By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Welcome, Megumi!

Megumi tells us about her journey to becoming a physical therapist, what it's like being in Hawaii, and who she looks up to. 

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

Aloha! My name is Megumi- I usually go by Meg. I am a fourth-year PT student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I grew up in Japan where I attended Japanese school up to high school in Yokohama and after that I attended Hiroshima International School. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

I decided to pursue PT because of my interest in sports and health. When I got injured during track and field and volleyball, I did PT and had a positive experience, but some of my injuries became chronic, and I wanted to learn more for myself about human anatomy and how we recover and heal from injuries. In addition, especially after my last coop, making a positive impact on someone’s life and helping people have a quality-filled life has been very rewarding, even in a coop position, so I am excited to be a PT in a few years.

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

Since my first coop was at Boston Medical Center where I was an inpatient rehab aide, I wanted to be in an outpatient setting to gain more insight to a different PT setting. I was particularly interested in coming to Hawaii after hearing about the experience of the past coops here. I knew  that the clinics here would give me the chance to further my PT education and to also skip the Boston winter to explore all the nature in Hawaii. As a bonus, I am glad that I have been able to use my Japanese and feel closer to my Japanese culture.

 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience in Hawaii so far has been exciting and refreshing. After a whole year of classes last year in Boston, the nature and warm weather has literally been a breath of fresh air. I hope to continue to make the most out of my time here. 

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

I wouldn’t say this is strange, but I had never had spam before, so trying a spam musubi on my first day here was something different- I would have it again!

 

What is on your to-do list while here?

Every weekend I’ve been going through my long to-do list which has been very fun. The other coops and I are planning on doing a surf lesson this weekend which has always been something I have wanted to do. It would also be great to get to see more sea life, especially turtles. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

As a PT, I hope to be dedicated, understanding/empathetic, good at problem solving as well as being creative. I am enjoying getting to know all the therapists here and seeing how each of them have such unique perspectives and personalities as a PT and a person. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My greatest influence in my life would be my parents. They both have shown and given me qualities for life that I appreciate everyday such as being reliable, open-minded, and selfless. With my dad from Japan and my mom from the US, I am also grateful how they brought me up to fluidly live in both of my backgrounds and to speak both languages.

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hello, Annie!

We asked Annie what she looks forward to experiencing while in Hawaii and who her greatest influences are in life. She also explains why she was drawn to the PT profession. 

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

Hey everyone! My name is Annie, and I am from Fremont, CA in the SF Bay Area. I went to Mission San Jose High School, where I swam and played water polo, and I’m currently in my fourth year of Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be living and working in Hawaii for 6 months. It has only been a few weeks, but I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the LA and Honolulu clinics and Kokokahi pool. 

What drew you to physical therapy? - What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

When I was applying to colleges, I was so unsure about what I wanted to do for my future career. All I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the health sciences somehow. During this time, my swim coach introduced me to the world of physical therapy and movement science, which piqued my interest. So when Northeastern offered me the opportunity to be a part of their 6-year DPT program, I took a leap of faith (I didn’t even visit or tour the campus!) and accepted, and I am so glad I did. Going through the curriculum and meeting all the amazing PT faculty over the years have really solidified my passion for the job. There are few other professions where you get to interact with people at the same level as physical therapists, while helping them live their healthiest lives with just movement and exercise. You are able to build lifelong relationships with patients, and really make a difference in someone’s quality of life. There is also so much more to PT than just sports! After working with stroke patients at my last co-op, I have an interest in neurology, but I would like to explore pelvic health as well as aquatic therapy too. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether it be in the outpatient or inpatient setting, but wherever I am, I hope to be a therapist that treats holistically, is creative, compassionate, and forever learning.

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

I have always loved traveling and learning about different cultures, so when I found out there was a co-op in Hawaii, it seemed like a no-brainer. It also didn’t hurt that I would be skipping the cold Boston winter! And while Boston has been a wonderful city to live in the past couple years, I felt like I was getting too comfortable, so I wanted an experience where I would be challenged both in and out of the clinic. Before coming here, my only PT experience was in the inpatient setting, so when I was applying for my second co-op, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons to outpatient physical therapy. Fukuji and Lum seemed like that perfect place. 

What has been your experience like so far? - What is on your to-do list while here?

I have been loving every minute of my time here, and I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this beautiful culture. The staff at Fukuji and Lum have been so welcoming and understanding of all the mistakes I have made while learning the ropes in the clinic. They have shown me much kindness and go out of their way to teach me new techniques, special tests, and various exercises in their spare time. More than that, they have set an example for what patient care should be. It isn’t just about treating a patient’s physical injury, but also caring for their mental and emotional health. 

Outside of the clinic, the other co-ops and I have been able to hike the Lanikai pillboxes at sunrise, see the Manoa falls, tan on the various beaches along the North Shore, and watch people catch the big waves at Pipeline. I have also never eaten this much poke in my life, but I am definitely not mad about it. By the end of my time here, I’d love to have learned how to surf, go scuba diving, visit Pearl Harbor, and swim out to the Mokes. And being the big foodie that I am, I have a huge list of dishes I want to try while I’m here like poi, laulau, and loco moco. Every day, I am learning about a new hike or food spot to try out from various patients and staff. My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer! I guess that means I’ll have to come back if I don’t get to it all!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

There have been many people that have shaped me into the person I am today, but my parents have had the greatest influence in my life. They are my biggest cheerleaders and unconditional supporters; I owe many of my successes to them. They immigrated to the US from Taiwan and had to learn a completely different culture, language, and way of living. They have worked so hard and given up a lot for me and my sister to have the best life possible. I am inspired by them every day to work hard, be kind, and always try my best. I hope to make them proud and incorporate values they have instilled in me to be the best physical therapist possible for my patients. 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Welcome, Holland!

Holland writes about her bucket list items while in Hawaii and why physical therapy is so meaningful to her. 

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

I grew up in Newtown, PA just outside of Philadelphia and went to high school at Council Rock North. I am now in my fourth of six years at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy?

I was drawn to physical therapy after my grandmother moved in with my family when I was in high school. She had chronic back pain that had been unsuccessfully managed with surgery and medication, but when she moved in with us she started going to PT and came home standing up straighter and feeling better than she had in years. In addition to making a positive impact on my grandmother’s quality of life, her progress in PT helped to lessen the caregiving burden on the rest of the family when she was able to function more independently and with less pain. I always wanted to help people, so when I realized that as a PT I could significantly improve quality of life not only for my patients but their families as well I knew it was the path for me. I love that PT allows me to use my passion for exercise and movement to make tangible improvements in people’s everyday lives. 

 

 

  

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been amazing! Everyone at Fukuji and Lum is incredibly nice, knowledgeable, and willing to teach so I am learning so much every day. Outside of work, I have been loving spending every possible minute outside—hiking, snorkeling, going to the beach, watching the sunset, stargazing, and enjoying everything the island has to offer. I am constantly in awe of the beautiful surroundings and can’t believe how lucky I am to call this incredible place home for a little while. 

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

I haven’t eaten anything strange, but I am a huge foodie and can’t wait to work through my long list of restaurant recommendations!

 

What is on your to-do list while here?

I really want to skydive, swim with sharks, and take a surfing lesson while I’m here! Otherwise, I’m just trying to hike and eat my way around the island.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I think one of the greatest things about PT is that you get to help patients help themselves, and education is the key to promoting that independence. I hope to be the kind of therapist that is a great educator, helping patients understand what is going on in their bodies and how to fix it. Taking the extra second to explain something can make a huge difference and help patients to be active participants in their own care.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My three younger siblings are the greatest influence in my life. There was never a dull moment in our house growing up and I am so grateful that they taught me to lead by example, go with the flow, and never take myself too seriously. 

 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Introducing Lauren!

Lauren tells us about how she landed on physical therapy as a career path and what she hopes to get out of her co-op experience in Hawaii!

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

Hi, my name is Lauren! I am a fourth year PT student at Northeastern University. I grew up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania right outside of Philadelphia. I attended Conestoga High School and am now a fourth year at Northeastern University. At home I have two brothers (including a twin brother) but more importantly I have two dogs, Fuzzy (13) and Hunter (8). 

What drew you to physical therapy?

When I was first thinking about my career, I wanted a job with a lot of face-to-face time with patients. I also wanted a career that would challenge my critical thinking and schooling in my everyday practice. I love animals and originally landed upon veterinary school as my number one choice. However, when I realized that they could not comprehend the procedures and operations being done to them and that they did not understand the pain, I realized that vet school was not for me. I was attracted to PT because I realized it had everything I wanted in a career, the ability to see my patients progress and reach their goals as well as ample time with each patient to really understand them as a whole and what they seek to gain from each treatment session. Physical therapy offered all of these benefits and more, it combined my love for science/ anatomy and simultaneously helping patients get back to the lives they love.

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

My Auntie Christinne and Uncle Andrew lived in Hawaii for 25 years, so I was originally drawn to the island from all their stories of the island and all the fun things they did with my cousin. Additionally, they told me of the great relationships they made with their neighbors and friends and local community. Secondly, Fukuji and Lum drew me in as I spoke to previous co-ops, and they informed me of the Fukuji and Lum ohana and all the great people that made up the company. From all this information I decided to take the leap and come to Hawaii to see all the wonderful people, places (and delicious food) for myself!

 

 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been sensational. In particular the people have been incredibly welcoming and overwhelmingly kind. I was met at the airport and immediately received lei’s from our wonderful landlord who drove us home from the airport. So far things have been a whirlwind, although it is slowly settling down. I am hoping to be able to schedule out activities for every weekend and slowly check off everything that I want to do. 

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

I have not tried anything too strange thus far. I have had some delicious traditional Hawaiian food including musubi, malasadas and poke. I would love to try kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, manapua and so much more. 

What is on your to-do list while here?

My to-do list is a mile long, my main goal while here is to learn to surf. I am also an avid hiker so I would like to complete as many as possible. In my first few days here, I have also managed to compile a list of restaurants a mile long so I would love to eat my way through the island as well. From Legends for Dim Sum to Malasadas from Leonard’s, to 7-11 Musubi I want to try it all!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be the type of therapist who looks at the patient as a whole. I aim to look at not only my patient’s physical health but their mental health, social health, and overall wellbeing. Making each patient feel as though I am a resource for them for whatever their ailment may be, so that they can feel comfortable talking to me in any capacity. Many times, physical health is not the main priority so it is important to make sure each patient does not have any underlying problems so they can prioritize their health and be the best version of themselves. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is my grandfather. A while ago on my favorite Instagram account “Humans of New York” an older woman said “I’m really proud that I'm still interested. Not “interesting” -- that's a different thing. I mean interested. I’m still interested in the world." I think this is a great way to describe my grandfather. At 87 years old he is infatuated with everything from the cosmos to the mantis shrimp at the bottom of the ocean. He loves to learn. He makes his way through every single crossword, word game and sudoku in the Sunday New York Times every single week without fail.  If I can continue my love for reading, learning, and filling my brain with as much culture, knowledge and information as possible, then my life will have been a success. 

By Abby

Happy Birthday, APTA!

Our own Art Lum recounts the Centennial Celebration of the American Physical Therapy Association, an event that took place in September to commemorate the community and service of physical therapists across the country.

Oh what a feeling.  Happy APTA 100th birthday.  My 66th birthday. An uplifting spirit. An improved purpose. A better delivery of physical therapy.  A stronger relationship. A healthier world.  Club 66. 

Arrival on Thursday afternoon. Hawaii to Seattle to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Georgetown, DC.

It is Friday; ready, set, go. Metro connection - blue line.   From my home base in Georgetown (Foggy Bottom station) to Metro Center, transfer to the red line to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan and a ten minute walk to headquarters at the Omni Sheraton. 

 

The bus shuttle to the NEW APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  Our mother ship.  Pausing at Arlington National Cemetery and meandering along the Potomac River.  The seven story spectacular sparkled among the community of office buildings.  Nearby, a soon to be built Amazon mega structure within a birds eye view.   Upon entry, like Volcano National Park on Hawai’i the Big Island, the energy flowed to near eruption.  Crystal clean, spotless and pristine. A jewel!  President Sharon Dunn and past presidents Marilyn Moffat, Paul Rockar Jr, Jan Richarson et al were there along with APTA directors and staff.  They greeted us from the curbside, at the door, on every floor and living space.  The walls were decorated with inspiring messages and timeless masterpieces. A walk down memory lane and into the future. The mighty community wall of donors draped the corridor. My colleagues, doctored up with badges of advanced degrees, specialist designations and House of Delegate tags graced each square foot.   An added treat was the unveiling of the Catherine Worthingham Room presented by the Stanford PT Alumni (I was one of five on the planning committee). Aloha reigned.  A housewarming party in a new domain and era.  I was awestruck.  What a day!

 

Black tie and all, we congregated at the Washington National Cathedral that evening.  A string quartet and open bar welcomed all.  The glitter and night lights lit up the sky.  It was time to congregate together under one roof and offer gratitude, praise and promise for the years past, current and future.  As President Sharon Dunn delivered the welcome message, ‘How appropriate for us to be together at church”. A warmup to what was to come - House of delegates, President’s forum and centennial scholar programming. 

Saturday was a break day for me.  Breakfast n’ coffee with ham, cheese and a sunny side egg over a crepe. Customers sat physically distanced in an outdoor patio.  A trip to the art gallery and bookstore.  Off to Trader Joe’s for bottled water, chocolate covered almonds and fresh crisp apples.  A restful time out to pause and put up your feet. 

Sunday’s tour took me on the metro back to the Omni for a garden reception before the bus shuttle drove to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.   This indeed was special.  Seizing the moment of witnessing live the 52nd Mary McMillan lecture.  All roads leading to INNOVATION.  Stories  across the U.S.A. with award recipient Colleen Kigin, PT, DPT, MS, MPA, FAPTA at helm leading the way.  A preview of what was to come next year with the announcement and intro of the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award to Sue Whitney. PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA.(We met for lunch at the APTA headquarters on Friday)

 

 

One of Hawai’i’s own, Dr. Marilyn Miller, received the Lucy Blair Service Award(contributions to APTA that are recognized of exceptional quality)  I was honored to nominate Dr. Miller for the prestigious award.  How proud and what pride to view remarkable colleagues and cheer on a parade of talented, gifted and committed ‘premier professionals’.   Inspired to say the least having stood next to the bust of John F. Kennedy just an hour ago.  Breathtaking and amazing.

 

 

 

 

Monday morning turned out to be quick stops for sightseeing.  A quick trip and wave to the Capitol.  Lunch at Filomena’s, a famous Italian restaurant, of fresh medium size clams over pasta.  Teams then huddled back at the Omni in preparation for Advocacy training.  A pep rally for intense training of etiquette, legislation bills and lokahi(unity).  All fifty states were represented.  Making it happen as one team, one spoken word with a unified voice.  The crafting of five bills.  Keeping it concise, manageable and ‘just right’ for the game plan.

Tuesday was all about execution and a wonderful time of meet, greet and talking story with the congressional offices of Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz and Representative Kaiali’i Kahele.  Mission accomplished. 

On Wednesday, I arrived at the Foggy Bottom station for the 5:45am metro run to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and arrived in Honolulu at 5:15pm..  Safe and pleased that the antigen tests proved negative. Joyful for a remarkable SAFE journey coast to coast.  Time came to a pause as I reflected on my professional career and an unforgettable birthday party.  

One moment in time celebrated over Centennial Celebration Weekend in D.C..

In celebration of APTA's centennial and club 66 birthday. 

A wonder filled memory of people, places, professional journeys and life stories. 

Impacting each of our lives and our patient lives. 

Lucky we live as Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants and F&L. 

Lucky to shout out  Physical Therapy and Aloha. 

Blessed with F&L and Family.

Lucky we live Hawaii. 

Mahalo piha(heartfelt gratitude),

Art Lum, PT 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Gail!

Gail tells us about a few of the things she has experienced in her first month in Hawaii and what she looks forward to with the rest of her Co-op journey.

Aloha! My name is Gail and I went to Hickory High School in Virginia and currently attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for Physical Therapy. Growing up I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field but didn’t like the idea of spending little time with patients and using surgery.  or medication as a form of treatment. I was attracted to PT because of the interactions with patients, being able to use exercise as medicine, and getting to work with the patient through their entire rehab process.

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because at Fukuji and Lum, they have a whole body approach when treating patients which is not common on the mainland. Hawaii had always been on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit and I could not say no to the opportunity to spend six months on Oahu.

So far my experience has been nothing but extraordinary! In the first month I have surfed on the North Shore, swam with sharks with One Ocean, gone on hikes, snorkeled with turtles, and experienced many of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer.  While I wouldn’t consider anything I have eaten in Hawaii strange, I have had the freshest poke ever and it was delicious. Before the six months are over I want to visit all the main islands, take hula dancing lessons, hike stairway to heaven, take the ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, visit Pearl Harbor, and continue experiencing the Aloha spirit!

Inside the clinic I have been able to experience aquatic therapy and PRI which I never got to experience during my observation hours. As a PT I hope to work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic and work with athletes. I hope to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to patient care and use a whole body approach similar to Fukuji and Lum. 

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

Aloha, Olivia!

Aloha! How’s it!? I’m Olivia, I’m originally from Guilford, Connecticut and go to Northeastern University  to achieve my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have the pleasure of completing my co-op at Fukuji  and Lum so I will be living it up in Hawaii for six months! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to  prepare for my career in such an enriching and loving environment surrounded by such welcoming  people that I will be able to call my Ohana. My fellow students and I were told a mantra that we cannot say no during our time out here, so I’m stoked to see whatever Hawaii will throw my way. But please, no  more cockroaches! 

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

Back in high school, when I was choosing a major for my undergraduate university, I knew in my heart  that I wanted to go into the medical field and be a physical therapist. The profession upholds such core  values that I wholeheartedly believe in. I have always been fond of the phrase and way of living that  exercise is medicine. Our bodies are miracles, and it’s only right that we treat ourselves with the best  self-love and self-care. My favorite quote is that “our biggest commitment must always be to ourselves.”  I think it is wonderful and so humbling that physical therapy allows me to be an influence for someone  else to help care for and commit to themselves. I hope to be the type of therapist that will inspire my  patients to prioritize their health and view their body as strong, capable, and most importantly, resilient.  I treasure how vulnerable patient care can be, and I hope to be a trustworthy and uplifting guide for all  that will let me. I believe I will be able to cultivate the dream I have, and my experience at Fukuji and  Lum will prepare me to accomplish all my goals. 

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

I think this answer is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s Hawaii! But what really drew me to fulfill my  co-op in Hawaii was the Fukuji and Lum ohana and their values. Through research and communication  from past co-op students, I was told how this experience is life changing. The physical therapists will  challenge me and expect me to step out of my comfort zone to ultimately make me think like a clinician  and speak with conviction. After my interview, I knew in my heart that I was destined to come to Hawaii  and not only grow professionally, but personally. In the past month I have been here, that has been the  ultimate truth. I have been challenged in the best way possible, and truly feel like each day has been fulfilled physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see what else Hawaii and Fukuji and  Lum can teach me in the next five months I am here. 

What is on your to-do list while here? 

While I’m here, I hope to gain more confidence with my clinical skills and learn something from every  person I come into contact with. Furthermore, I hope to experience all of Earth’s wonderful creations while I am in this magical place. From swimming, surfing, cliff jumping, hiking, going to farmer’s markets,  and basking in the sun, I want to leave Hawaii with no regrets. Maybe I’ll even be talked into skydiving. This environment has made me feel so connected to the Earth and feel like I am home. There must be  something in the water 🙂 

Mahalo, be well <3  

Olivia

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!

Aloha Angela!

Angela tells us about how she became interested in becoming a physical therapist, what drew her to take this opportunity with F&L, and why she is loving her experience so far.

Hello everyone! I am Angela from Sammamish, Washington. I am currently in my fourth year of six at Northeastern University studying Physical Therapy. When I first accepted my offer to work here, it almost seemed too good to be true that I would be escaping the Boston winter to live in Hawaii for six months. I didn’t fully believe it until my plane physically landed on the island, and sometimes I still feel like I’m dreaming. So far, I am happy to be working at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy in the LA clinic and pool and have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and all the patients. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

Though I had many interests in different potential careers while applying to colleges, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was to help people and take care of people directly. I grew up swimming, playing tennis, and running, which initiated my interest in human anatomy and physiology. I combined my hope to help others with those interests and realized that a career in healthcare, specifically physical therapy, would allow me to make a difference in a setting that suited me. Learning more about health through my college courses has also further confirmed my choice of a career in PT, and it has been so fascinating applying what I have learned in class with what I see daily at F&L!

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

I wanted to co-op in Hawaii because I knew this opportunity would allow me to make the most of my co-op experience both in and outside of work. As much as I love Boston, I felt that I was too comfortable there and wanted to seek an experience where I could be challenged in a completely new environment. I have always been an adventurous person and loved traveling to new places, so this was the perfect way for me to immerse myself in another culture.

I worked at an inpatient setting for my first co-op, so for my last co-op I knew that I wanted work experience at an outpatient clinic. After talking to past co-ops of F&L I quickly learned that F&L was more than just a typical outpatient clinic, but a company that strives to treat everyone like a family. I knew that living and working in a place where the culture is so generous and kind-hearted would help me grow into a better future PT. Even though I’ve only been here for a month, I have already witnessed so much kindness from everyone at F&L and learned so much. My co-workers really go out of their way to teach me different exercises and explain their reasoning behind different treatment options for patients. For example, in my first week of work, Connor showed me how to cup and use Graston during her free time, and Colleen always has continued to keep me busy and let me go through exercises with patients. The pandemic may have slowed the pace of the clinic, but it is actually helping me understand the patients’ cases and PT’s rationale in more depth. Just observing how the staff treat their patients has also given me insight on how to go above and beyond in patient care. From the smaller acts such as walking a patient back to their car to make sure they are safe, to bigger acts such as supporting a patient’s local business on the weekend, the staff have set an example on how patient care is more than treating an injury. I hope to bring back this perspective and build on this for the rest of my career. 

What has been your experience like so far?

Outside of work, my experience in Hawaii has been so fun! With the pandemic, I am very grateful that I can still safely do many of the activities I have hoped to do before, since there is so much to do outdoors. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other co-ops and we have already had some pretty unforgettable experiences such as driving into a flying chicken, and getting bullied by the waves at Bellows (there was sand in my hair for days). I have quickly learned that I am allergic to mosquitos, and that bug spray and sunscreen are my best friends. We have been on a few hikes such as Lanikai Pillbox for sunrise, Lulumahu Falls, and Koko Head Arch. We love going to the beach (Castles is our favorite!), and have tried so many delicious food places such as the soft serve from Banan and poke from Fresh Catch. I have also really enjoyed being able to capture photos of the different beautiful landscapes, and hope to take photos during more hikes in the next several months. I would like to kayak to the Mokes, and possibly even swim to the Mokes if I ever build up my endurance. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and go to the Pink Pillbox. We also made plans to skydive on our last day in Hawaii. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Being exposed to both an inpatient and outpatient PT setting, I am still having a hard time figuring out which setting I like best. I love being in a hospital setting, but I also love the type of problem solving PTs do in an outpatient setting. Travel PT once I graduate may be an opportunity for me to work in both settings as well as experience new places. However, from both classes and co-op, it is safe to say that I am interested in pediatrics and neurology, and may specialize in one of them in the future. I still have a lot of time to think about what kind of therapist I want to be and still have so much to learn.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is probably my parents and grandma. They inspired me to work hard and have integrity, and make the most of every opportunity. Hearing about how hard they worked to move from Taiwan to America for further education has inspired me greatly to never give up and follow my passions. My grandma had a challenging upbringing and faced many difficulties throughout her life, but when you meet her, she is full of joy. Seeing how positive she constantly is encourages me to look at life differently and see the good in every situation.