait what was I saying? What I actually say: “uhhhh…. Awesome?!?!”

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I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear me babble on like that, but that’s pretty much still all I can do.  I cannot describe what a great experience working for Fukuji & Lum was, or how much all of my amazing coworkers mean to me. It wasn’t just 6 months of sun and fun in a tropical paradise, although there was plenty of that, I was welcomed into the F&L family as a long-lost relative. The Hawaiian concept of Ohana is now engrained in me, not by being told the definition over and over, but by being shown over and over in the kindness and love of everyone I encountered.

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The experience I gained in the different clinics will shape the type of therapist I become. Up till now, being a physical therapist was a VERY distant dream. Being back from Fukuji and Lum and taking classes this summer, this is the first time I have actually felt this dream was attainable. Working as a therapist was something I wanted to do, but honestly up till now it was something I never actually felt I was capable of doing. I continued semester after semester with the growing feeling that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t smart enough. The people at Fukuji and Lum have been great mentors, and the confidence they have shown in me has in turn made me more confident. Since returning from Hawaii I find I have been able to accept the fact that no, I don’t know everything, but that’s ok, that’s what the rest of my education is for.

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I am grateful for everything I came away from Hawaii having learnt and seen. In those magical 6 months I made lifelong friends, ate strange and delicious foods (does anyone want to send me some haupia?? no??), collected a hodgepodge of the culture and language, explored, learned much about myself, and fell in love…. with the Islands! So from the bottom of my heart, Mahalo Nui Loa!

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Mila

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Introducing Mila!

As we continuing with our introductions of our five new co-ops, we welcome Mila to the F&L family. She and her classmate, Kaitlin, are currently working at our Kokokahi clinics, both at the pool and Kaneohe clinic. Throughout the next six months, we hope that some of our patients get the opportunity to be a part of her experience in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Ashland High School and my current college in Northeastern University in Boston.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
During my freshman year of college I became very active and started running and working out with a grassroots workout group called November Project. As a retired dancer and a pharmacy major I quickly realized that my passion lay in the preventative side of medicine that focused on patient care and had an impact on patients’ lives. After going to physical therapy myself, I realized that a career as a physical therapist would allow me to explore my interest in the human body and make a huge impact on the quality of life of my patients. It is an extremely rewarding, challenging, and fun career that completely matches my active lifestyle.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
F&L offers aquatic therapy, which is something I have always been interested in. They also seem to have a family environment within their company, which is something I have always wanted to experience. And… it’s Hawaii; the real question is why would I ever not want to do my coop in paradise! It is so amazing to have a full day at work and then be able to drive 5 minutes to do a sunset hike overlooking the beach.

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What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been absolutely incredible! I can’t believe it has only been a month. I have been hiking, surfing, swimming, eating lots of delicious food, meeting wonderful friends, and getting my tan on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Natto…

What is on your to do list while here?
Hike stairway to heaven, sky dive, check out Big Island and Kauai, paraglide, learn more songs on guitar, eat everything, get very tan, and of course learn how to surf!

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What are your outside interests?
I love to dance, cook, write, sing, read, watch movies, hike, and snowboard.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I would like to be an outpatient orthopedic therapist. I hope to obtain the experience and knowledge to confidently provide each individual patient with the best care and attention to their unique injuries.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I don’t have a single influence in my life. I am blessed to have been surrounded by loving friends and family who have shaped me into the person I am today. I have had the same best friends since the 6th grade and I am very close to my family. I believe the close relationships I have made so far have been my biggest motivator and have showed me how fun life can be when you’re surrounded by those you love!

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By Deb Matsuura

Connor: My Co-Op Experience in Hawaii

 

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We are so fortunate in Hawaii to be blessed with such rich culture, beauty and love. Sometimes it takes others to remind us of how much we have as you listen to them reflect on their experiences in Hawaii.
It never seems to amaze me that the Co-op students, like Connor and Victoria, have such transformative experiences in Hawaii. I often forget how young these students are and how such an experience can set them up for not only a successful professional career, but a different perspective of life.

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For Connor, his stay in Hawaii was a life changing experience. He wrote to us about the opportunities he had to learn not only about physical therapy but the Hawaiian culture. It was a pleasure to get to know him during his brief stay and I wish him the best in his future endeavors as he continues on his path to become a PT.

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After moving back to Boston and settling into another semester of classes at Northeastern University, I look back at my six months in Hawaii, working at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy, with nothing but fond memories. It hasn’t even been a month, but I already miss the people, the sights, the weather, and the aloha spirit. Although I am sad it had to come to an end, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work for such an inspiring company in such an incredible place. This experience taught me countless life lessons both in and out of the clinic.

My flight to Hawaii was my first flight alone and my first time traveling. I boarded the flight feeling equal parts excited and anxious. I was traveling to an island 5,000 miles away to live and work with people I had never met before. My worries quickly dissipated as I met Mark at the airport and was introduced to my host and the beauty of Kaneohe Bay. I still have vivid memories of my first morning in Hawaii; waking up to the sunrise and kayaking out into the bay.

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My first few days at W.O.R.C. were overwhelming, but I instantly knew I was surrounded by a team of positive, hardworking, knowledgeable, and caring staff. Mark, Woody, Jessie, Stacey, Ross, Lisa, Talon, and Ryan were all more than welcoming and helpful. My coworkers and patients did not take long to show me the true meaning of aloha. Working at F&L’s W.O.R.C. clinic was a unique experience.

From Graston to smashing, I was constantly learning new information and techniques that I wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. It was evident that I was not the only student in the room, as all of my coworkers were trying to become better therapists each and every day. This value on education and striving to be the best you can be, is what makes the F&L team so special.

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During my six months there, F&L went through some changes that opened up even more opportunities for me to grow as a future therapist. I saw Woody leave to start his own practice, which brought Jamie and Janie to W.O.R.C, exposing me to even more therapist styles and knowledge. F&L also hired Nicole, their first ever occupational therapist. I really enjoyed the inter-professional collaboration as patients transitioned from therapy to work hardening & conditioning.

Outside of W.O.R.C., F&L greatly expanded their aquatic therapy program. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work alongside Rachel, Joy, Jocelyn, Deb, Wes, Billy, and a fellow Northeastern student Victoria. Coming from the clinic, I once again had so much to learn. I was constantly impressed by the variety of patients benefiting from aquatic therapy, and the creativity of the therapists to accommodate each patient’s needs. The F&L team exposed me to so many different aspects of my future career and taught me that physical therapy and caring for patients is about more than just what you learn in a classroom.

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Of course, while in Hawaii, I did much more than just work for six months. The state of Hawaii is a one of the most unique and beautiful places. I was so lucky to spend my weekends at places like Lanikai, Waikiki, Mokapu’u, the North Shore, Volcanic Rock Gym in Kailua, and many more. Whether I was hiking mountains, kayaking around islands, learning to surf, climbing rock walls, or jumping off waterfalls, every day in Hawaii was a memorable adventure.

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I was also fortunate enough to take some time off from work to see the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai. I saw some of the most breath-taking views at Kilauea, Haleakala, Lahaina, Hana, Waimea Canyon, and the Napali Coast and experienced the thrills of swimming through underground lava caves, flying in a helicopter, and snorkeling with honu and tako.

The people and experiences of Hawaii opened my mind to so much and became a part of who I am. I cannot thank everyone at F&L and everyone else I met along the way enough. Despite the distance from my home, I have countless life-long friends in Hawaii who made me a part of their ohana. It’s not a matter of if, but when I return, I look forward to seeing you all again.

Aloha and Mahalo!
Connor Pokorney

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By Mark Yanai

Mahalo & Aloha Victoria

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As we introduce our new Co-Ops, we also say goodbye to those who have completed the fall semester. Victoria guest blogs for me as she reflects back on the past six months and her experience with F&L.

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t wish I could be back in Hawaii (especially with Boston’s current 30 degree weather). I had wanted to apply to the Fukuji and Lum co-op ever since I first heard about it three years ago. As someone who loves to travel, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue my physical therapy education while living in and experiencing a new place.

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While the thought of moving halfway around the world for six months seemed intimidating, the Fukuji and Lum family welcomed us with open arms and showed us the true meaning of “Aloha” from day one. I feel truly lucky to have had the privilege of getting to know both the staff members and patients at F&L. From giving me my first spam musubi to inviting us to an Okinawan festival, everyone went out of their way to ensure we experienced all aspects of the Hawaiian culture. The always calm and friendly Hawaiian spirit was impossible not to catch and is something I hope to always keep with me.

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My weeks in Hawaii were filled with learning while I worked at the Kailua and Kaneohe Clinics as well as the Aquatic Therapy program in Kaneohe. The dedicated physical therapists and PTA’s were always there to encourage me and answer my many questions. Thanks to them, I have come back to Boston knowing more than I ever thought I could learn in six months and with a greater drive to continue learning and complete my final three years of physical therapy school.

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Growing up a swimmer, Kaneohe pool’s Aquatic Therapy program made me feel at home immediately. Working with physical therapists Rachel, Jocelyn, and Joy, as well as the rest of the aquatic therapy staff, Deb, Billy, Wes and my fellow co-op Connor, there was always somebody ready to show me new techniques or answer a question. During my six months, I was able to watch the program grow and have gained a greater understanding of Aquatic Therapy and the many benefits it provides.

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In the Kailua clinic I worked closely with Randall Fukuji and Clarise who introduced me to PRI (Postural Restoration Institute), an approach to physical therapy that I had never heard of before coming to Hawaii. In the clinic, I instructed patients in their exercises and assisted with some manual techniques. I’ve learned the importance of keeping an open mind and always continuing my education as a physical therapist.

In Kaneohe’s Lower Atherton Clinic I was able to assist and observe physical therapists Jamie, Brad and Nate, and gained an appreciation for the many different ways each of them treated patients. Also, PTAs Colleen and Janie were always there to teach me new exercises and answer any of my questions. From observing evaluations, manual therapy, and attending different in-services, the Kaneohe clinic kept me constantly learning.

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Outside the clinic, my weekends were always exciting and filled with different adventures. My favorite memories include many muddy hikes and beautiful beaches, as well as kayaking to the Mokulua island, spending days on the North Shore, and swimming with wild spinner dolphins. I don’t think thank you is enough to describe how grateful I am to each one of my coworkers, patients, and new friends for making   Windward Oahu feels like home.

Aloha,

Victoria

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By Mark Yanai

Finding Teagan: A New Home

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Teagan Ferguson’s Co-Op Experience

When I think about Teagan, I get a little misty eyed. I first interviewed her for a co-op position a year before she arrived on Oahu. She was very quiet and reserved. Honestly, I was concerned that she wasn’t ready for the experience of being so far from home so I recommended that she apply again the following year. She ended up traveling to Hawaii with her family and visited our facilities. She contacted me and again expressed her desire to join us. Her determination to join us was evident and I offered her the position gladly.

Throughout Teagan’s six-month employment with us, her skills, along with her confidence, grew immensely as she worked closely with our patients and staff therapists. What amazed me the most about Teagan, was her ability to adapt. Due to multiple unexpected changes, she was asked to deal with changes to her schedule, including moving locations, and working with different programs. She definitely displayed a level of maturity that impressed us all and became one of our most versatile, multi-skilled clinicians that patients embraced as their own.

Here’s what she wrote about that experience.

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I’ve traveled my whole life and never lived anywhere very long. I’m honestly not one to jump at a chance to travel more, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to revisit the place where I was born. After my co-op with Fukuji and Lum I was really glad I had taken the trip to work with them. F &L is truly a family, one that includes the patients that we cared for. I was able to work at Lower Atherton’s Outpatient Clinic and in Aquatic Therapy at the pool.

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With the F&L family I was able to solidify my skills in the outpatient clinic and learn a lot about clinical decisions from Jamie, whom I worked closely with. It was great to see things from her perspective as a newer PT and learn some tips along the way.

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Down at the pool I had the ever-amazing Rachael Hyland to guide my learning. She helped me grow from a nervous student to someone who was ready to take on clinical education with confidence.

It was amazing to see how much could be done in an aquatic setting, from ROM to conditioning and balance, and how creative the field could be. I was grateful that I could have such a positive experience in the field I’d like to specialize into. 
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The things I’ve learned as a co-op student aren’t the only things I’m thankful for either. Everyone shared their part of Hawaii, whether it was food from our lovely patients, Colleen opening her doors to house us or Ryan and Talon showing us the social life. The staff went out of their way to really make this a wonderful experience for all of us. 
Being back in classes definitely isn’t the same as being on an island but after this experience I’m much more motivated and have valuable insight. I look forward to a chance to return to Oahu and hopefully make it a more permanent accommodation. 
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By Mark Yanai

The NEU Contribution

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“The secret to living is giving.” – Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

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It’s that time again! Every six months we say Aloha and goodbye to the Northeastern University (NEU) Co-Ops that have been with us as part of our affiliation with their school. F&L is now in our eighth year with its partnership with Northeastern University’s Physical Therapy Cooperative Education Program.

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Our company accepts NEU physical therapy students as full-time employees and gives them the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in an outpatient orthopedic clinical setting. They primarily assist our highly qualified physical therapists with outpatient care at our clinic locations in Honolulu and Windward Oahu, including the outdoor heated pool at the Kokokahi YWCA. The journey to Hawaii offers NEU students tremendous life-changing experiences as they strive to balance work, play and new discoveries during their six-month employment.

Our most recent Co-ops, Cody, Sarah and Teagan, were with us from January to June and were an integral part of our team. Cody spent most of his time at WORC and was an outstanding contributor in working with injured workers. He also was an integral part of the Performance Plus Program in training our F&L membership base in a personal training. Cody proved to be a quick learner and developed skills in instructing patients with tools such as sandbags, kettlebells, and suspension trainers.

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Teagan spent her time in the Aquatics program and with our private care patients at Lower Atherton. She definitely found a love for the pool and demonstrated the unique ability to work with the wide diversity of patients that are a part of Aquatics. She expressed to me that she may have found a career path with her time spent at Kokokahi.

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Sarah was our first homegrown Co-op student, having graduated from Iolani Schools. She was our utility Co-op bouncing from the Windward side at the pool and our Kailua clinic to working exclusively at our Kuakini clinics. The Co-op experience is valuable for students who haven’t experienced the islands so this was the first time that we had someone who was with us primarily for the clinical experience. Look forward to reading about her experience, as well as the others, in an upcoming blog.

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F&L’s relationship with NEU’s co-op program is unique. F&L’s commitment to the physical therapy profession is one reason why we dedicate our time and resources to this relationship. Each staff member is responsible to contribute to the growth and learning of the co-ops so that the profession continues to expand to higher levels. This responsibility is not listed on anyone’s job description but it is a large part of our culture and values. There is no richer emotion in life than the sense that something you have said or done has somehow enhanced someone’s life. We recognize our staff’s contribution to the NEU program as well as the how these young professionals enhance our lives in such a short time.

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We wish the three students our best wishes and thank them for their hard work and dedication. We hope that our paths cross again and that one day we employ them again.

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We greet our new co-ops, Connor and Victoria (look for more about them in my next blog).

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