Know Your Heroes: Duong Nguyen

Name: Duong Nguyen

Role: rTMS Technician, UHN’s Centre for Mental Health

Current city: Toronto

Years in health care: 3

My role here at UHN is to provide a safe space for patients while being a part of their journey to mental wellness. My treatment room is a judgment-free zone, where we can share our ups and downs, or we can just sit there in silence. My role is to be someone patients can trust and rely on for the highest standard of care.

COVID-19 has affected me bymaking me realize how much we take our health and life for granted. There were so many things I did on a day-to-day basis without thinking twice. COVID-19 allowed me to reflect on the things that are truly important in my life. I realized how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to help those who needed it the most during this time.

The thing I love the most about my job is having the privilege to connect and learn from my patients. Forming therapeutic and wholesome relationships with my patients is extremely important to me. I’ve learned so much about life through their stories. I often say that I benefit from the sessions more than they do. Their insight, experience and advice helps me be a better person.

What is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)?
rTMS is a Health Canada approved treatment for major depression and other disorders. rTMS works by directly stimulating areas of your brain involved in controlling emotions. These areas are thought to be less active in people with depression. The brain is stimulated by placing a magnetic coil against your scalp in a specific area. The coil directs a series of magnetic pulses through your scalp and skull to the targeted area of the brain. With repeated treatments, the magnetic pulses change the activity of the brain cells (neurons), returning the brain to normal functioning.

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is the UHN community come together during COVID-19. During my redeployment to long-term care facilities, I witnessed colleagues from different departments jump into the role without hesitation. The enthusiasm and willingness to help in a time of crisis made me proud to be a healthcare worker.

I’m inspired by the selflessness I’ve witnessed amongst my colleagues and the community. Everyone has been doing their part as well as going above and beyond for others. We all understand that it takes the collective effort of the city to contain this pandemic.

One of my personal heroes is Kobe Bryant because he gave 100% in everything he did. I try to apply that mentality to at least one thing I do every day.

I’m sometimes worry about how COVID-19 will affect everyone’s mental health. Working in the field has made me aware of how this new “normal” can have lasting effects. We need to have resources for those who are suffering from the lack of socialization, enduring financial hardships and worrying about the health of their loved ones.

I’ve found joy recently from the simple things. Home-cooked dinners, video games, YouTube rabbit holes, Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix and video conferences with friends.

Myfavourite movie is Good Will Hunting because sometimes all you need is a lucky break or an opportunity to shine. You never know where you might end up.

My ideal day off is sleeping in, going for a neighbourhood walk, having dinner with loved ones and friends.

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