MS: How did you get started/where did you begin?
NN: I started off pretty rough. I was an underachiever, an awful student who skipped school often and a "lost cause" in my own eyes. I was consistently in trouble with the law, my academic life, and had endured multiple hospitalizations after some poor personal decisions. One day after finally gaining the strength to exit a long term abusive relationship, I had an epiphany after seeing the damage I was causing to my family unit. I realized that both of my parents were losing sleep, my sister was becoming withdrawn and anxious, family relations amongst themselves began to dwindle because of me. I became overwhelmed with guilt and reality and swore to myself that I would change and allow my family to have peace and perhaps even pride in me. I cut ties with some toxic people, cried many tears, and eventually decided that I wanted to be a healthcare provider. I wanted to do something that
MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
NN: The pivotal point in my life which guided me to where I am today is the doubts of others, the need to feel alive and helpful, and the desire to be brave and successful.
would represent the positive qualities I recognize within myself and something I knew in my heart that I would be good at. I decided to start with my Emergency Medical Technician certification. I had the option to take a year-long course, an accelerated 2 month course, or a 4 week course. I decided that at this particular point in my life, I had no choice but to invest all of my energy into this and went for the condensed 4-week EMT course. It was the most intense academic experience of my life and I was in class 9 hours a day, 5-6 days a week for 4 weeks straight. Upon passing my national and state exam, I felt truly proud of myself for the first time since I was 12 years old (the last time I had gotten a perfect report card). After years of poor decision making and perpetual failures and turmoil building up I found a volunteer organization that was looking for EMT's to hire. After an excellent interview, I finally started to see light in my future. I made precious connections with some of the most amazing people I had ever met who inspired and guided me to be my best moral and professional self. I also repaired the relationships within my nuclear family that had started to go astray. I am now blessed with understanding, gratitude, and forgiveness which has enabled me to have amazing relationships with my parents and my sister today. Responding to 911 calls and fatalities changed my outlook on how short life could be and even a full lived, healthy life isn't long enough to take anything or anyone for granted. Life is too precious. Years later, I am still here today and decided to become a full time student at Goodwin University to study Public Health and see what other opportunities come my way. These past two years during the pandemic have really sparked my interest in epidemiology and other fields of public health and I feel that it is both important and relevant now, more than ever.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
NN: My favorite aspect of what I do is that I often get to watch patients' conditions improve drastically before my eyes whether it's something as simple as oxygen or glucose administration or simply just some psychological first aid on one of the worst days of their life. Importantly, my absolute favorite part of this job is the learning experience and connections I make with others as well as applying my knowledge and skills confidently.
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
NN: Short term goals: pay off debts, get through this semester and fix up my car. Long term goals: an important career in the field of Public Health, particularly epidemiology or writing/revising/implementing updated protocol for other health professionals.
MS: Do you have advice for people interested in the same field?
NN: My advice to anyone who might be looking to join the EMS field- Be yourself, they can all smell the bullshit from a mile away so don't even try to kid yourself and never be afraid to be open about what your comfort level is in terms of skills, as a good partner will always help you learn and practice these skills before they are applied in a real situation. Additionally, make sure you are always full and take all the bathroom breaks while you can because you never know how long you'll be out on the next call.
MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
NN: Something I wish I knew in the beginning was about how much strength and influence I had during a scene.
MS: Who/what are your biggest inspirations and why?
NN: My biggest inspirations come from those I work with, my creative friends who never fail to impress me with their beautiful minds, and my natural innate desire to be "good", to be helpful, a source of light for others, etc.
MS: What is your favorite food/drink-related memory?
NN: My favorite food or drink related memory would be anywhere between sitting with my family and enjoying some nice Vietnamese cuisine, particularly pho on a fall or winter evening, or the multitude of times that by biggest creative inspiration (Monique Sourinho) blessed my sister and I with her amazing talent in cooking and artistic expression. She would make these beautiful, healthy dishes that truly were made with love and precision and we would take pictures of her plates to savor the moment before we devoured these tasteful and aesthetically pleasing meals!
MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
NN: My favorite quote that a close friend of mine had learned and passed on would be, "What other people have to say about you is none of your business". This stuck out to me because I think as humans we naturally get caught up in what people might think or say about us but realistically it's none of our business! Even if it is about us. Just as the opinions we have of others is our right and none of their business. It goes both ways.
MS: What is your favorite meal and/or drink to share?
NN: My favorite drink and meal to share is my self made smoothie blends ! I think this constitutes both as a food and drink? I love creating unique, beautiful, healthy smoothies and enjoying them with my friends or family. For some of my friends, it's the healthiest thing they've had all month! They always say it makes them feel rejuvenated, and that makes me so happy!
MS: What is your ideal day in the work-life?
NN: My ideal work day is no calls, maybe one or two interesting psych calls and the rest of the time just
cruising in the ambulance, getting food and coffee, or socializing with my coworkers at the station and talk about things we can't talk about at home or in front of anyone else as most people would not want to be a part of these conversations...
MS: What is your ideal non-work day?
NN: My ideal non-work day consists of an easy, sunny day where I can start off by soaking up some sun outside accompanied by my favorite coffee. Then, if I'm able to see my family and my boyfriend long enough, it makes my heart full for the day and if I'm lucky enough I can even get some errands done and end my day with an hour of yoga and episodes from my favorite shows on the ID channel!
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
NN: Caffeine and medication. That's what keeps me going ! Also healthy food, friends, all the good stuff.
MS: How do you approach a work-life balance?
NN: Approaching a work life balance is a learned skill that certainly takes reflection of your own priorities and time management as well as self discipline. I achieve a work balance by having lots of sleep, eating well, and using my free days to be as productive as possible so that the rest of the week is a breeze.
MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
NN:. Something I wished more people knew about EMS and the healthcare industry would be that we are regular humans who become fatigued and stressed just like you do. Sometimes we see visually shocking scenes and we go home and don't talk about it. We confide in eachother after each call and debrief before going home to our families and many of us are stronger than we get credit for, but still occasionally struggle emotionally.
MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
NN: To me, "supporting local" means being an advocate and supporting any local business, organization or artist. This can range from creative artists and photographers, chefs and restaurant owners, healthcare organizations, food pantries, etc. Supporting local is not only good for your community but it's scientifically proven to be beneficial to our own mental health. By giving away and offering support, practicing altruism, etc. we practice an important region of our brains responsible for trust and closeness to others. I think by supporting local workers and creators, it brings us together in a unique way that allows us to trust and bond with others as well as ourselves.
MS: Do you have advice or encouragement for ways to support locals?
NN: My advice on how people can support their local creatives and organizations would be to put yourself
out there, ask around, look around. Look online and in the local paper about events, opportunities, pantries, whatever it may be. Follow closely on social media your favorite creators and always show them your support by liking and sharing, having meaningful and authentic conversations. I would like to add that it's important to truly feel in your heart that you want to support this local organization and not just blindly support for brownie points. There's a huge difference when it's sincere and everyone can feel it.
MS: If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?
NN: If I could solve any of the world's problems it would be restricting the spread of misinformation, as I think this is the core of many of society's problems today. Nobody knows who to trust anymore, what's fake news and what's not, what websites are just trying to sell you products and mislead you with false health information. We as a society need to be extremely mindful of the dangers of spreading false information to people who can't tell the difference.
MS: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received?
NN: The most valuable advice I have received would be that "you are what you think" and self fulfilling prophecies can be disturbingly accurate. Always think in love and light and manifest GOODNESS.
MS: How do you approach a work-life balance?
NN: I am still mastering how to organize and prioritize my workload by making sure I always make time for my own health above all else and then ensuring that due dates are met, taking baby steps when it;s warranted, and making sure I step back for a short break when I am fatigued.
MS: What is your definition of success?
NN: My definition of success: 1. When a thoughtful purpose is fulfilled in the most ideal way possible. 2. Achieving happiness and health. 3. Being satisfied and proud of one's own accomplishments.
MS: Looking back on life, how have your values shifted or refined?
NN: Throughout my life, my values have significantly shifted, or solidified in a way that I was finally able to identify with the positive character traits that I possess. By practicing actions of "good" through strong values, I have been able to make this a part of my personality, solidifying what I believe to be right and wrong. I started doing this by making it a point to be with my family as much as possible and obtaining as much knowledge about the world as I can because family, friends, education, and health are the most valuable things to me personally.
MS: Say you were invited to a dinner party, what recipe do you bring to the table and why?
NN: If I was invited to a dinner party, I would bring an abundance of different fruits just because I think it's a tasty treat that tends to get overlooked. Maybe some wine too, just to bring everyone together a bit more :)
Thank you for letting me be a part of this Monique, you are such an inspiration to me and I love watching your creative journey.