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

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 Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Introducing Kristin!

Kristin shares how she strives to nurture relationships, expand her knowledge, and be innovative during her studies. She writes about her experience thus far as a co-op and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii.

Aloha! My name is Kristin. I am originally from Southern California and  currently attend Northeastern University in Boston. I am a fourth-year physical therapy major  and chose this career path because of the hands-on involvement in a patient’s rehabilitation  journey. I love that we are able to form relationships and guide patients to healthier and more  active lifestyles. To me, physical therapy is so much more than a major. We have the ability to  shape lives and support patients when they are struggling with pain. We are PTs, educators,  cheerleaders, and confidants all rolled up in one— this is my favorite aspect about the  profession. 

Prior to my co-op at Fukuji and Lum, I worked in an acute care setting. From there, I  knew I had to expand my horizon to outpatient physical therapy. After hearing about past co-op experiences, I jumped at the opportunity to work at F&L. I am so glad I did because I currently  have the privilege of learning from physical therapists with different specialties and interests,  each with a unique way to approach and treat patients. As a student who is eager to soak up  everything, it means so much to me that staff are willing to share previous lectures and provide tips to make me a better physical therapist. I think this speaks to the supportive and collaborative community at F&L.

My experience in Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing. Outside of work, the other  co-ops and I are busy exploring the island and using every excuse to get shave ice and poke. We  have a list of recommended restaurants and hikes we are working through, and we are looking  forward to adding to it! We have big plans to go surfing and are building up to it by watching  Surf’s Up and wearing goggles around the house. 

Although I am still new to physical therapy, I have been fortunate enough to work with  some of the most talented, knowledgeable and passionate physical therapists. They have  repeatedly shown me the impact of compassion, kindness, and patience, and I hope to embody  those characteristics as a future clinician. My past mentor always encouraged me to think outside  the box and strive for creative treatment customized for each patient. This encouraged me to  constantly improve and innovate my approach to treatment.  

There are many people that influenced who I am today, but the person closest to my heart  is my sister. My sister is the most selfless and warm-hearted person I know and makes everyone  else around better. I am constantly amazed by her, and I aspire to be half the woman she is!

By Deb Matsuura

Northeastern PT Student Coop Reflection 2020

Claire Reflects on Her Growth as a Coop

We asked Claire a few questions about her time with Fukuji & Lum and to reflect on her experience in the clinic and living in Hawaii.

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight, both inside and outside of the clinic?

A little bit of context: I had the opportunity to work at almost all the clinics throughout my six months at F&L. I started, and worked primarily, at the Kailua clinic, with a weekly trip into town to the Honolulu clinic. Towards the middle of my co-op, I spent most of my time at the Kokokahi YWCA aquatics site. For my final two months, I worked mostly at the Laniakea YWCA pool, with a day or two per week at the Kokokahi pool. My final day of co-op, though, was spent working at the Kailua office. On that last day, I felt confident in my ability to take patients through their exercises and write their notes, which was a huge change from the start of my co-op. It was rewarding and fulfilling to hear the Kailua team tell me how much I had grown and how excited they were for me. The cool thing is that I didn’t realize how much I had grown until they told me, and I thought, “Wow, they’re right!” It was a perfect end to co-op that brought my experience full circle.

Outside of the clinic, I was fortunate to have heaps of adventures that made every outing feel like an event. It still blows my mind that activities like going to the beach and hiking are everyday activities in Hawaii, so everything felt like a highlight to me. However, swimming with sharks definitely stands out in my mind. It was a humbling, calming, and exciting experience that I will always remember. We even saw early morning surfers and Hawaiian spinner dolphins on the boat ride back to shore!

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

So many incredible people shaped me into who I am in so many ways that I don’t think I can pick one person! I love all the clinicians, and each one had an impact on my time. The patients, however, probably taught me the most about myself and the practice of PT. They helped me discover my PT-related interests, how to interact with them in a way that was both professional and fun, how to problem solve, and more. I enjoyed having fun conversations with the patients and enjoyed their company in general! I remember looking at the schedule and being excited about who was coming in each day. They frequently gave me awesome recommendations on things to do and foods to try.

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

I hoped that I would get to learn about and get a good feel for Hawaiian culture, but I had no idea that it would embrace me, too. From the atmosphere on Aloha Fridays, to learning Pidgin and other local phrases, to the widespread Aloha Spirit, I felt like I was part of the community, not just an outsider looking in. Also, I did not expect to acquire an affinity for reggae music. I’ve concluded that you can’t listen to reggae music and not be in a good mood afterward 🙂

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

Growth.

Towards the end of my co-op, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work more closely with Art, and whenever we saw a particular patient, we each chose a “word of the day.” A few of our words included: gratitude, peace, humanity, faith, celebrate, malama, Aloha mai kākou, etc. Reflecting on those conversations, I realize that everything comes back to growth. I have grown in my understanding of myself and others, embracing my environment, being a professional, countless ways to be a good PT, and so much more. The most important part, though, is that I left knowing that you can always keep growing in every aspect of life.

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

In short, I plan to keep growing! I was surprised to learn that I am interested in neurology and have specific interests within orthopedics. With that in mind, I will be open to whatever opportunities arise in the future, even if it is something that I think I am not interested in. However my career progresses, I will treat patients with the same compassion and kindness that I witnessed throughout F&L.

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

Northeastern PT Student Coop Reflection 2020

My Coop Experience During the Pandemic

Reflecting back on my co-op makes me realize how much I experienced in Hawaii. Most changes day to day are fairly small, and so we don’t always realize how we grow over time. However, there are some moments that stand out in our memories because they represent pivotal changes.

I remember overhearing a conversation about the news of the first COVID cases, but continuing on with my day relatively unfazed. I remember counting the number of patient cancellations prior to our temporary clinic closure at the end of March. And I remember the zoom meeting where our plan to return to work was created. These were the big events that I feel marked each new life I lived in Hawaii.

I received countless apologies from patients and co-workers because my time in Hawaii was affected by COVID. While I wish COVID did not exist, the fact of the matter is that it does. And it does for the whole world. Therefore, I never felt like my co-op experience was any lesser because of it. We are in the healthcare profession and part of the job is adapting to change to best serve the community.

I am grateful for the extra time to explore the island and go surfing while the clinic was closed. I am grateful to have been a member of the bridge team when the clinic reopened. And most of all, I am grateful for all of the personal and professional learning opportunities in between.

 

All of my friends and family were 5,000 miles away back in Boston, but I never felt isolated or alone. All of us co-ops were constantly supported by each other and our co-workers. It even feels slightly odd to call the employees of Fukuji & Lum “co-workers” because it’s such an impersonal term. The way that everyone would reach out with offerings of vegetables, puzzles, zoom yoga classes, and support was on par with that of family. I knew of the aloha spirit, but to truly experience it is something that is difficult to put into words. I just hope that I can transfer that feeling and spread the aloha spirit to my friends and family back in Boston.

Mahalo nui loa. A hui hou.

Joy

By Deb Matsuura

A Life Practice

“Leading yoga is my gift to the Fukuji & Lum ohana… I feel like the least I can do is offer that to the people who I love, that I work with.”

Jocelyn Shiro has been with Fukuji & Lum as an aquatic physical therapist since her arrival on the island nearly 5 years ago. She has been the company’s resident yogi, ray of sunshine, and dancing queen ever since. Before spotlighting Jocelyn, not only did I want to interview her, but I found it important to interview those who know her best. When asked to describe Joce in one word, the staff immediately answered with adjectives that reflect how she has impacted them. Some of the answers I received were: joyful, loving, compassionate, wise, kind hearted, luminous. It is clear from these characterizations how much love and light Jocelyn brings to F&L. So how has she managed to continue sharing this love and light while clinics are closed and stay at home orders are in place?

“I’m not one to be idle.” Although the world may be on pause, Jocelyn doesn’t allow her life to be halted. She fills the quarantine weeks with full days that keep her carrying on. With the shift from normal work days to social distancing, came the emergence of new rituals. Since the closure of clinics on March 18, Jocelyn has not missed one sunrise. Every morning, she wakes up before the sun to start her day with vitality. “The metaphor to sunrise is a new day.. Start over. Rest. Let go of anything that was getting you down yesterday because today is a new day.” A new beginning at the start of each day makes it easier to move forward despite set-backs that may have been weighing heavy the day before. When beach activity was prohibited and her sunrise walks were compromised, Jocelyn did not give up her ritual, she simply adapted it. She substituted morning walks for sunrise swims. The ritual was not lost. The sunrise streak remains alive… just now with an extra sweatshirt to warm back up before yoga at 8.

This is just the beginning of a day in the life forJocelyn. After entering her day with new energy, she goes to the W.O.R.C. clinic each week day to lead the company in an hour long yoga session via the “Zoom” video chat platform. With yoga sculpt three days of week and yoga flow on the other two, Jocelyn provides a way for staff to continue a movement practice despite the closure and closure of fitness studios. She reflects on her previous F&L yoga sessions, once a quarter or for special events. Collaborating with the Culture Club Living Tribe, Jocelyn has transformed Zoom yoga into an everyday ritual where staff can come together for a practice of movement and spirituality.

More and more of us tune in each morning to join Jocelyn in her sculpt and flow, some of us returning to a familiar practice, and others giving yoga a chance for the first time. For Joce, yoga is a life practice that is part of her life everyday. She remembers that it was not always this way, however. Before arriving here on Oahu 5 years ago, Jocelyn was a professional dancer who was dedicated to her intense and demanding profession, committed to this movement practice of dance. Yoga did not resonate when she dabbled it in at different times earlier in life. “I wasn’t ready to go inward.” During her years here on Oahu, yoga has re-entered her life at the right time. She explains that initially yoga was a way to stay active and physically fit, until realizing that it was much more than that. “I started going for the physical benefits of strength and stability … but then I realized the more I went, the more I felt good inside my mind … more calm, less stressed. Those benefits came to me on the side, but now I do yoga for those benefits primarily and the physical benefits are the side.” As I listened to Jocelyn describe these ways in which yoga has impacted her life, I couldn’t help but think: this tranquility and reduced stress is exactly what we are all searching for in these times of uncertainty.

At the start of our flow today, Jocelyn offered the intention of perseverance and strength. More things we are searching for. So what is an intention? Well, there is not just a single intention, but an abundance. Intentions are personal and dynamic. Jocelyn explains that “intentions are a multitude of things. It’s different for different people. And for different days and different stages of life.” An intention may change day to day, as it depends where you are in your life and your human experience. Intentions match whatever you need. Joce describes that her personal struggle over the past 24 hours has been feeling of discouragement. Thinking we were headed toward the light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully with the re-opening of beaches and parks, instead we got news of limitations on beach activity altogether. “The tunnel was made longer, which was discouraging.” For Jocelyn, she set an intention of perseverance to serve her carrying on despite disappointment. We each have the power to set an intention to serve our needs, to serve our purpose.

Along with intentions, our growth is highly dependent on the support system we surround ourselves with. Jocelyn holds her Fukuji & Lum ohana close to her heart. From her first phone call with Mark, he told her “we are different here. We are a different kind of company.” Joce explains that she left the phone call confused, wondering what this could mean. Through the past years working as a vital member of the team, she has found exactly what makes this company so unique: the people. The community. The love. “I came to understand how close everyone is” and how the company is run, “caring for each individual staff member as if they were a member of their own family. They make sure people feel fulfilled, are happy, feel supported, and feel cared for and loved.” Jocelyn expressed how truly important this family is to her. This tribe that helps empower her to be the amazing light we know her as. From a quarantine filled with learning and serving others, to work days filled with smiles and empathy, we recognize Jocelyn. It is easy to understand why when asked to describe her, the words we hear are joyful, loving, compassionate, wise, kind hearted, luminous.

We love you Jocelyn! Thank you for all that you do!

By Deb Matsuura

A New Normal

“We sense that a new normal isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human” (Charles Eisenstein).

Things are changing around us. True to the nature of change itself, it is rapid and unpredictable. As humans, we tend to fear change. It challenges us, makes us uncomfortable, and forces us to modify our “normal.” In these particular times, our “normal” has been challenged more than ever. Our everyday lives have suddenly been entirely uprooted: routines thrown out the window and plans for the future in shambles. Grocery shopping has transformed from a mundane Sunday morning task, to a weekly mission out into a threatening world to hopefully replenish supplies. Celebrations, hugs, and gatherings have reduced to emails, calls, and “Zoom” meetings. Is our community gone?

As we sit in our living rooms binge watching Netflix or puzzling until our hands hurt, it is easy to feel alone. Isolated. In a world of social distancing, a sense of community feels lost. For the health of us and those around us, we must respect rules to stay 6 feet away, to cancel large gatherings, and to avoid physical touch. We must postpone weddings, cancel graduations, and host virtual birthday parties. These gatherings are lost. These events are absent. But the community isn’t.

Community is not the gatherings we host. Community is not the events we attend. Community is the people: the people who love, who support, and who care. The Oxford dictionary has many definitions of community, most beginning with phrases such as “a group of people..” or “a feeling of fellowship...” Funny enough, not one starts with a place or a thing. So although there are places we cannot travel to, and things we cannot do, we are not isolated. Our people are still there. Our people still love, still support, and still care. Let’s celebrate it.

Our Fukuji & Lum ohana wants to celebrate our community with acknowledgement and appreciation. We will begin spotlighting members of our team in blog posts to highlight how each member is sharing their love and light.

I would like us to think back to our retreat at the start of the year. As I think back, I remember a room full of people who I was still just meeting, with lots of unfamiliar faces warmly introducing themselves and encouraging me to share what I loved most about my new home here in Hawaii.  The energy and love of this group of people cued me into that I was joining something special. This was the start of a new adventure. Ironically, we spent that afternoon learning and reflecting on change and its impact in our lives. We all had different experiences with recent change: from becoming new parents to losing people dear to our heart. There was one commonality, however. From our change, came growth.

So, as we circle back to change, we recognize that it is uncomfortable and it is challenging. However, we also honor that these feelings, if acted upon, reap evolution and transformation. So how will we adapt to our change? How will we grow from it? We will soon see how our ohana are adapting to continue loving and growing as family. The change that is happening around us does not discriminate. Everyone must adapt. Everyone must find a new normal. In this shared experience, our community grows stronger. So as Eisenstein urges, let’s tap into our new normal. Let’s embrace our new society, relationship with earth, and our new experience being human.

With love and gratitude,

Maddie

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.