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

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

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

Here’s Maddi!

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

I grew up in central Massachusetts and attended Tantasqua Regional High School, which combines my town, Sturbridge, and four other small neighboring towns. For college I attend Northeastern University as part of the 6 year DPT program. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

When I was in high school I went to PT for an injury from running track. I had a great relationship with my physical therapist and loved how figuring out the best exercises for me was sort of like a puzzle, or putting the pieces all together. When I went off to college I started as a Biochemistry major, because I thought I wanted to go to medical school or do research. After first semester and getting to be exposed to what each of those routes would be like, I felt out of place. My mind just kept circling back to how interesting I’d always found physical therapy (I even did a project on it in high school!) and how it just felt like such a better fit. 

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

I really wanted to get out of Massachusetts for a while, and I wanted to go somewhere completely different. All of the previous co-ops I talked to spoke about how much they felt this experience helped them to grow both in their career aspirations and also as an individual. I felt like I was at a time in my life where I really needed that change and to immerse myself in a new culture and setting. Doing my co-op at F&L seemed like the perfect opportunity for what I was craving. 

What has been your experience like so far?

I can’t even begin to describe how positive it’s been! It’s been one month since I arrived and since then, I’ve been blown away by everything I’ve seen and everyone I’ve met. Everyone who has worked with me so far can confirm that I’m loving all the hiking the island has to offer and am eager to get out and explore so much more. I’ve been trying to learn to surf and while the wipe outs aren’t fun, I’m still enjoying it. One of my favorite experiences I’ve had so far was waking up to go see the sunrise from Lanikai pillboxes on my day off. Overall I’m really enjoying the lifestyle Hawaii has to offer and it’s causing me to adapt and adjust to the differences between here and New England (like the speed limit?!? Everyone drives so slow)  

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

I haven’t eaten anything “strange” yet, so I think you guys need to work harder… I’ve tried poke which was awesome, kalua pork, taro chips, purple yam ice cream, and some various Hawaiian candies. I guess the strangest thing I’ve eaten then would have to be haupia because I ate it before I had any idea what it was. 

What is on your to do list while here?

To get through the giant lists everyone has given me of recommendations. A couple of my big “to-do’s” include getting to the Mokes, Chinaman’s hat, Crouching Lion, Olomana, and (the legal way to) Stairway to Heaven. Overall, I want to get in as much hiking as possible! I also want to explore the North Shore more and go to Waimea Bay. I’d love to get over to Kauai and see the Na Pali coast. Juliet and I also signed up to do the Xterra half marathon at Kualoa Ranch in November, so whether I like it or not that’s on my to do list too. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

A good one. But actually… I want to be the kind of PT that develops a good relationship with their patients. I want my patient to be able to trust me enough to develop a program that works for them, and I want to be the type of PT that they feel is invested in their progress. I think being a physical therapist requires a lot of problem solving, and then also requires you to be able to explain the solution. I want to be a therapist who is able to work with different patients so that they feel their plan is personalized and targets them as a person and not just a diagnosis. As far as specifics go, I haven’t quite figured out yet what type of population or setting I want to work with/in. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Is it a cop out to say my family? My parents have each influenced me immensely in their own separate ways. My mom inspires me to have a thirst for adventure and to be unapologetically myself and has really been there as a strong female role model throughout my life. She reminds me to always pursue new experiences and has taught me that change and forced independence are great teachers. My dad has shaped how I think about and view the world so much. He forces me to challenge myself and to look at problems with a different perspective to find a better solution. He is one of the smartest people I know and has always described to me the importance of pursuing your passion. My sister teaches me how to love people with your whole heart and is one of the strongest people I know, she influences me with her perseverance and passion for what she cares about. 

By Deb Matsuura

2018 Co-ops Are Here!

Our 2018 Co-ops from Northeastern University have been with us for the past 3 months now. We have 6 PT students, the most we ever had in one semester. They are learning and working at our various clinics in Kailua, Kaneohe and Honolulu. Each student wrote a quick blog to introduce themselves, tell us a little about why they chose to study Physical Therapy and share their experiences so far since arriving in Hawaii.

Ryan & Scott

 Ryan is working at our Honolulu clinic and Kokokahi pool.

What drew you to physical therapy? A whim! After receiving my acceptance into NEU, I began looking more into their programs offered to see which interested me most. I stumbled upon the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program and thought it seemed interesting and something I could see myself doing. After my first co-op my third year, I was hooked!

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? Growing up on the west coast, I became pretty accustomed to living in warm weather year-round. After spending the past three and a half years in Boston (and in the frigid northeast winters), I felt it was time to give my mind and body the break it needed. I really enjoy traveling and trying new things so coming to Hawaii seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

[one_half]What has been your experience like so far? Excellent! Everyone at all of the clinics has been incredibly kind and inviting. I’ve been loving the warm weather and going out-and-about every weekend. These first few weeks have me extremely excited for the months to come! 

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Poi! interesting texture and flavor, but not bad! I loved the way it slid down my throat! nice and gooey!

What is on your to do list while here? While here I really want to go skydiving! I also plan on running a half marathon in April and getting in better shape. I also want to be able to touch my toes by the end of June. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? As of now, I am unsure exactly what kind of physical therapist I want to be. I hope to one day work in an outpatient setting with a diverse patient population. I am hoping that my time here at F&L will help me narrow down my search and help me decide what I like and do not like. 

   

Who is your greatest influence in your life? The greatest influence I have in my life has been my incredibly caring mother. Growing up, there was not a thing she wouldn’t do to help me better myself and succeed. Her nurturing personality and abounding love motivates me everyday to be the best person I can be. 

 

 Scott works mainly at our Honolulu Clinic.

What I love about PT is the ability to teach individuals about how to safely and efficiently navigate themselves through their environments. With some MD appointments you just go in and out of the appointment. With PT you get to build a relationship with individuals as you guide them through their exercises and provide them with modalities.

I applied to do a Co-op in Hawaii because I’ve always wanted to experience living somewhere far far far away from home. Plus, the beauty that is everywhere on this island and all the stories and adventures I heard about Hawaii made me convinced I had to do my co-op here!

My experience in Hawaii so far has been UNREAL!!! It’s good to be better acquainted with the island now. I love being able to spend my free time on the beach or hiking. All my friends back home are freezing right now and I couldn’t be happier in the warmth! I hurt my leg the day of the big 55 foot waves on the North shore which is a good story I guess.

Have I eaten anything weird since I’ve arrived in the islands? Ryan cooked a medley of peppers and rice and sausage for him and me one night… it was a lot to stomach…. no but really I had never had poke until coming here, and ever since my first taste of kimchee tako I’ve fallen in love!

To do list: Learn how to surf! Hike every mountain I can and do some sunrise hikes! Learn more about Hawaiian culture! Go to the beach and chiiiiiiiilllllll!

   
I want to be a therapist that can analyze impairments and dysfunctions methodically and critically. More so than that, I also want to be the type of therapist that is able to listen and empathize with my patients fully, provide answers to their questions, and help guide them on their journey of rehab.

My greatest influence would have to be my dad. People tell me a lot that I act just like him. He taught me the importance of being easy going and positive while also recognizing when it’s time to be serious and focus. He also taught me a great deal about confidence and determination. Because of him, when I set my eyes on a goal, it’s pretty impossible to tear me away from it until I achieve it. I wouldn’t be the student, future therapist, or person I am today if it were not for him.