By Deb Matsuura

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Megumi describes her Co-op experience as GRATEFUL

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? One in the clinic and one outside the clinic. 
Completing my second coop at Fukuji and Lum in Hawaii was an experience that I will be forever grateful for. I would also say it has been the best experience during my time at Northeastern. Taking time away from Boston and having a completely different environment for 6 months allowed me to grow and make great memories. In the clinic, I enjoyed working on my communication skills when getting to know the patients and teaching them exercises. The patients were very welcoming and it was fun to chat with them about their local recommendations of favorite food places and hikes. Getting to talk about Japan with them and talking to some in Japanese was also memorable and fulfilling. 

Outside of the clinic, I remember some crazy adventures like climbing Koko Head before work, skydiving and shark diving on the same day, getting lost on hikes, swimming to the middle of the ocean to see dolphins, and when Alltrails.com would underestimate the difficulty of the trails which put me in some rather dangerous situations than I would have preferred. Crossing off my Hawaii bucket list activities regularly was very exciting and made me appreciate each day of my long but short visit. 

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
One word I would use to describe my experience would be grateful. As much as I was excited to have the opportunity to live in Hawaii, moving to Hawaii for 6 months sounded risky. However, getting out of my comfort zone with new adventures outside of the clinic and in the clinic, I feel grateful for the people that made this the amazing opportunity that it was. There were many moving parts to make this experience possible starting with my family and the welcoming people that I met and got close to, so I will remember to appreciate how this was possible. The result of taking these risks and trying new things brought me to Hawaii and Fukuji and Lum which will boost my confidence to challenge myself in the future as well.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
Everyone I got to work with impacted me in many ways, especially those at the Honolulu clinic. I got to learn from a diverse range of treatment styles and personalities through each PT and PTA. This helped me begin navigating my interests and style on how to treat and interact with patients. I appreciated the time devoted by the therapists to teach and explain their logic and tips for their treatments which I hope to be able to do for other students in the future as well. They encouraged me to ask more questions, provided opportunities to learn, and let me practice hands-on techniques. Being a clinical student next year, the open environment here has prepared me to be more involved and proactive with my learning. In addition, being back in classes now, I have especially been grateful for the learning experience in the clinic because I now have some familiarity with concepts and techniques has been very helpful.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
With my career, I hope to integrate the welcoming and family culture from Fukuji and Lum and Hawaii in my practice. Going forward, I know I have made many life-long relationships that I can reach out to for anything which I am very thankful for. Although I miss everyone and life in Hawaii, I am motivated to get back in the classroom to learn more and become a PT myself. 

By Deb Matsuura

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Lauren shares her favorite memories from her Co-op experience in Hawaii.

Describe a favorite highlight or memory of your experiences in the clinic and outside of work?
Our last day on the island, we met up with one of our coworkers/ friends Shelly. The six of us woke up at dawn, hopped in two cars and drove up to the most western portion of the island near Ka’ena Point. Shelly knew a small beach where dolphins usually circle in the morning. We had seen them from the shore when we were assembling our gear. We put on our fins and snorkel gear and swam out a few hundred feet off of shore. We waited and waited and after about 45 minutes we were about ready to call it quits, when all of a sudden we heard their high pitched calls. We raced back out just in time to catch them swimming by. It was a great way to culminate all of the amazing adventures and experiences I had throughout my time.

My favorite memory inside the clinic came from the Kailua Open House. The staff at Kailua worked really hard to prepare to show off the clinic to the entire staff. We prepared games, including pin the tail on the bunny with a psychedelic tie-dye bunny rabbit. Everyone took turns trying to pin the tail on the bunny with very little success, many people didn't even hit the same wall. It was my greatest memory from my time at Fukuji and Lum.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
My supervisor Brynn had a profound impact on my experience in Hawaii. Not only was she acgreat resource for any problems I had at the clinic but she also came to be one of my closest friends in my time there. We spent many nights playing board games or going to the beach with the rest of the co-ops. It was great to have both a mentor and a friend to go to when I had an issue. Not to mention our fiercely competitive Wordle competition.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?
I learned so much about Hawaiian culture not only through coworkers but many of my patients took the time to enlighten me with all of their stories and tales. One of my patients was an older gentleman who grew up right next to the current Kailua clinic, he watched Kailua town turn from a scrappy neighborhood into what it is today. One day I sneezed during our session and he said “Kihe a mauli ola” and explained that it means breath of life.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
If I had to choose one word to describe my experience at Fukuji and Lum and with my time in Hawaii, I would choose malama. Malama means to take care of and tend to. Everyone that I met in my time in Hawaii was watching over others, putting everyone else before themselves, which is really the spirit of Hawaii that I felt deeply when I was there. No matter wether it is celebrating a birthday, or sharing laughs on aloha friday, everyone's purpose is to serve others and make them feel loved.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
My experience with Fukuji and Lum has given me a great idea of what a company should look like. From top to bottom the entire company treats each other as ohana, with love and respect for patients and coworkers alike. I will carry this philosophy of business into whatever company I end up at, trying to help my coworkers feel like they are at home within their work environment.

By Abby

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Julia Reflects on Her Time in Hawaii

Julia shares about her experience as a co-op and how it continues to have a positive impact on her education and passion for physical therapy. 

Thinking back on my time in Hawaii, I can easily say that spending six months working at Fukuji & Lum was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Going into this experience I was so excited to see the outpatient side of physical therapy for the first time and apply and expand my knowledge. Within the six short months I was at Fukuji & Lum I learned more than I ever could have imagined and feel so much more confident and prepared heading into my upcoming classes and future clinical rotations. I am so thankful for the WORC crew who welcomed me with open arms and made my time at Fukuji & Lum so memorable. The therapists at WORC were all amazing mentors and not only challenged me as a student, but also supported and trusted me to apply my skills inside the clinic. Not only were they great teachers, but also such a fun crew of people to work alongside and made leaving Hawaii that much harder. I'm also grateful for my exposure to aquatic therapy and seeing the contrast between the calm, slower moving aquatic sessions and the fast paced, busy days at WORC and coming to love and appreciate my time spent in both. Overall, I am so thankful to be a part of such an amazing company that truly became ‘ohana. From my experience inside the clinic, to time spent with coworkers outside of work at the beach, on the sandbar, at game nights and everything in between, I will forever have a special place in my heart for everyone at Fukuji & Lum.

Outside of the clinic, I was eager to see and do as much as I possibly could in my short time on Oahu. When I first got to Hawaii I wanted to do things that got me out of my comfort zone such as go skydiving, swimming with sharks and on ridge hikes. I'm happy to say I accomplished all of that and much more and couldn't be more happy with all I got out of this experience. I fell in love with hiking during my time in Oahu and hiked well over 30 incredible, challenging and beautiful trails. Out of all of them, I'd have to say I loved hiking the stairway to heaven with all the coops the most out of any. Spending 11 miles hiking up through muddy trenches, intense wind and along narrow ridges was an incredible experience that made me so appreciative for all my body could do. And accomplishing this alongside each of the other co-ops made it even more special! Other than hiking, I am going to miss chasing the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, snorkeling and swimming with turtles, dolphins, and fish, and visiting all the beautiful beaches & lookout spots around the island. I'm already missing the people, food, nature and overall beauty I got to immerse myself in during my six months in Oahu- and I'm looking for any excuse to get myself back there!!

This experience wouldn't have been what it was if it weren't for the 4 other co-ops I was with- Annie, Meg, Lauren and Holland who all deserve a shout out. It was an incredible experience getting to know and live with my classmates, as well as explore the island, try new foods and meet new people with them. We had an amazing 6 months together packed full of adventures, good eats and lots of laughs. Thank you ladies for being the best co-workers, classmates and friends!

Going forward, I am excited to utilize all the new skills and knowledge I have for my upcoming classes, clinicals and future as a physical therapist. The relationships I made both with therapists and patients helped to shape me into an even better future clinician & I appreciate learning from all the diverse perspectives and personalities I encountered in my time at Fukuji & Lum. I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity to help further shape into the well educated, compassionate and patient centered  physical therapist I hope to be in a few short years.

Thanks for the best time and the best memories Oahu! Missing Hawaii & everyone at Fukuji & Lum every day!

By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Hello to Alex!

Alex tells us about his initial motivation to become a physical therapist and how important his parents are to him. He's excited to explore the islands and grow as a PT student during his time as a co-op with us.

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

I grew up in a city called Quincy, Massachusetts and attended North Quincy High school. Then I went to University of Massachusetts Amherst and got my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. After taking a gap year after graduating, I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?

I had always enjoyed watching the Patriots win all their Superbowls and I wanted one of the rings. One of the ways to do that was to find my way on the field. I had seen athletic trainers and PTs run on the field and get their 15 seconds of fame and that’s what I wanted at first. After my first job in an office, I realized that I couldn’t sit still and needed to be moving around. Once I was exposed to working in a PT clinic, I really enjoyed working with patients.  Getting to meet new people every day and listen to everyone’s life experiences while helping them brings excitement to my life.

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

I don’t think that I have had anything strange since arriving in Hawaii, maybe raw octopus? I would say I’m a very adventurous eater and love food, so I am always down to try some new foods.

What is on your to-do list while here?

My to-do list while here is to be able to go to the 3 other large islands. I would also love to swim with dolphins, skydive, surf and maybe swim with sharks. Also what I’ve been accomplishing the most, to eat as much good food as possible.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The therapist that I want to be is a trustworthy, dedicated and reliable therapist that patients are able to communicate with and trust. Being able to connect with patients in that way is what an amazing feeling and is what I hope I can do in the future.

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

Why did I want to do co-op in Hawaii? Because WHY NOT!!  I had been to Hawaii last year and I loved it, so why not come back for 6 months this time. I am fortunate and grateful to have such a strong support system back at home to be able to be living this dream. Even though I am here to learn and work, I feel like I am on a 6-month vacation.

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been a dream. Everyone here is so welcoming and friendly. I am grateful that Northeastern has such a connection with the F&L family. The weather has been amazing, the beaches have been extravagant, the views have been fabulous, and the food has been impeccable.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life are my parents. Coming to America from a 3rd world country and being able to give my brothers and I the life that we have had is just unfathomable. I will forever be grateful of what my parents have done for my family. They have worked so hard in their life and deserve nothing but the world and that is what my brothers and I are aiming to do for them.

By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Aloha, Sarah!

Sarah tells us about her passion for becoming a physical therapist and how excited she is to be learning in such a beautiful place!

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

Hello! My name is Sarah! I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. I attended Pomperaug High School in Southbury, CT. I then attended the University of Delaware where I majored in Exercise Science.  

What drew you to physical therapy?

As an athlete growing up, I have always valued movement and exercise and know how much it impacts a person's well-being. I have always known I wanted to go into a profession where I would be able to help others and physical therapy allows me to do just that! I love how this profession enables individuals to get back to doing the activities and hobbies they enjoy by educating the patients on what they can do to help their own bodies and become an active part of their healing process. This profession allows the therapists to build a relationship with their patients to work with them to achieve their goals to get back to doing what they love. 

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

I wanted to do my co-op here in Hawaii because I have always loved traveling and exploring new places. I also felt like it was a great time to experience change and live somewhere new! I also heard such amazing things from past co-op students about their time with Fukuji and Lum and wanted to experience it myself!

What has been your experience like so far?

I have loved my experience so far and every day I wake up and feel so grateful that I am able to learn and grow in such a beautiful place. Everyone at the clinic is so welcoming and excited to share their knowledge. They are always willing to take time to explain the different aspects of their sessions from manual therapy to the exercises they chose and encourage me to learn new skills. In addition, they have been very thoughtful and spent time getting to know me as an individual. From giving me different books about Hawaii to playing games to get to know me better, I have felt very welcomed and thoroughly have enjoyed my time here so far!

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

I haven’t eaten anything that strange so far. However, the most unique thing that I have tried is poi, which was new. I am very excited to try more Hawaiian foods when I am here! 

What is on your to-do list while here?

Everything and anything! Overall, I am very excited to explore everything this island has to offer and look forward to all the gorgeous hikes, long beach days, and sunrises/sunsets I am lucky enough to experience while I am here! 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I want to be the kind of therapist that makes the patient feel like they are listened to and understood. I want patients to feel as if I am caring for them as an individual as opposed to just treating one specific injury. I want to lead with empathy, compassion, and understanding to provide the best care possible!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life has been my grandmother. She is the sweetest person and always goes the extra mile for everyone and is so caring. Kindness and humility can be seen in everything she does and inspires me to do the same. 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hello, Annie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

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

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Aloha Angela!

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

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

What drew you to physical therapy?

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

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

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

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

What has been your experience like so far?

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

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

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

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

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

 

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Helen to the F&L 'Ohana!

I attended South Burlington High School in South Burlington, Vermont, and I currently attend Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts. I first became interested in physical therapy when I broke my ankle playing tennis in high school. After my cast was removed, I began physical therapy and my therapist treated my ankle and then sent me back to play again. When I returned to the court, I was plagued by knee problems, so I headed back to physical therapy, but this time to a different therapist. This therapist took a holistic approach to my treatment and explained how my knee problems were a result of muscle weakness from my ankle injury. She helped me return to my preinjury state, as well as further strengthen me and as a result, improve my performance on the court. I was fascinated by the fact that my ankle injury recovery involved strengthening so many different parts of my body, as I hadn’t realized just how intertwined everything was. When I graduate, I hope to become an outpatient physical therapist. I’m not yet sure what population of patients I’d like to work with, but I do know that I would like to take a very holistic approach to treating my patients so that I can help them recover as much as possible.

I won’t deny that when I first heard about this coop, I was interested by the fact that it was in Hawaii. However, the more I learned about it, the more I realized just how unique the opportunity was. I realized that moving 5000 miles away from home for a position that would introduce me to so many important parts of my field would help me grow so much both personally and professionally. And doing that all while dealing with a pandemic has only increased my opportunity to grow. Just over two months into this experience, I have learned and done more in the clinic than I ever thought I would in my six months here. It has been challenging to adjust to living and working here and explore the island during a pandemic, but the opportunities I have been given as a physical therapy coop student at Fukuji & Lum make it all worthwhile.

In my free time, I have been trying to explore the island of Oahu as much as possible. Before the current restrictions were put into place, I enjoyed watching the sunrise from Lanikai Beach and hiking the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. Since the restrictions have been increased, I have spent most of my time reading and enjoying the view of the ocean from our porch. As things (hopefully) start to open back up, I would really like to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, see the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, and go to the Sunrise Shack. I have had some delicious açai bowls and smoothies since I have been here, as well as some really interesting fruit. I tried papaya and dragonfruit for the first time recently, and I am still not really sure how I feel about them.

As I continue to experience this amazing opportunity over the next several months, I feel so grateful for my mom and the influence she has had on me. She has always served as an example to me to work hard and always give your best effort. Despite her initial concerns about me moving thousands of miles away from her for six months, she has been nothing but supportive of my choice to pursue physical therapy as a career and take advantage of this opportunity offered by Fukuji & Lum. She has been so helpful to me throughout this experience and I feel lucky that I can FaceTime her and she’ll be there to hear about my day, give me advice, or even just give our cat Lucy some kisses for me.

Helen

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Emily to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hi there! 🙂

I’m originally from Long Island, NY and graduated from Schreiber High School in Port Washington. I’m currently a 3rd year PT student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

I had always known I wanted to go into the healthcare field when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I discovered that physical therapy was the career for me. In my junior year of high school, I became interested in yoga; I loved to analyze how body movement and mechanics could influence how a person feels. The parallels between physical therapy and yoga in the physical aspect of exercise combined with the mindfulness of alignment is what ultimately led me to the decision to become a PT.

When we were first beginning to look at co-ops, Fukuji & Lum was the first to catch my eye-as a native New Yorker I was excited at the prospect of traveling somewhere warm. Once I began to research more about the company, I realized that there was so much more to this opportunity than just the location. I learned that this clinic would provide me with so much more than just a job in Hawaii, I would have the change to create lifelong friendships. The staff here at Fukuji & Lum are really one big happy family, and I’m so grateful to be able to learn and grow surrounded by such supportive and compassionate people.

It’s these same fantastic people who are introducing me to all of the amazing food here on the island! Between (socially distanced) potluck staff meetings and going away lunches, I’ve tried everything from musubi to malasadas and can’t wait to keep trying more.

I only got to sneak in a few hikes and beach days before the shut down, but I can’t wait to keep exploring and learning about Hawaii’s land and culture. I hope to be able to continue my adventures once it’s safe, but if not, I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit!

As I’ve begun to gain experience in the field of physical therapy, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly interested in specializing in Geriatric PT. I think there’s something so special about being able to restore or maintain strength and flexibility so that someone can continue to be healthy and active as they age. The Aquatic Therapy clinic has been especially helpful in teaching me strategies for helping a patient to improve balance and stability.

My passion for learning and teaching techniques for improving balance, posture, and alignment wouldn’t have begun if not for my mom. As a yoga instructor herself, she is the one who introduced me to the practice as well as most of the techniques I use stay mindful of my own movements.

I hope to be able to share these values with my patients and am so excited to begin my journey in the world of physical therapy!

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