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

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

More Than Teamwork

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Earlier this year, F&L was fortunate to have five Co-Op students join us from Northeastern University as an education requirement of their physical therapy graduate program. Our relationship with the university is now going on nine years as we’ve hosted more than 20 students for their six-month stay at our clinics. Most of the students are placed at our Windward clinics, but since we had five of them this semester, one lucky Co-op was set to join our newest clinic in Honolulu, the Kuakini Physicians Tower in the Kuakini Medical Center.

When conducting interviews for the Co-Op Program, I look for candidates who will fit in well with our value-based organization. I knew that the student selected for our Honolulu clinic would have to be someone who could handle new and different challenges than previous co-ops. It didn’t take long for me to select Amelia, a fourth year student, to be the one to join our Honolulu team and be a part of the opening of our newest clinic. I was impressed by her maturity and work ethic and knew she would fit right in. It’s not surprising that the name Amelia is derived from the Latin words for “industrious” and “striving” as she fits the bill of what we look for in each of our employees.

Amelia is now back to her studies in Boston, but took the time to be a guest blogger for us and reflect on her experience working at the Honolulu clinic.

Guest Blogger: Amelia and the Meaning of “Team-work”

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When I initially heard a week before coming to Hawaii that I would be the Co-Op joining the Honolulu clinic, I’ll admit I had a few reservations.  My worries about being the only Co-Op at the clinic and the commute without a car were soon washed away and I couldn’t be more grateful to have been a part of the Kuakini family. As cheesy as it sounds, I never fathomed how inspiring and life-changing my experience at the Honolulu clinic would be. On my first day at Fukuji & Lum, a little silver Pontiac Vibe pulled into my driveway just after noon and drove me to see Lanikai beach. This would be the first of many car rides over the Pali Highway full of conversations with Art Lum, from which I have learned a great deal and truly cherish. During that first car ride Art explained to me the values based-culture of F&L, to which I could do little more than nod my head politely in reply.

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[one_half_last]However, after reflecting on my experience it is something I more deeply understand and hope to take with me as a clinician for the rest of my life. I’ve heard many peers and friends talk about the great “team” attitude they share with their coworkers and I’ve experienced it myself at other jobs, but there is something really unique about the F & L culture that makes it so special. I’m not quite sure I can put that into words, but I do know that each person I had the pleasure of working with in Honolulu for has influenced who I will become as a clinician and as a person. [/one_half_last]

[one_half]Art, Shaw, Brittany, Mike, Michelle, Lynn, Julie, and Terrence all went out of their way to make me feel at home; from feeding me endless Hawaiian snacks to teaching me new exercises to giving me weekend tips. They were continuously patient, kind, and supportive of me, of one another, and most importantly of our patients. Each of them brought something special to the table and our bond extended beyond the doors of the clinic to weekend hikes, Filipino restaurants, and Karaoke sessions. They showed me just what the F&L culture is all about and I hope to carry that with me wherever I go. [/one_half]

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Mauka a Makai

After cruising past Lanikai beach on that first day in Honolulu, Art and I headed over the mountains. He explained to me the first Hawaiian words I learned on the island, mauka and makai, to describe the mountains and the ocean. These words stuck with me and have come to mean a lot to me. Art marveled at how lovely the mountains looked that afternoon, and I can remember admiring that after many years in Hawaii he still found a new appreciation for the beauty of his surroundings every day. The beauty of the island was everywhere in Hawaii, filling my heart with joy day after day.

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In the 6 months I spent in having some of the most beautiful experiences of my life I came to an understanding that I have taken with me back to Boston. We often think tropical islands are the most beautiful places in the world, yearning for them in daydreams and ending up unsatisfied or unhappy by our own current surroundings. But the simple realization that it is much more about attitude than it is about surroundings has made me more gracious and appreciative, and ultimately more happy. Hawaii has taught me to find beauty and happiness wherever I stand, mauka a makai. Joy can be found under streetlights and in sunsets if I open my eyes to it.

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By Mark Yanai

The Hi Life of the Supposed

 

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This past semester, Natalia, one of the five Northeastern University Co-ops worked with me at our W.O.R.C. site and with Randy at our Kailua clinic. She was one of the PT students that was exposed to and later immersed in Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) techniques, something exciting and new to F&L. Natalia has since returned to Boston to resume classes and continue her pursuit of her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

She spent her last weekend in Hawaii attending F&L’s closed course on PRI, which I wrote about in my last blog. I had just returned from my trip to Boston where I commented to everyone that “no one has heard of any student named Natalia”.  She was then given the name “Supposed” by James Anderson, our course instructor.

I don’t always get to work closely with the Co-Ops as they are assigned to our various clinics, but when I do, I get very attached to them. Natalia was no different and we got to know each other well. She was a terrific student of the craft and I know she’ll become an excellent clinician. We will definitely miss her presence at the clinics and wish her the best in her future endeavors. We are so grateful to Natalia for writing about her experience working with F&L and the fun she had living on the island for six months.

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My Co-Op Experience: Natalia

Upon my return to Boston, I’ve heard the same question over and over from my classmates and friends: “How was Hawaii?” This is a surprisingly difficult question for me. I usually answer with some variation on the words “spectacular”, “completely amazing”, or perhaps a succinct “epic”, but no matter what I say, the words seem lacking to describe how much the experience truly meant to me.

Living in Kailua and working at Fukuji & Lum has without a doubt been the best six months of my life to date. I got to work with such amazing, compassionate, intelligent people who provided me a real life example of what culture- and value-oriented health care is all about. I got to learn from uniquely skilled, experienced, and dedicated physical therapists who were incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and went out of their way to give me an educational experience I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else. I got to become familiar with types of treatments not all practitioners learn even after graduation, such as PRI, Strain-Counterstrain, and NAIOMT.

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Over the past six months, I have grown so much and become more confident in myself as an individual, a healthcare professional, and a future physical therapist. And of course, I got to do all this in between weekends spent exploring sheer clifftops, cascading waterfalls, colorful pillboxes, jungle forests, ancient ruins, hidden treehouses, vibrant reefs, and white-sand beaches; eating amazingly ono grinds from all around the island, from the food trucks in Haleiwa to ramen in Honolulu; and visiting unique cultural places like the city graffiti of Kaka’ako or the tranquil beauty of the Byodo-in Temple, among so many others.

Along the way, I got to forge incredible friendships with my coworkers, roommates, patients and more. Living in Hawaii taught me to open up so much more than I ever used to and showed me just how easy it is to make friends, be it with someone I met on the top of the Makapu’u lighthouse hike, in downtown Honolulu, at the beach playing volleyball, or even in the clinic. I’m so grateful that I got to share some pretty awesome island experiences with such a large variety of people. No matter where I was or how much of a stranger I felt at first, I was always welcomed and treated like ohana. From my experience, the “aloha spirit” is very much a real and tangible thing; the islands really bring people together.

One of the things I’m really glad I did was visiting Kauai to take in the views along the steep Na Pali Coast hike and from the top of Waimea Canyon. Each island is so different and offers so many unique experiences, which I didn’t realize until after I had gone to Kauai. I hope to come back to Hawaii and experience more of the adventures each island has to offer. And despite all the hikes and adventures I managed to fit in, there are still things on my Oahu bucket list I have yet to do!

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As I return to classes and adjust back to life in Boston (which, right now, is far hotter and stickier than Hawaii was, unfortunately), I am constantly reminded about how lucky and blessed I was to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, bays and waterfalls in the world, all within such close reach. I deeply treasure all of the connections and ongoing relationships I made there, and it’s hard to be so far away; the island life already seems so distant. I think warmly of the patients I helped to treat and the amazing people I worked with, and I’m trying to bring some of that aloha spirit they showed me along with me back to Boston. If I’m being honest, I wish I could still be working at Fukuji & Lum – six months seemed too short! But I know that the rest of my education lies in front of me, and the island will always be there to welcome me back. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle to listening to Kolohe Kai and Jack Johnson while studying for midterms in the library, dreaming of Lanikai beaches.

Mahalo and aloha oe to everyone in Fukuji & Lum and anyone who’s touched my life in Hawaii in someway. I hope to be back to say aloha again some day.

Love,

Natalia

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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 Mark Yanai

Introducing Kara

Meet Kara!

Continuing with our introductions of our Co-ops, we are happy to have Kara Dwyer as one of our PT students at our WORC and Aquatic sites. Like most Co-ops, Kara is well traveled and is not new to being immersed in a new culture. Read about her travels and what led her to our organization.
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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I hail from Woodstock, Illinois, where I walked the halls of Woodstock High School (go Blue Streaks!) and now attend Northeastern University. 

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What drew you to physical therapy?
I’ve always been interested in the human body, I’ve always been active, and find it incredibly fulfilling to help people. Put all of that in a blender and you get an aspiring PT. Also my mother is a PT so I’ve always been around it. Fun fact- my grandmother was as well, so I’ll be a third generation PT!

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I have a bit of a travel bug, passed on from parents who met while traveling the world, so at every opportunity I get to experience new people and places, I leap! It helps that Northeastern impresses experiential learning on all its students, and what better way to get experience and learn more about yourself and others than leaving your comfort zone. Fukuji & Lum also seemed like the kind of loving and open environment I would like to learn in.

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What has been your experience like so far?
So far I’ve learned an incredible amount, as I haven’t been in a physical therapy environment like Fukuji & Lum before. My clinical experience up to now mostly consists of working with children in a vastly different setting. I’ve had a wonderful time exploring Kailua and a little of Kaneohe and Honolulu, and everyone I have met are the most genuinely open and welcoming people. So far I’ve been getting around by bike, albeit a bike that is just a tad too small, but it is quite enjoyable. I’ve started adventuring into the island and ocean, and anticipate a lot more of that!

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We’ve been trying a lot of interesting fruit, like lilikoi, guava, longan. I would say the strangest thing i have been introduced to would be spam musubi, which was quite an experience and pretty good honestly!

What are your outside interests?
Well let’s see now, I have a plethora of interests. At school I’m involved in a few theatre groups, I ref and play intramural sports: mostly volleyball and soccer, I’ve taken a few ASL courses, I’m involved in choir, I like exploring/adventuring, goofing off, and being a kid, although the last year I’ve spent a lot of time with my best friend- the library.

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What is on your to do list while here?
We’ve already started a “Hawaii bucket list” that seems to get longer every day- to experience and learn about the melting pot of Hawaiian cultures; explore mountains, waterfalls, and coastal hikes; scuba dive once or twice; skydive possibly; and do something to be more connected and involved in the community, maybe some sort of rec league, music class, or volunteering opportunities to give back. Also it is a goal of mine to start eating fish. I’ve always thought I didn’t like any kind of fish, but I’ve been trying to expand my horizons in terms of food and it’s going well!
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What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I have yet to experience many of the environments and types of physical therapy there are, so I’m not sure yet how I see myself as a therapist. I do, however, hope to be able to instill confidence and joy in my patients as they work towards their goals.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have so many very interesting, amazing, positive, eclectic, joyful, intelligent, open, serious, curious, loyal, driven, caring, and wonderful individuals in my life, from whom I try to emulate these certain characteristics. So I couldn’t really pick out one person who has been influential to me in a large way, but give each of them credit for part of who I am today.

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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!
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By Mark Yanai

Introducing Amelia

Here we go again! The new Northeastern University Co-ops are here and we have FIVE of them this semester! This is most that we’ve ever employed for a semester, but with the growth of our organization, we’ve taken the plunge into staffing a student at each of our four clinics. See some of my previous blogs and our website for information about our relationship with Northeastern University.

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Fukuji & Lum welcomes Amelia, one of the five Co-ops staying with us for the next six months. She is currently working at our NEW Honolulu clinic at the Kuakini Medical Center. Amelia is braving the morning traffic from Kailua to town, working as a medical receptionist and assisting our therapists, Shaw Okawara and Art Lum.

Amelia shared some thoughts about coming to Hawaii and her experiences so far.

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

I graduated Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and I’m currently in my fourth year at Northeastern University.

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

I love traveling in general but I wanted to come to Hawaii to immerse myself in an entirely different place for a Co-op. I wanted to experience what practicing PT was like here as well as explore the culture. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take back a new perspective on my PT practice as well as life in general when I return to Boston. I’m also grateful to have escaped the wicked New England winter.

– What has been your experience like so far?

I love it so far! There are beautiful things everywhere you look. I’ve been really enjoying weekend adventures and all the outdoor activities. It’s hard to do a lot of those things in the city back home, so I’ve really been trying to soak it all in while I’m here!

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

My roommates and I have been eating any weird fruit we can get our hands on. So far I’d probably have to say it’s lilikoi. We’ve also eaten quite a few things we don’t know the names for…

– What is on your to do list while here?

I’m really hoping to do cage diving with sharks off the North Shore. It’s been #1 on my bucket list since I was about 13. Also, surfing lessons.

– What are your outside interests?

I’m a voracious reader, I’ll read pretty much anything. I like art museums, cooking, hiking, yoga, and horse back riding. I also thoroughly enjoy long walks to the fridge.

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– What drew you to physical therapy and what kind of therapist do you hope to be?

My mom is an occupational hand therapist so I’ve always grown up around rehabilitation. I took an anatomy class in high school and she’d always tell me cool things I didn’t learn in class, which sparked my interest in PT. She’s also incredibly caring towards her patients, often working late hours just to fit them all in and coming up with custom contraptions so her patients could get back to their daily lives. I’ve never seen a therapist as hardworking and humble, and I hope one day I can be even half the therapist she is.

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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. 
IMG_3011 Mahalo, 
Teagan Ferguson

By Mark Yanai

Sarah: My Co-op Experience At F&L

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Sarah Agustin is a student of Northeastern University and recently returned to Boston after spending the last six months working at our Aquatic and Honolulu locations. She is the first Co-op student originally from Hawaii. Sarah wrote about her Co-op experience at F&L:

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Being born and raised on the Island of Oahu, I had an amazing opportunity to return to the islands and work as a co-op student at Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy. Fukuji and Lum is unique in many ways as they stand by their mission statement “ to deliver fun, happiness and compassion in serving our patients and community”.  While being apart of the F & L Ohana for the past 6 months I was exposed to various settings such as: Outpatient Clinic, Aquatic Therapy, and Work Hardening Plus Program.

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I had the opportunity to work at the Kuakini Clinics in Honolulu and Aquatic Therapy Program in Kaneohe, each with an amazing staff.  As a student and employee I was challenged daily to work closely with patients and to better my clinical decision making skills. From observing many initial evaluations with our staff members, to assisting patients with therapeutic exercises, I can say that I have learned a tremendous amount that I know will help me become a great future physical therapist. Working closely with Art Lum, I was introduced to NAIOMT (North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy) where I was able to see first-hand some of the manual techniques and how to apply it to therapy. F & L offered many in-services to their employees to learn about new and developing fields such as Graston and Gameready. F & L also valued and stressed a personal physical fitness program. Early morning work outs challenged the staff but at the same time, it kept the staff in top physical condition.  The entire staff at F & L was open and willing to share all of their specialized knowledge with me. They answered the many questions that I had and in returned challenged me with connecting the classroom knowledge with our daily work routine. F & L Staff went above and beyond during this Co-op experience to make this entire process an amazing learning experience.

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Even though I was born and raised in the islands, I took advantage of being home with family and friends and exploring more of what the island has to offer. I went on many new hikes though out the islands over the past 6 months such as Kalalau on Kauai, Halawa Valley on Molokai and Waipio Valley on the Big Island.  Each of the hikes was an experience that I will never forget. Being away from home for the past year in Boston, I definitely missed my local grindz, so of course I dived right into all of the local foods that the islands had to offer and made sure I ate enough to last me the next 2 years in Boston.

Working at F&L has made a tremendous impact on my career. It was hard to leave such an amazing staff and company and I look forward to see what the company has for the future.

Aloha,

Sarah Agustin