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

NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS REFLECT ON COOP PROGRAM IN HAWAII

Emily W. Describes Coop Experience as "Transformative"

If I had to describe my experience working at Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy, it would be: transformative. When deciding where to co-op, I was so nervous about traveling so far from home that I almost did not accept the offer. However, after spending 6 months at Fukuji and Lum I can honestly say that this experience has been the highlight of my life. It allowed me to gain a new perspective on not only physical therapy but also on myself and how I will choose to live going forward.

One of Fukuji and Lum’s mission statements is “to love and grow, as a family.” I find that the word family is often tossed around in flyers and ads without much significance, but at this clinic, they truly mean it. Before my trip, I was worried that I would be homesick living so far from my family and friends. However, this was never a problem because I had all the support and love that I needed right here. My co-workers went out of their way to make sure that we were adjusting well, even welcoming us into their homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From the moment I arrived, I could tell that this clinic is an ‘Ohana in which people deeply care about one another, celebrating each other’s victories and being there as a support system during more difficult times. This was reflected both in the clinic with my co-workers as well as at home with my roommates. I did not know any of the other Northeastern co-op students before coming, but after living together, exploring the island, and sharing our thoughts and experiences with each other we left feeling as close as sisters. I feel so supported in life knowing that no matter where I end up, I will always have the other co-ops by my side as well as an entire group of therapists in Hawaii who will have my back and be there to give me advice when I need it.

In addition to welcoming me into their family, my mentors at F&L also had a significant impact on how I view the profession and my belief about what physical therapy is. They helped show me how to have a holistic approach and that PT is about treating the patient and not the injury. One of the therapists I worked with would ask every patient he met, “what do you love to do” or “what is your passion.” He then made it his mission to adapt the patient’s treatment to help meet individualized goals and ensure that they could get back to doing the activities that fuel their spirit and make them who they are.

At Fukuji and Lum, the therapists do everything in their power to make each patient feel valuable and give them the time and attention that they need. After talking with friends back home, I realized this is not always the case and is something that makes F&L special. I had one patient who would often come into the clinic feeling gloomy and down. After talking throughout the session while creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere, she would leave the clinic with her head held high and a smile on her face. Just knowing that we could help turn someone’s day around and make them feel better both physically and emotionally was incredibly moving and something that I did not realize was part of the job.

Additionally, the therapists I worked with were never narrow sighted and did not limit their attention to the exact location of the problem. Instead they helped me understand how everything in the body is connected and that sometimes you need to strengthen or re-align a different part of the body in order to address the source of pain/injury and help the individual return to their full functioning self.

One of the most surprising things that I did not expect to learn on co-op was how to be myself in a clinical setting. When professors discuss professionalism in class, it often makes it seem as if you have to act almost robotic and very serious in clinical settings. However,

the nurturing relationships that I formed with my co-workers allowed me to feel comfortable opening up and being myself in the clinic. I realized that I could still have a fun and goofy personality while remaining professional and gaining respect from patients. I think that letting down the walls that I had put up actually enabled me to become closer with my patients and form more genuine and trusting bonds, which can really alter how a patient responds to therapy.

One of the highlights of my experience inside the clinic was getting to form close bonds with some of my patients. One patient in particular was an elderly woman who even changed her schedule to make sure that she could come in on days that I would be working. Every week, we would spend the session talking about the different things going on in each other’s lives while going through various exercises. On my last day of co-op, the patient held my hand and looked me in the eyes as she thanked me for helping her get stronger because now she was able to leave the house and go to activities with her family. In that moment, I could feel how sincere the patient was and how much of a difference that therapy made in her life, which was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

The best part of my experience outside of the clinic was getting to explore the island with my roommates. Every weekend we got to go on a new adventure, whether it was finding a new beach, learning to surf, experiencing a different part of Hawaiian culture/ history, or going on a hike. No matter what we did, the scenery was breathtaking and unlike anything else I had ever seen before. This helped me realize that there are so many opportunities and adventures in any place that you live if you make the effort to find them. Immersing myself in the culture and making the effort to explore and find so many new and exciting things changed my mindset of how I want to spend my time in life. I no longer want to waste so much time sitting around inside. I now know that I want to push myself to get out and discover different events and opportunities around me in any place that I live in order to get the most out of life.

The main takeaway that I have from this experience that is unique to co-oping at Fukuji and Lum is practicing physical therapy with the aloha spirit. This spirit is everywhere at the clinic, both within those working there as well as the patients. This positive and loving atmosphere pushed everyone to grow together which I believe leads to better patient outcomes. This is something that I will hold dear to my heart and carry with me as I try to live and breath aloha no matter what clinic I work in.

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.

 

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing Co-op Jada!

We welcome Jada to the F&L O'hana. She works over at Kokokahi, at our Kaneohe clinic and Aquatic Therapy pool. Here's a little bit about Jada and her journey to becoming a PT student at NEU.

I attended Saranac Lake High School and currently attend Northeastern University. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to go to the Olympics for track & field. I had my heart set on being an olympian for a long time, so when I realized that it seemed like a long shot, I decided that if I couldn’t run in the olympics, I wanted to surround myself with people who did. I found out that physical therapy is such an incredible way to stay involved in athletics and be able to be a part of the athlete’s journey to success. 

 

I decided early on that I wanted to do a co-op outside of Boston because I love to travel and experience new places, and this was an opportunity to not only go somewhere beautiful, but to experience a completely new culture, climate, setting, and way of life. Doing a co-op in a place like Hawaii is really more than just a co-op. In addition to getting all of the amazing professional experience, we also get to explore a totally different part of the world in such a unique way. We only have a few opportunities to immerse ourselves in a totally new place so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and make it count. 

My experience in Hawaii so far has been incredible. The patients at Fukuji & Lum have been amazing and are always ready to welcome us with food, plenty of suggestions and local tips & tricks to navigate the island. The staff has also been incredible, making us feel so welcome and like we really are a part of the family. One of the greatest things I’ve noticed about Hawaii so far is that the people here are so accepting of everyone. Regardless of your identity or what you look like, the locals treat everyone with respect and love and that is so inspiring. I can definitely understand why people don’t leave this place, it feels like home in the blink of an eye. 

The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving has probably been poke, just because I had never had it before and don’t even eat sushi at home! 

My to-do list is insanely long, but some of the big things are skydiving, ziplining, learning how to surf, and hopefully finding a way to hike stairway to heaven. 

One day, I hope to be a therapist working with world class athletes. Sports medicine is what lead me to physical therapy in the first place, so I can’t wait to see where that can take me. Whether I’m on the side of the track doing PT for olympic track athletes or on the ice being a team PT for a professional hockey team, I want to be right in the action. I hope to be the kind of therapist that these athletes trust to keep them strong and help them get back on their feet to continue doing what they love!

There are so many people that have influenced me and helped me become the person I am today. My biggest influences overall would have to be my family. My parents, grandparents and whole extended family have always been so supportive of me and have encouraged me to follow my interests. One of my biggest influences also has to be Allyson Felix, the Olympic track and field athlete. She is such an inspiration to me because of her work ethic, attitude and resilience. Following her journey has shown me how important it is to not let disappointments and failures keep you down!

Jada

By Deb Matsuura

Aloha Emily!

Emily, our second Co-op this semester, travels back and forth over the mountain from the Kailua to the Honolulu Clinic every week. She shares a little about herself and her experience so far being on the island.

I am a 3rd year physical therapy major at Northeastern University in Boston. I grew up just outside Philadelphia where I attended Methacton High School.

My greatest influence in life has always been my mom. She is such a kind-hearted person who always puts the needs of others before herself. She is a pediatric physical therapist and her endless passion and love for the job is what first inspired me to pursue physical therapy. My family also runs a therapeutic horseback riding program, which I have volunteered for ever since I was a kid. This experience teaching kid’s exercises and seeing the impact that physical therapy can have on a person’s life reaffirmed my desire to enter this profession. I hope that my exposure to using various therapeutic methods with different types of patients while on co-op will give me a better idea of what type of physical therapy I want to specialize in. I also love teaching, so someday I would like to become an instructor for courses and train other therapists skills that they can use to help their patients.

I knew that I wanted to do my co-op at Fukuji and Lum after having coffee with some of the previous co-ops. They emphasized how the clinic values forming relationships with patients, using a holistic approach to patient care, and creating a positive atmosphere to make physical therapy fun. This resonated with the type of therapist that I aspire to be and was something that I felt I would not find in any of the clinics in Boston. In addition to everything that Fukuji and Lum had to offer, the previous co-ops also talked a lot about the aloha spirit and relaxed nature of people living in Hawaii. I want to grow as a person while on co-op and I hope that living in this atmosphere for 6 months will help me learn to slow down, live in the moment, and take time to appreciate the people and events going on around me.

My experience here thus far has been incredible. Everyone at the clinic has been so welcoming and helpful as I get settled in. The way that people all treat each other like family here has made it very easy to feel at home. The views everywhere are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and I love how every weekend there is always something new and exciting to do. It has also been amazing to try some of the local foods the island has to offer. The strangest thing I’ve eaten so far was poi. It’s color and texture made it so different from anything I’ve eaten before, but I ended up really liking it! While I’m here, I can’t wait to go on as many hikes and explore as many beaches as possible. I would also love to go skydiving, ziplining, camping, kayak to the Mokes, snorkel, do yoga on the beach, and learn to surf.

By Deb Matsuura

F&L Fall Semester Co-ops Are Here!

F&L is very proud and excited to have four new Northeastern Co-ops this fall. They all wrote their own blogs and will be featured individually in our Happy at Work Blog throughout the month.

Let's meet Juliet! She will be working with our Work Comp/No Fault patients at WORC and learning all about Aquatic Therapy at our Kaneohe pool.

 

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

I went to Kennedy Catholic High School in Westchester, New York, and I just finished my second year as an undergraduate in Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?

As a lifelong dancer, I have always been fascinated by how the parts of the body work together to produce movement – whether it is as simple as reaching to the top cabinet to put a glass away or as complex as completing 16 consecutive pirouettes en pointe without losing balance. When I was an Achilles tendonitis patient in high school, I was intrigued by the multiple PT clinics I visited and therapists I worked with. Despite having positive experiences, I wished I had encountered a therapist with a dance background, and with that thought, I saw my future self as a potential solution to my situation. Since high school, I have spent time exploring by taking classes in anything that sparked my interest, from stem cells to food justice, and journalism to biopsychology, yet human anatomy remained front and center. I even had the opportunity to work in a biology research lab as a freshman in college, and while I loved the end goal of the lab’s work, pipetting and test tubes seemed far removed from the people I wanted to help. This quickly helped me to understand my desire to take my passion for biology, the body, and problem solving, and apply it in a way that would directly help people to return to an improved physical state. Every day, I return home from working in the clinic and the pool with a growing certainty that physical therapy is a profession that will not only give me a purpose, but more importantly, grant me the opportunity to help others return to their purposes.

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

I love to explore, and one of my passions is traveling the world to experience how people of different cultures live their daily lives. I had been to Hawaii with my family on vacation and I fell in love with the scenery but missed out on the culture; it’s tough to get a full cultural experience as a tourist. When I heard about a co-op opportunity that would allow me to be less of a tourist and more of a resident in a place that could not be more beautiful, it rose to the top of my list. Talking with the previous co-ops about their experiences at Fukuji & Lum only fueled my desire to live and work here even more. Hearing their stories about how welcoming the entire work community was and how much they learned about treating patients holistically resonated with my values and goals as a future therapist.

What has your experience been like so far?

My experience has been absolutely incredible. I come home from work every day in awe of how everyone really does seem to be “happy at work,” and I think of how lucky I am to be here. The entire F&L community has been so kind, welcoming, inclusive, and eager to help us learn, and patients have been so happy to work with us even though we are still beginners.  Time seems to fly in the clinic because there is always something to do – a patient to help, a new exercise or skill to master, a note to write, a conversation to have. One of the therapists convinced me to start coming for 6am workouts before the work day, and although I have never been a fan of early morning workouts, something about going in early and starting my day sweating with them has been such a positive experience. Outside the clinic, weekends are packed full of adventures: hikes, beaches, snorkeling, arts festivals, and more. I did not know the other co-ops very well before coming here and it has been fun getting to know them and to explore with them these past few weeks. I am so excited for the rest of this experience and will try to soak in as much as I can before returning to the Boston cold!

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

Lychee! It was extra special because it was from a coworker’s tree back home in Kauai. And although I would not consider it strange, poke is my favorite meal I have eaten (more times than I would like to admit) since arriving.

What is on your to do list while here?

My to-do list already seemed never-ending before I arrived, but after all the recommendations from patients and coworkers, I think I could live here for 6 years instead of 6 months and still not get to everything! The list includes too many hikes to name them all, skydiving, windsurfing & surfing, watch a surfing competition at the North Shore, lots of snorkeling, go to a luau, visit the Mermaid Caves, take a hula class, swim with sharks (maybe?), run the half marathon at Kualoa Ranch, try poke from every spot recommended by patients, go camping for a weekend, kayak to the Mokes, walk/swim out to Chinaman’s Hat… it really just never ends!

On a more personal level, I am really looking forward to using this time away from school and home to discover a greater purpose and to further develop goals for myself as a therapist. I am also hoping to impact the lives of patients and to give back to the community here, even if only in a small way. I’ll follow up on that in the final reflection!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

While I am still unsure of which route I would like to take within the PT field, I hope to be the therapist that my patients need at the moment in their lives that we happen to meet. While that is a lofty aspiration, I will work my hardest to make it a reality because every patient deserves a therapist who sees him/her not as an injury or condition, but instead as a person. I want to continue learning long after I graduate to keep up with the latest research that could potentially help my patients. I hope to be creative and to think critically like the therapists at WORC when they come up with exercises that mimic activities in patient’s work environments to help heal and strengthen them before they return to their jobs. I hope to be confident enough in my knowledge base to be able to adapt my style to fit various personalities and lifestyles that patients may lead – be more stern with some if necessary, humorous with others, a shoulder to lean on for someone who may need it at the time – and most of all, I hope to be empathetic and to help my patients understand that they are more than whatever injury or condition might be weighing them down.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My parents have always been the greatest influence in my life, although I am so fortunate to have met many other wonderful influences along the way, too. My mom’s compassionate, empathetic nature has allowed her to constantly support and encourage me and to instill in me the importance of giving back to the community. My dad has never stopped inspiring me to be intellectually curious – he reminded me every day before middle and high school that my end goal was to learn as much as I could from every situation, every textbook, every conversation. Whether it was playing the “hard question game” with me on rides to dance and gymnastics as a kid, taking long walks with me on the beach or in a foot of snow to talk things out, or sitting front and center at every dance recital, my parents have never stopped giving their all for me or being my number one fans. Mahalo, Mom and Dad!!

By Deb Matsuura

David & Erik, NEU Co-ops (cont.)

Our Co-ops have been here for a few months now, learning about physical therapy and exploring the islands. We have two more students to introduce to everyone, David and Erik, who are both post-bac Doctor of Physical Therapy students at Northeastern University.

 David

What drew you to physical therapy?
I had neuroblastoma as an infant, which was a tumor on the base of my spinal cord. This damaged some nerves that caused deficits in my right leg. So I was a patient of physical therapy as a young child, and the physical therapist that I worked with was an incredible, compassionate, and empowering woman. She was the reason I was able to participate in little league and other activities with my peers growing up, and she is the reason I entered this field and who I want to model myself after as a physical therapist and just as a good-hearted human being in general.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
After speaking to some of my peers that did their co-op with Fukuji & Lum in the past, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. The culture of the clinic seemed like an incredible experience, as compassionate care is one of the main goals of Fukuji & Lum, and one of the reasons I wanted to do physical therapy in the first place. The aloha spirit really drew me in, as all of the patients and employees are extremely kind and amazing to work with. I also wanted to come to Hawaii because I am a big nature lover. I love hiking and being outdoors, and this is one of the best places in the world for that. Certainly can’t top escaping the Boston winter and coming to a tropical paradise.

What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been everything I could have imagined. I’ve been able to work with a diverse patient population in a variety of settings and apply a lot of the knowledge I’ve obtained in the program so far. Any down time I’ve had has been spent hiking, going to beaches, and exploring everywhere on this beautiful island.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I’m a big time foodie and a pretty adventurous eater, so it’s very rare that I consider any food weird. But everything I’ve tasted here so far has been absolutely delicious. I’ve eaten poke at least every other day since being here, I can’t get enough! The only thing I was told is a bit of an acquired taste was poi, but I enjoyed that as well!

What is on your to do list while here?
While I’m in Hawaii I’d love to just go on as many hikes as possible and see as much of this beautiful island as I can. I’d also love to be able to visit a few other islands while I’m here, I already have trips to Kauai and the Big Island planned! I’m scheduled to run a half marathon in April, which will be my first one so I’m very excited.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a compassionate, spiritual, empowering, and kind-hearted therapist, just like the first PT who influenced me, and like everyone here at Fukuji and Lum. I want to help my patients improve their functioning, and help them build confidence to be better than they ever thought they could be.

      

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have many great people that have influenced me throughout my life, but my greatest influence has to be my grandmother. She moved in with my family to help my parents when I was sick as an infant, and she never left, so she was always around when I was growing up and helped me become the person I am today. She is an incredibly strong woman, as she was a single mother and worked a few jobs at any given time to help support my mom and my uncle. She’s now 76 and still works full time and does a lot of house and yard work; she never stops moving!
Answering the same above questions as David, Erik shares his thoughts about Hawaii and being a PT student.

 Erik

I am from New Hampshire and have a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Keene State College, and currently pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I have always wanted a career in helping people since I was young and experienced my brother battle cancer for years. I myself have been to physical therapy twice for different sports-related injuries and found that it would be a highly rewarding career. I believe my balance with helping others and exercise science is a perfect blend in the physical therapy world.

There are a couple big reasons as to why I wanted to do my co-op in Hawai’i. First, I have never been to the island(s) and wanted to experience something new and different that Boston would not be able to offer. Second, Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy gave me the feeling that I would be able to work closely with other patients and receive an invaluable co-op experience.

Thus far, my experience in Hawai’i has been amazing. While I’ve only been here for three full weeks, between hiking, snorkeling, and eating the local food I feel as I have begun to settle here and become more accustom to the island life. I would not say that I have eaten anything strange since arriving; however, the random snacks that have been offered to me at work are definitely unique to say the least.

My “to-do” list while I am here is to do a lot of hiking and swimming. Thus far, I am on the right track with hiking every weekend but I want to continue seeing new viewpoints and snorkeling in different reefs. Another thing on my bucket list while I am here is to visit at least two other islands.

     

I hope to be the type of therapist to always advocate for my patients, create a friendly work environment with those around me, and constantly learn new ways to treat impairments. I have several great influences in my life: multiple professors, musicians, and actors, as well as my father.

 

By Deb Matsuura

New Co-ops for 2018 (Cont.)

F&L has been fortunate enough to bring on six C0-ops this semester. You’ve met Ryan and Scott, so now let’s meet 2 more: Brynn & Emily!

BRYNN
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon and I currently attend Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?
I was born with Erb’s Palsy in my left arm and grew up going to physical therapy so it seemed like a normal part of life to me. When I was in high school I realized that I could help people just as much as my PTs had helped me and decided that that was what I wanted to do in life.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted to coop here in Hawaii because I was very interested in aqua-therapy and the hands on experience that the clinics offer. I also greatly enjoy traveling and immersing myself into new cultures so it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

What has been your experience like so far? 
So far I have loved every second of it and I already feel like I have learned so much both from my coworkers and from the patients.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Since arriving the strangest thing that I have eaten is dried shrimp. I am not a huge fan of cooked seafood so that was an interesting experience.

What is on your to do list while here?
While I’m here I want to explore as much of the island as I can and go hiking every weekend. I want to experience as much as I possibly can and feel at home here.

      
What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
I am not yet sure what type of therapist I want to be because there is so much that I haven’t seen and so many different patient populations that I have yet to work with. That being said, I don’t see myself working in an in-patient setting.

 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
If I had to choose one person who has had the greatest influence in my life it would be my high school rowing coach. He is very driven and dedicated and throughout my 5 years with him taught me so many life lessons that I did not realize until I left the club.

EMILY

Aloha!
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college? 
I grew up in a small suburb outside of Boston and attended Dover-Sherborn High School. I am currently a fourth year physical therapy student at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy and why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
In 9th grade I loved my biology and anatomy class (MUCH more than math class) and realized that I was fascinated by how the human body worked. I decided to complete a PT internship in a small outpatient clinic in MA and my experience confirmed that I wanted to major in PT. I worked alongside a Northeastern Co-op student who raved about her PT program and I decided Northeastern was my dream school.

I studied abroad in Greece for my first semester of college and I had an absolutely amazing experience. When I returned to Boston I knew that I wanted to embrace more opportunities at Northeastern to travel and experience new challenges. When I heard about the Hawaii Co-op I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. Previous Co-op students would post amazing photos, share stories about their experiences, and they carried a new positive energy. Who knew that my path at Northeastern would include two study abroad programs (Greece and London) and a 6 month Co-op on the amazing island of Oahu!

What has been your experience like so far? 
The transition to Hawaii was pretty smooth and although the jet lag and adjustment to the “vog” took a slight toll on me, I became immersed in a new lifestyle right away. I got right to work training at the Kailua clinic/pool the first week on the island and before I knew it the first weekend had arrived and promised adventure. So far my friends and I have hiked Kuliouoou Ridge and Koko Head and enjoyed Waimea Bay, Sandy’s Beach, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. The second trip to the North Shore wasn’t quite as pleasant as my friends and I (along with our phones) got taken out by a wave even though we were standing 50 feet away. On the bright side now I have waterproof phone with a great camera to capture the many memories and beautiful views to come.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? 
The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving is Lilikoi.I found the fruit to be pretty sour and a patient recommended that I try it again with honey and sugar which sounds pretty yummy.

What is on your to do list while here?
My ultimate Hawaii to-do list includes the usual- tan at beaches all over the island, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, and hike as many mountains at possible. I also really want to horseback ride and drive ATVs at the Kualoa Ranch, sky dive, and take surfing lessons. I also plan to try as many acai bowls on the island as possible.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
My last Co-op was half inpatient/ outpatient and to my surprise I really enjoyed both types of PT. I stayed on as an inpatient aide at the hospital for weekend shifts which is why I seeked out more outpatient experience for my Co-op. I felt like a lot of the information that we learned in the past three semesters of school could be applied and built upon in an outpatient clinic. I am unsure what setting I will be in when I’m older but luckily I have time to figure it out! As a Northeastern student I am truly lucky that I have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of physical therapy placements at hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My mom has a very big influence in my life and I strive to be like her. People love to be around my mom as she is a genuine, kind person and she always puts others before her. She supports me no matter what and never fails to remind me how proud of me she is.My mom loves the ocean as she grew up in a beach town so she cannot WAIT to see the shores of Hawaii :). My friends at Northeastern also have a great impact on my life. We motivate each other to work hard in school and find a balance so that we can get through PT school but also be young and have fun. My friends always have my back and are always there for a good laugh.

By Deb Matsuura

Tiffany – “My Hawaiian Adventure”

I am so thankful for my time at Fukuji and Lum. This incredible experience is something I can never forget. As the weather in Boston begins to cool, I cannot help but reminisce about my time in Hawaii. The people in Hawaii, especially at Fukuji and Lum, are so friendly and loving. It is during these 6 months that I began to understand and even adopt the aloha spirit.

Our flight began in Boston, where I was wearing a hat and scarf. I was excited, but also nervous to begin a new co-op experience 5,000 miles away from home. Before Hawaii, I had never been so far from my family for more than a month, and now I was leaving for six months! From the moment I stepped into the clinic, I know I had absolutely no reason to be nervous.

My first day at the Honolulu clinic I was greeted by Lynn at the front desk and I remember thinking how welcoming she was. I also met Art, Shaw, Mike, Mana and Michelle that day and they were all great and willing to teach me about the clinic. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum are great teachers with an inspirational passion for learning about physical therapy.IMG_9087

Through the six months I was there, I got to meet more amazing people such as Taryn, Julie, Jenni, Blayse, Brittany and Chloe. There was so much for me to learn as I had never worked at an outpatient clinic before. The staff was excited to learn about new techniques and exercises that optimally helped our patients. It was so amazing to see the bond all the staff had with each patient. I began to understand the important role ohana has at Fukuji and Lum.

 As a co-op student I was able to develop my skills and knowledge relating to physical therapy. Working with different therapists and patients helped me grow as a student and future professional. I remember in one of our staff meetings at the beginning of this co-op, I was asked what I am most looking forward to during my experience. I said that I was excited to see my course work integrated into real practice; and that was exactly what I saw. This also works in reverse, because I can take what I learned from Fukuji and Lum and combine it with my future courses.

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On top of being able to work alongside these inspiring, hard-working people, I was able to explore the beautiful islands as well. I lived with two of the other co-ops, Jamie and Rose, and we were lucky enough to live just five minutes from the beach. Once we settled in, we began making a check list of hikes and beaches we needed to visit during our six month stay. With the other co-ops Tim and Dan, we got to visit beaches along the North shore, have some of the best fish tacos ever and hike breath-taking trails like the Kuli’ou’ou ridge.

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We were also lucky enough to visit some of the other islands! Getting to see the lava against a starry sky on the big island was magnificent. Completing the 11-mile Na Pali coast hike on Kauai is one of my greatest accomplishments. Each of the islands were so unique, and I am so happy I was able to experience a few of them!

This experience was enriching in so many ways. I gained a greater understanding of the physical therapy field and what kind of therapist I want to become. Through working at Fukuji and Lum I saw of the impact we can have on patients both through excellent and compassionate care. Thank you again to everyone at Fukuji and Lum and I know that I will always have ohana in Hawaii!

Mahalo and Aloha!

Tiffany

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