By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

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In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
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I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

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The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
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There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
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Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
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I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.

 

A hui hou,

Justin

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

Mahalo & Aloha Victoria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha,

Victoria

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By Mark Yanai

Finding Teagan: A New Home

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Teagan Ferguson’s Co-Op Experience

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

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

Here’s what she wrote about that experience.

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

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

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

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

By Mark Yanai

NAIOMT: CMPT Certification

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On Saturday, February 14th 2015, seven candidates successfully completed their Level III Oral Practical Exam to become Certified Manual Physical Therapists (CMPT) through the North American Institute of Manual Therapy (NAIOMT).

The test examiners included Erl Pettman (PT, MSCP, MCPA, FCAMPT) and Bill Temes (PT, MS, COMT, FAAOMPT).
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Erl is a senior faculty member at NAIOMT and has been a certified manual therapy instructor for the Olaf Evenjth system since 1990. Erl has been the primary instructor for the seven candidates as he has taught all four levels of NAIOMT courses in Hawai’i. I wrote about Erl in a previous blog when I completed my Level IV Manipulation Course.
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Bill is a graduate of the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) Fellowship Program and received his Fellowship with the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual therapy in 1998. Bill teaches for and serves on the Board of Directors for NAIOMT. He also serves as the Director of the Supervised Clinical Mentorship Program for Therapeutic Associates.
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To become certified as a manual physical therapist by NAIOMT, one must pass the oral practical portion, which is known to be the most difficult component of the certification process. The candidates complete four stations, each focusing on orthopedic conditions. Each station includes various patient scenarios and test examiners question the candidates on presentation, medical knowledge, assessment and treatment for each case.
Two volunteers serve as patient models for each candidate. Due to the exam’s level of difficulty, NAIOMT recommends that all students of NAIOMT volunteer to gain experience of the testing process. I was fortunate to be a model for two of the candidates and was able to observe the exam. This opportunity gave me a great appreciation of the knowledge required to pass such a difficult test. The level of commitment to study for this test and the amount of stress in performing in front of your peers and respected professionals cannot be understated.

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One of the candidates who became certified was Brad Kaya,(OCS, MSPT), a senior physical therapist and VP of Professional Services at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy. Brad currently practices at one of our Kaneohe clinics on the grounds of the YWCA at Kokokahi. Brad began taking NAIOMT courses in 2007 and is the first F&L staff member to take the NAIOMT exam and receive his CMPT. By successfully completing his certification, Brad can now be recognized as a Clinical Residency Instructor and mentor to students of NAIOMT and Andrews University. Our clinics will serve as a teaching facility for NAIOMT’s Clinical Residency Program.

If you are a patient or peer of Brad, please congratulate him on this tremendous accomplishment. Our organization is proud to have Brad as a CMPT as he leads the way for our other F&L employees currently taking NAIOMT courses. It is part of our mission and vision to become a leader in our profession by promoting continuing education and growth opportunities for our therapists. We enjoy bringing Erl and his NAIOMT classes to Hawaii twice a year and are grateful for the therapists who come from all over the mainland and the islands to take the classes.

Congratulations to all the therapists who officially becoming CMPTs and we look forward to many new certifications soon!