By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Here's Ariane!

Ariane shares how yoga has helped her find a deeper connection with physical therapy and how it can relate to her approach when treating her patients. 

Hi everyone! 

My name is Ariane, I grew up in Brookline, MA and did my undergrad at Ithaca College in upstate New York. I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. The more I learn and the more I am immersed within the field of physical therapy, the more I know I’m in the right place. Although this is now, my initial draw to physical therapy came about during my yoga teacher training. During my training I was lucky to become part of an extraordinary community of women who I saw as both empowering and empowered. In the company of these women’s experiences, I found myself surrounded by mothers, survivors, teachers, clinicians, counselors, women from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, women who turned to yoga for far more than a physical experience.

My yoga teacher training opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about yoga and in turn a new way of thinking about health. Physical therapy has always resonated with me. What stood out to me was not only the holistic approach to healing, but also the emphasis on interpersonal communication and genuine connections with patients. 

I believe physical therapy is a practice that shows people just how capable they really are. 

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to get out of my bubble and step outside my comfort zone. I wanted to live and learn in a place that was not like what I knew. 

The kind of therapist I hope to be, is one who exudes openness and passion. I want to be the kind of therapist whose patients feel like they can be their true selves. I believe this fosters trust. I want to be a therapist that patients look forward to coming back to, who they want to update on their lives… of course I hope to be a great and knowledgeable practitioner too…but who doesn’t? A physical therapist is so much more than that. Most of all, I hope to provide a safe space for all those I treat. 

The greatest influences in my life are by far my parents. I have never known two people as selfless as they. To grow up and feel their love for me is the greatest gift in the world. My parents showed me everything I believe about the importance of kindness and respect. I hope to embody these values through my practice.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Berika!

Berika shares what makes physical therapy her passion and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii. 

Hello! My name is Berika and I grew up in San Jose, CA where I went to Del Mar High School. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare so when I decided on physical therapy as a career, I applied to more than enough PT schools and when Northeastern University said ‘Yes’, so did I.

What drew me to physical therapy was the ability to not just help someone get physically better, but to help someone to be able to help themselves to get better and not just in the short term.

What drew me to do my co-op in Hawaii was the culture on the island and at Fukuji & Lum. At F&L, the entire person is taken into consideration on how to treat them, and not just their prescription for physical therapy. And that sort of holistic approach to healing the body is exactly the kind of therapist I hope to be.

My experience so far has been nothing short of amazing! I enjoy going to work every day during the week to learn first hand how to be a great Physical Therapist, and I am having a blast every weekend exploring different parts of the island and trying new things. What’s on my to-do list while here is to go to a Luau and go skydiving! I’ve never been skydiving before and this seems like the perfect place to do it.

The greatest influence in my life is absolutely my grandmother. A retired teacher, she is full of wisdom, laughter, love, and is always the first person to both support my dreams and figure out how to fulfill them.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Alice!

Alice shares what physical therapy means to her and what makes her excited to be in Hawaii this semester!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

High school: St. Joseph’s Central High School in Pittsfield, MA

Current College: Northeastern University

What drew you to physical therapy?

My mother is a physical therapist who has been practicing for 35 years. My mother, as well as many of her co-workers have worked in the same location for over 10 years. They happily share how being a physical therapist makes them feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. When exploring possible healthcare careers I searched for paths that would allow me the same. I wanted to impact patients both physically and support them psychosocially. As I went through my own injuries and experienced this, I then knew I wanted to be able to give that back to my community no matter where I was located.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

After graduating from Lasell University with my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, I applied to both physical therapy programs, as well as tried out for a Team USA synchronized figure skating team in New York City. I was selected for The Team and therefore took 3 gap years before starting the DPT program at Northeastern University. During this time the team and I traveled to many countries in Europe where my love for travel and adventure flourished.  Because of these experiences I knew that when I re-entered school I wanted to have my co-op and clinical experiences all over the country to further push my personal and professional development. I had been to Hawaii one time before and absolutely fell in love!! When I learned that Northeastern offered both co-op and clinical opportunities here it was a no brainer to apply for it.

What has been your experience like so far?

So far by experience has been amazing! Hawaii is beautiful, especially how interconnected the land and sea is. It reminds me a lot of my home area of Berkshire County in Massachusetts with our mountains and lakes. In the short 3 weeks that we have been here we have free dove with sharks without a cage or supplemental oxygen, snorkeled with sea turtles, taken surfing lessons, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and hiked Diamond Head as well as the pillbox in Kailua for sunrise! Lastly, all of the staff at Fukiji and Lum, as well as within the community have been extremely patient, kind, and helpful during our transition here.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

The strangest thing that I have eaten so far has been eel on our sushi at orientation. But I have also tried cherimoya, lei hing powder on fruit, and ube pancakes. I am an adventurous eater and will try anything once! Send the food recommendations my way!

What is on your to-do list while here?

EVERYTHING! But my biggest to do is to travel to each Hawaiian island to experience each’s unique beauty and to-do’s from locals and visitors.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The kind of therapist that I hope to be is kind, a good listener, someone who will go out of their way for the betterment of their patients and a forever student.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

It takes a tribe to get through life. There is not one single person who has been the greatest influence in my life. Every person that I come in contact teaches me something new about the world, or myself.

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Welcome, Maddie!

Maddie is a fourth year student at Northeastern University and writes about her excitement to live in a different part of the country, working towards her goal of becoming a physical therapist. We are so excited for Maddie to join our F&L 'Ohana!

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hi I’m Maddie! I grew up in Arcadia, California which is a suburb of Los Angeles, and attended Arcadia High School. I applied to many different colleges, but as soon as I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University I accepted without so much as a campus tour or visit, I was so excited to move across the country and start a new journey. Little did I know back then that I would be moving across the country again 4 years later to work here at Fukuji & Lum for six months. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

There is no one reason that I chose physical therapy as my profession, but rather when I looked at the sum of my personality traits and interests it just made sense. I grew up doing ballet, and have been dancing basically since I learned how to walk. Growing up dancing provided me with a huge appreciation of human movement, it taught me that movement can be not only functional, but actually beautiful. As I got older and saw how different injuries affected the lives of people I knew, dancers and regular people alike- I knew that was something that I wanted to help people with. I also knew that I would function better in an active career where I am physically and mentally challenged. These things, combined with my interest in science and problem-solving nature, led me to choose physical therapy. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far? What is on your to-do list while here?

Ever since hearing about this co-op opportunity when I was a freshman in college, I knew I wanted to come here. I am an adventurous person, and am always seeking out new opportunities and experiences, so as hard as it was to decide to leave my friends and the home I had created in Boston, applying to come work here in Hawaii was a step I was excited to take. Especially during a pandemic, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to travel and explore Hawaii while also getting valuable clinical experience. So far, I have had an incredible experience here in Hawaii, being here has given me so many opportunities to push the boundaries of what I thought I could do, both in the clinic and outside of it. I am so grateful to all the staff members that I have worked with so far at F&L for being such inspiring and effective therapists, and especially for taking the extra time and energy to always include me and create learning opportunities along the way. Outside of the clinic, I have been able to explore the island, going on different hikes and adventures every weekend, and trying new Hawaiian foods. From relaxing beach days to strenuous hikes that result in being covered in mud head to toe to the mask tan I have from working at the pool, I can truly say I have been enjoying all aspects of life here in Hawaii. 

As much as I have already seen and done here, there is still so much left to do before I have to leave and return to Boston. The other co-ops and I have put together a list of places to see on the island, and it seems with everything we check off the list we discover even more things to add. As many fun activities that we planned, some of the best things that have happened have been unplanned. Going on a hike and making a wrong turn led us to an even more beautiful lookout, driving to the beach for a sunset swim after getting off work early, and even helping an injured stranger make it to the end of a hike; all of these things were not on our to-do list but are still some of the most memorable experiences I’ve had.    

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?  Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Based on the experiences here at Fukuji & Lum as well as different physical therapy settings, I have seen the effect that a patient's comfort level and general happiness have on their outcomes. With that in mind, when I graduate from PT school in 2 years, I hope to be the kind of therapist that patients can rely on to always act in their best interests and put a smile on their faces despite the pain they might be in. From what I have learned so far, this trust is built through the small gestures we do: diving into the pool to look for a lost ring in the pouring rain, supporting a patient’s business on the weekends, or simply walking a patient to their car. Since the start of the pandemic, I think the whole world has started seeing healthcare workers in a different light, and I have been truly amazed at the kindness and compassion I have witnessed from both my coworkers and patients.  When I think about what kind of therapist I want to be in the future,  that is undoubtedly influenced by my parents and extended family who raised me to be the person I am now.  My grandparents are lifelong artists and have led such amazing and unique lives, and have truly shaped the way I see the world. They have always gone out of their way to show me the beauty in the world, whether that is through hiking in nature, taking my brother and I to their art exhibitions, or just hanging out and playing hearts. The fun, happy and love-filled life they created for themselves has inspired me to embrace who I am and do the same. 

 

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Claire to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hello! I’m Claire, a graduate of Fox Chapel High School in Pittsburgh, PA and a current a third-year physical therapy student at Northeastern University in Boston.

From a young age, I was interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy. When I combined all of my interests and passions, physical therapy checked off all of my boxes: helping others, physically and mentally challenging activities, and medicine. Growing up, I had my fair share of bumps and bruises that taught me how valuable independence is in one’s own life. I became increasingly aware of the pains and struggles of the people around me and the toll it took on their physical, mental, and emotional health. Eventually, I grew passionate about the ability to function independently. In hindsight, it seems obvious to me that physical therapy is the right career for me, but I actually entered college as a product design major, which I quickly changed. Once I started taking physical therapy-related classes, I developed an ongoing gut feeling that I had chosen to follow the right path for me; since changing my major, I felt noticeably happier and looked forward to going to my classes.

While searching for co-ops this past spring, I felt that same surge of enthusiasm when I was introduced to Fukuji & Lum. Between reading about the company culture and hearing testimonies from previous F&L co-op students, I was excited to have found a company that embodies the same values that I hold. Someday, I hope to practice physical therapy with integrity, continued personal and professional growth, compassion, and joy.

 

My time at F&L, and Hawaii in general, has been full of opportunities for growth. I remember driving home from buying a car and seeing a sign on the side of the road that read “Drive with Aloha.” I couldn’t help but smile and feel a calming reassurance that good things were waiting ahead in the next six months. In order to fully immerse myself in the Hawaii experience, I have tried to push the boundaries of my comfort zone by trying new foods, like dried seaweed, and testing out therapeutic treatments that I had never done before, such as scar mobilization. I’ve even developed the confidence to (safely) explore the island on my own! I have a long list of activities to do and places to see while I’m here, which includes swimming, snorkeling, surfing, hiking, and swimming with sharks once the beaches, parks, and trails reopen. Most importantly, I want to be open to all of the unexpected opportunities that pop up along my adventure. I am grateful for all of the recommendations I have received form co-workers and patients, and I can’t wait to do as many of them as I can.

I am grateful for my family, who have supported me throughout my life by encouraging me to pursue my passions, persevere during difficult times, and find the positives every step of the journey. Without my parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and unofficial family, I can’t begin to imagine where I would be. I look forward to continuing to embrace Aloha Spirit, absorbing the plethora of knowledge around me, and accepting whatever else comes my way.

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Helen to the F&L 'Ohana!

I attended South Burlington High School in South Burlington, Vermont, and I currently attend Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts. I first became interested in physical therapy when I broke my ankle playing tennis in high school. After my cast was removed, I began physical therapy and my therapist treated my ankle and then sent me back to play again. When I returned to the court, I was plagued by knee problems, so I headed back to physical therapy, but this time to a different therapist. This therapist took a holistic approach to my treatment and explained how my knee problems were a result of muscle weakness from my ankle injury. She helped me return to my preinjury state, as well as further strengthen me and as a result, improve my performance on the court. I was fascinated by the fact that my ankle injury recovery involved strengthening so many different parts of my body, as I hadn’t realized just how intertwined everything was. When I graduate, I hope to become an outpatient physical therapist. I’m not yet sure what population of patients I’d like to work with, but I do know that I would like to take a very holistic approach to treating my patients so that I can help them recover as much as possible.

I won’t deny that when I first heard about this coop, I was interested by the fact that it was in Hawaii. However, the more I learned about it, the more I realized just how unique the opportunity was. I realized that moving 5000 miles away from home for a position that would introduce me to so many important parts of my field would help me grow so much both personally and professionally. And doing that all while dealing with a pandemic has only increased my opportunity to grow. Just over two months into this experience, I have learned and done more in the clinic than I ever thought I would in my six months here. It has been challenging to adjust to living and working here and explore the island during a pandemic, but the opportunities I have been given as a physical therapy coop student at Fukuji & Lum make it all worthwhile.

In my free time, I have been trying to explore the island of Oahu as much as possible. Before the current restrictions were put into place, I enjoyed watching the sunrise from Lanikai Beach and hiking the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. Since the restrictions have been increased, I have spent most of my time reading and enjoying the view of the ocean from our porch. As things (hopefully) start to open back up, I would really like to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, see the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, and go to the Sunrise Shack. I have had some delicious açai bowls and smoothies since I have been here, as well as some really interesting fruit. I tried papaya and dragonfruit for the first time recently, and I am still not really sure how I feel about them.

As I continue to experience this amazing opportunity over the next several months, I feel so grateful for my mom and the influence she has had on me. She has always served as an example to me to work hard and always give your best effort. Despite her initial concerns about me moving thousands of miles away from her for six months, she has been nothing but supportive of my choice to pursue physical therapy as a career and take advantage of this opportunity offered by Fukuji & Lum. She has been so helpful to me throughout this experience and I feel lucky that I can FaceTime her and she’ll be there to hear about my day, give me advice, or even just give our cat Lucy some kisses for me.

Helen

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Emily to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hi there! 🙂

I’m originally from Long Island, NY and graduated from Schreiber High School in Port Washington. I’m currently a 3rd year PT student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

I had always known I wanted to go into the healthcare field when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I discovered that physical therapy was the career for me. In my junior year of high school, I became interested in yoga; I loved to analyze how body movement and mechanics could influence how a person feels. The parallels between physical therapy and yoga in the physical aspect of exercise combined with the mindfulness of alignment is what ultimately led me to the decision to become a PT.

When we were first beginning to look at co-ops, Fukuji & Lum was the first to catch my eye-as a native New Yorker I was excited at the prospect of traveling somewhere warm. Once I began to research more about the company, I realized that there was so much more to this opportunity than just the location. I learned that this clinic would provide me with so much more than just a job in Hawaii, I would have the change to create lifelong friendships. The staff here at Fukuji & Lum are really one big happy family, and I’m so grateful to be able to learn and grow surrounded by such supportive and compassionate people.

It’s these same fantastic people who are introducing me to all of the amazing food here on the island! Between (socially distanced) potluck staff meetings and going away lunches, I’ve tried everything from musubi to malasadas and can’t wait to keep trying more.

I only got to sneak in a few hikes and beach days before the shut down, but I can’t wait to keep exploring and learning about Hawaii’s land and culture. I hope to be able to continue my adventures once it’s safe, but if not, I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit!

As I’ve begun to gain experience in the field of physical therapy, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly interested in specializing in Geriatric PT. I think there’s something so special about being able to restore or maintain strength and flexibility so that someone can continue to be healthy and active as they age. The Aquatic Therapy clinic has been especially helpful in teaching me strategies for helping a patient to improve balance and stability.

My passion for learning and teaching techniques for improving balance, posture, and alignment wouldn’t have begun if not for my mom. As a yoga instructor herself, she is the one who introduced me to the practice as well as most of the techniques I use stay mindful of my own movements.

I hope to be able to share these values with my patients and am so excited to begin my journey in the world of physical therapy!

By Deb Matsuura

NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS REFLECT ON COOP PROGRAM IN HAWAII

Emily W. Describes Coop Experience as "Transformative"

If I had to describe my experience working at Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy, it would be: transformative. When deciding where to co-op, I was so nervous about traveling so far from home that I almost did not accept the offer. However, after spending 6 months at Fukuji and Lum I can honestly say that this experience has been the highlight of my life. It allowed me to gain a new perspective on not only physical therapy but also on myself and how I will choose to live going forward.

One of Fukuji and Lum’s mission statements is “to love and grow, as a family.” I find that the word family is often tossed around in flyers and ads without much significance, but at this clinic, they truly mean it. Before my trip, I was worried that I would be homesick living so far from my family and friends. However, this was never a problem because I had all the support and love that I needed right here. My co-workers went out of their way to make sure that we were adjusting well, even welcoming us into their homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From the moment I arrived, I could tell that this clinic is an ‘Ohana in which people deeply care about one another, celebrating each other’s victories and being there as a support system during more difficult times. This was reflected both in the clinic with my co-workers as well as at home with my roommates. I did not know any of the other Northeastern co-op students before coming, but after living together, exploring the island, and sharing our thoughts and experiences with each other we left feeling as close as sisters. I feel so supported in life knowing that no matter where I end up, I will always have the other co-ops by my side as well as an entire group of therapists in Hawaii who will have my back and be there to give me advice when I need it.

In addition to welcoming me into their family, my mentors at F&L also had a significant impact on how I view the profession and my belief about what physical therapy is. They helped show me how to have a holistic approach and that PT is about treating the patient and not the injury. One of the therapists I worked with would ask every patient he met, “what do you love to do” or “what is your passion.” He then made it his mission to adapt the patient’s treatment to help meet individualized goals and ensure that they could get back to doing the activities that fuel their spirit and make them who they are.

At Fukuji and Lum, the therapists do everything in their power to make each patient feel valuable and give them the time and attention that they need. After talking with friends back home, I realized this is not always the case and is something that makes F&L special. I had one patient who would often come into the clinic feeling gloomy and down. After talking throughout the session while creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere, she would leave the clinic with her head held high and a smile on her face. Just knowing that we could help turn someone’s day around and make them feel better both physically and emotionally was incredibly moving and something that I did not realize was part of the job.

Additionally, the therapists I worked with were never narrow sighted and did not limit their attention to the exact location of the problem. Instead they helped me understand how everything in the body is connected and that sometimes you need to strengthen or re-align a different part of the body in order to address the source of pain/injury and help the individual return to their full functioning self.

One of the most surprising things that I did not expect to learn on co-op was how to be myself in a clinical setting. When professors discuss professionalism in class, it often makes it seem as if you have to act almost robotic and very serious in clinical settings. However,

the nurturing relationships that I formed with my co-workers allowed me to feel comfortable opening up and being myself in the clinic. I realized that I could still have a fun and goofy personality while remaining professional and gaining respect from patients. I think that letting down the walls that I had put up actually enabled me to become closer with my patients and form more genuine and trusting bonds, which can really alter how a patient responds to therapy.

One of the highlights of my experience inside the clinic was getting to form close bonds with some of my patients. One patient in particular was an elderly woman who even changed her schedule to make sure that she could come in on days that I would be working. Every week, we would spend the session talking about the different things going on in each other’s lives while going through various exercises. On my last day of co-op, the patient held my hand and looked me in the eyes as she thanked me for helping her get stronger because now she was able to leave the house and go to activities with her family. In that moment, I could feel how sincere the patient was and how much of a difference that therapy made in her life, which was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

The best part of my experience outside of the clinic was getting to explore the island with my roommates. Every weekend we got to go on a new adventure, whether it was finding a new beach, learning to surf, experiencing a different part of Hawaiian culture/ history, or going on a hike. No matter what we did, the scenery was breathtaking and unlike anything else I had ever seen before. This helped me realize that there are so many opportunities and adventures in any place that you live if you make the effort to find them. Immersing myself in the culture and making the effort to explore and find so many new and exciting things changed my mindset of how I want to spend my time in life. I no longer want to waste so much time sitting around inside. I now know that I want to push myself to get out and discover different events and opportunities around me in any place that I live in order to get the most out of life.

The main takeaway that I have from this experience that is unique to co-oping at Fukuji and Lum is practicing physical therapy with the aloha spirit. This spirit is everywhere at the clinic, both within those working there as well as the patients. This positive and loving atmosphere pushed everyone to grow together which I believe leads to better patient outcomes. This is something that I will hold dear to my heart and carry with me as I try to live and breath aloha no matter what clinic I work in.

By Deb Matsuura

NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS REFLECT ON COOP PROGRAM IN HAWAII

How Maddie D. Feels About Hawaii and Working at F&L

Someone asked me the other day how I felt about my choice to come to Fukuji & Lum for co-op. My answers over the past two weeks to all the questions have been along the lines of “I learned so much, it was amazing!” or “I miss it so much!” or even “I’m so cold!!” This time, however, I came out with “it was the best decision I’ve made in my life so far.” After three weeks of being home and readjusting to school, friends, and yes, the cold (it’s in the single digits today!), I think that’s the easiest and most encompassing way to sum it up.

One thing that keeps circling around my brain is just how grateful I am for the last 6 months and working alongside everyone at Fukuji & Lum. During my time here, I stepped outside my comfort zone in every aspect of life and learned so much about the physical therapy profession and myself along the way. The experiences I had stretch so far beyond what I can sum up into a quick conversation.

 

Living in Hawaii and working at Fukuji & Lum, I was exposed to such a variety of people—from the patients to my coworkers and beyond—and they all gave me something to take home in terms of how I want to continue to live my life. Everyone was so willing to teach me about their personal culture and background, and all my coworkers were willing to teach me more about PT and give me a sense of what I’m working towards. I will never forget how many times Myra spent any downtime that popped up teaching me different joint and soft tissue mobilizations, tests, etc. and how much it meant to me. Or that time Brad gave us all printouts and taught us more about Graston.

At the end of the day though, the people who had the most impact on me at Fukuji & Lum were the other three co-ops who took on this crazy experience with me. None of our other classmates had the same experience of walking into the first day of classes and immediately finding each other to hug and reunite after only a week (or two, we missed you Em!) apart. Coming home from work every day to debrief on the cool, interesting, and sometimes really difficult things we saw and dealt with that day really fostered that passion for PT in all of us regardless of whether we were sitting on the couch talking about documentation or hiking a mountain discussing PRI.

Being so far away from home, we really found a family within Fukuji & Lum and most of all we found one in one another, and that is something I will forever be grateful for. I currently live with Jada and on our way to class in the mornings we’ll talk about some of our favorite memories, and it’s really hit me that some of the most “mundane” moments are what impacted me the most. I will forever miss car rides home from North Shore driving slower so that we can make it through our playlist, and on all our hikes when I’d talk to whoever was behind me and Emily would call “WHAT?” because she wanted to feel included. I’ll remember holidays at the Hyland’s or trying to help Mana with her crossword puzzles.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a word to sum up the last 6 months, and finally settled on: Explore. All the highlights of the experience are really centered around that theme. I explore the island: found hikes, places, and formed memories that will stay with me forever. Hiking 3 peaks for sunrise with Casey on her last weekend before going back to school was just such an epic adventure which left me feeling so happy for days. Hiking Pali Notches with Irish or paddling out to Chinaman’s Hat with Reyn were two other highlights, I’ll forever remember how cool it was to go see places that were on my bucket list with some of the awesome people I met here. And of course, skydiving!! Come on, we went skydiving not once but twice (or three times, Jada)! The sense of happiness I felt on all the adventures the island had to offer will always stick with me.

And in the clinic, that exploration continued. I really expanded my knowledge of the profession and of what it means to be a physical therapist. Watching the PTs interact with their patients and form those relationships really showed me what kind of therapist I want to become one day. And meeting the patients, listening to their stories, and being there with them on some of their best days and their worst days taught me a lot about compassion and the trust that exists between patient and provider. I learned so much about myself as a person in and out of the clinic, and I hope that I can continue to take these experiences forward with me as I progress towards my future career. Aloha a hui hou and mahalo nui loa, F&L!! Thank you for learning and growing as a family with me over the past half-year.

By Deb Matsuura

Northeastern Students Reflect on Coop Program in Hawaii

Jada M. Reflects on Hawaii Stay

January, 2020

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? One in the clinic and one outside the clinic.

It’s so hard to boil down 6 months of time in and out of the clinic into 1 experience. I think the highlight of my experience in the clinic is hearing a patient tell me that I “changed the course of her recovery” by modifying her exercise program when she was having a bad day physically. She expressed that she was surprised that a student could modify her program to fit her needs and was impressed that I was able to do more than “go through the motions”. This is all due to the PTs who gave me the tools & knowledge to be able to do so. Positive feedback like that from patients is my favorite kind of feedback.

Outside of the clinic, the highlight of the experience was definitely skydiving! (all 3 times!). It had been on my bucket list since I can remember and I didn’t even think about it before going for the first time. Definitely one of the coolest, most exhilarating things I’ve ever done!

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

So many people impacted me during my time at F&L. Patients, PTs, PTAs, techs and of course my fellow co-ops. My experience wouldn’t have been the same without the other co-ops who I now call some of my best friends. I am grateful to have been able to work and live with them, there is truly no group of people I would rather spend 6 months in Hawaii with. I would say the person who had the biggest impact on me at work was Connor. Working with her all day in the clinic was so much fun, and I learned so much not only about how to treat patients clinically, but how to make patients feel comfortable and at ease during their treatment. Working with her showed me that a lot of being a PT is listening to your patients and making them feel validated and heard. I hope I am able to interact with patients the way she does when I get my degree, and I will definitely use the things I learned from her for the rest of my career!

 

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect?

The most surprising part of co-op for me was how incredibly welcoming the patients were and how willing to work with students they were. Of course I expected them to be friendly, but every patient went out of their way to make us feel at home in Hawaii. They were so willing to work with us and treat us the same way they treat the PTs. I was blown away by their kindness and by the relationships I was able to build with so many of them.

What experience or person change your belief about what physical therapy is?

I worked with a patient who was having a really tough day, and just talked with them while doing exercises in the pool. I spent most of the time just listening to what they were upset about, and making sure they felt validated. At the end of the session, the patient hugged me and said “Thank you for listening to me”. It’s simple, but it made me realize that as a PT, you can do more than just take away someone's physical pain. You can make them feel better just by showing them that you care about them as a person, not just about their injury.

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

Before this experience, I was absolutely set on going into sports medicine and nothing else, but after working with Jocelyn at the pool, I’ve decided that later in my career I would love to work in women’s health and maternity! Going forward, I could also see myself back at Fukuji & Lum in the future.

 

Describe your overall experience in Hawaii. (i made this question up)

There is no way I could sum up this experience into one word, because it is so much more than just one thing. During the past 6 months, I’ve come to learn that Hawaii is a special place. Not only because of its beauty, but because of the quality of the people who live there. Living on Oahu has shown me why it’s so hard for people to leave, and why many who end up there never do. It didn’t take long to feel like I was home on Oahu, and Fukuji & Lum certainly helped with that. F&L truly embodies the “Aloha lifestyle” as they treat everyone with such kindness, respect, and open mindedness. All these things are what make both Oahu and F&L unique. I felt so loved and cared for during my entire time on co-op and truly felt like I had a family ready to accept me with open arms.

Each experience I had felt like it was once in a lifetime, and looking back on each one feels like reliving a dream. I went skydiving, snorkeling with sharks, swimming with dolphins, zip lining in the rainforest, surfing, hiking, jumping off waterfalls, boating along the Na Pali coast, island hopping to Kauai, and so much more. The fact that those are all “bonuses” to all the things I learned in the clinic and at the pool is incredible. I have gained more clinical skills & knowledge about physical therapy than I ever have in the classroom and have improved my patient interactions skills tremendously. My life has been forever changed by this experience and I could not be more grateful for my F&L 'Ohana for taking me in and making this experience everything that it was. I will forever have a special place in my heart for Oahu and for Fukuji & Lum.