By Mark Yanai

The Awesome Experience of Finding Yourself

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One of the rewards of working with physical therapy students is being able to witness their amazing growth during their time with us. At the end of their internship, students normally see the success they accomplished with their work and have the realization of a learned skill. But with the Northeastern Co-Op students, it’s often a lot more than what happens in the clinical setting. They end up discovering their identity of who they really are and want to be in life.

While the experience of being in Hawaii for six months seems like an extended vacation, it is often much more than that. There’s a saying “You never leave a place you love, you take a part of it with you, leaving a part of you behind.” I find this is true for many of the Co-Ops, but much more so with Kara, one of our 5 Co-ops this past semester. When I first posted a blog introducing her back in Febuary, she wrote about her hopes to finding out what kind of therapist she could be. Six months went by fast and I could describe her tremendous growth in my words, but it’s more clear when you hear it from her.

My Co-Op Experience: Kara

So I guess now that I’m done with my first semester back I have no more excuses to not write this blog. It’s a big undertaking, however, because I am not particularly adept at putting my feelings and experiences into coherent thoughts. My usual encounter with anyone asking me how my 6-month co-op was in Hawaii might be something like this:

“So how was Hawaii?” Internal dialogue: ‘Ohmygosh it was so great I had so much fun I learned so much Fukuji and Lum is awesome they actually care so much about the co-ops and that we are having a good/educational time and the islands were great/magical/more than I ever imagined and I made friends and swam in the ocean with cute sea creatures and almost fell off a few mountains and ohmygosh I got so fit biking to work every day but it was scary in the rain and everyone was always so concerned and supportive of everything that we did and looked out for us like family wait what was I saying? What I actually say: “uhhhh…. Awesome?!?!”

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I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear me babble on like that, but that’s pretty much still all I can do.  I cannot describe what a great experience working for Fukuji & Lum was, or how much all of my amazing coworkers mean to me. It wasn’t just 6 months of sun and fun in a tropical paradise, although there was plenty of that, I was welcomed into the F&L family as a long-lost relative. The Hawaiian concept of Ohana is now engrained in me, not by being told the definition over and over, but by being shown over and over in the kindness and love of everyone I encountered.

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The experience I gained in the different clinics will shape the type of therapist I become. Up till now, being a physical therapist was a VERY distant dream. Being back from Fukuji and Lum and taking classes this summer, this is the first time I have actually felt this dream was attainable. Working as a therapist was something I wanted to do, but honestly up till now it was something I never actually felt I was capable of doing. I continued semester after semester with the growing feeling that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t smart enough. The people at Fukuji and Lum have been great mentors, and the confidence they have shown in me has in turn made me more confident. Since returning from Hawaii I find I have been able to accept the fact that no, I don’t know everything, but that’s ok, that’s what the rest of my education is for.

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I am grateful for everything I came away from Hawaii having learnt and seen. In those magical 6 months I made lifelong friends, ate strange and delicious foods (does anyone want to send me some haupia?? no??), collected a hodgepodge of the culture and language, explored, learned much about myself, and fell in love…. with the Islands! So from the bottom of my heart, Mahalo Nui Loa!

By Mark Yanai

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog! With the holiday season and a busy clinical schedule, I put the blog on the back burner for November and December. Now that it’s the beginning of a new year, I can reflect on what happened in 2015 and look forward to setting new goals for 2016.

Looking back at 2015, it was so rewarding to see how much our company accomplished this past year. Growth of our clinics has been abundant, as several of our programs have increased in size.

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The Aquatic Therapy Program has expanded to five days a week with over 40 hours of pool time available to treat patients. Under the direction of Rachel Hyland, P.T., it has become one of the largest providers in the state for aquatic physical therapy.

Our newest therapy service that we offer is Mobile Therapy, which just started servicing the Windward community in 2015. Joy Yanai, D.P.T., director of this unique program, provides clinical services to patients in their own home. We expect 2016 to be a busy year for this valuable program, as physicians are becoming more aware of the benefits that their patients with special requirements can have from mobile therapy.

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This past year, the Performance Plus Program (PPP) had the highest enrollment in its short history. Many former patients are finding the need for continued care under the direction of a skilled therapist to meet personal goals for their health and well-being.

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The PPP program is currently available at our W.O.R.C. and Honolulu Clinic, but we are looking to expand this special program to all of our locations in 2016.

The W.O.R.C. clinic continues to grow with the addition of Nicole Sato, M.O.T., the first Occupational Therapist that F&L has hired. Nicole primarily works with patients in our Work Hardening Program, which is an integral component of the Worker’s Compensation Program offered at W.O.R.C.

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For the past two years,The Honolulu Clinic has been located at the Kuakini Medical Plaza under the leadership of Art Lum, PT. We will soon be moving to the Kuakini Physician Tower later this month. As the only private outpatient physical therapy clinic at the Tower, we look forward to this tremendous opportunity and hope the new location will be a boon to our organization.

Every year F&L brings young PT students to grow in their profession by participating in the Northeastern University (NEU) Cooperative Program. In 2015, we brought in a total of five students, Teagan FergusonSarah AgustinCody GillissVictoria Ruvolo, and Connor Pokorney. They each spent six months working in our clinics and pool, assisting our clinical staff in treating patients. For 2016, we look to expand the program with more students throughout the year, starting with five new co-ops headed our way this month. Check back in my blog as we introduce each one and follow their journey.

As we continued to grow in size and maturity throughout 2015, our values-based culture remained the focal point of the company and determined every aspect and decision made by the organization.

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We always found time to celebrate our culture with many annual events and special activities, including a company retreatFree Car WashFamily Fun DaySpring Break Fun, Arthritis Walk, PT Month and Halloween Party.

2015 culminated with our annual Holiday Gathering which was held at Dave & Buster’s. Lots of food, fun and gratitude were shared by all. We not only gathered to share Christmas cheer but also to commemorate our 20th anniversary. And then to top it all off, the staff surprised me with a special presentation honoring my ten-year anniversary with the organization.

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I’m hopeful that 2015 was a big stepping-stone to a great 2016. There are many things on the agenda for next year and I’m excited about the challenges that this year will bring. Look for more in my upcoming blog.

By Mark Yanai

Company Retreat 2015

For the past three years, F&L has held a company retreat to celebrate its staff and culture. Owners, Art and Randy, usually dedicate an entire afternoon for all staff to “retreat”  from work and gather together for some culture-based fun.

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Our most recent retreat was held on April 24th at the Kokokahi YWCA in Kaneohe. Our Culture Club, a group of volunteer employees that serve as a sounding board for the organization, planned everything from the food to the fun. After a sandwich and salad bar lunch, we introduced new employees, recognized significant achievements, and took a look at our mission, vision and values – past, present and future.

Included in our activities were interactive group bonding games of kite building, golf ball dropping and relay racing. Everything was done with our Values in mind: Nurturing Relationships, Integrity, Contribution, and Embracing Change and Encouraging Growth.

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Back in 2012, an organization called Delivering Happiness coached us to focus on the company’s Mission Statement, Core Values and Higher Purpose. As a group, we used what inspired us most to come up with a new mission statement with improved values. It was this workshop that turned us into  a values-based organization, using our company culture to delivering fun and happiness to our patients and community.

Since then, we’ve had an annual “Delivering Happiness” retreat that reminds us of our new mission and values and teaches us how we can live them each day. We practice gratitude in our culture and hope that it will renew our commitment to our patients to deliver the best care possible.

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