TOMODACHI Feature from USJC AC 2023: You Sato Speech
I always wanted to be someone who can take care of others, but there were lessons I needed to learn in order to reach my full potential.
Hello, My name is You Sato. I am an alumna of the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training program. I chose a career in nursing and joined the TOMODACHI program in 2022. Before the program, I always thought that I needed to stay passionate, knowledgeable, and be ON 100% to achieve my dream. However, TOMODACHI has taught me that in order to be able to take care of others, I needed to make sure I had two things: 1) to care for ourselves before we are able to help others, and 2) that the people-to-people connections create further opportunities for me to pay it forward to expand my reach to help more people.
During the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing program, I had a chance to interact with a member of the DMAT team (which stands for Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT)). During the triage workshop which was part of the program, the instructor told me that the most important thing in an emergency is your own safety. This was fundamental, yet was something that people tend to forget the most. I can relate to that as well. This advice helped me when I had a life-altering experience in late April this year.
I was driving along a local road in Virginia. As I was approaching a curve, I heard “ a boom”. I made my way around the bend and I saw that a car into had crashed into another car. One of the cars had its front fender crushed in. I saw white smoke coming out of both cars, the airbags were all inflated, and I smelled oil. No one was coming out of either car. My mind went blank . It didn’t feel real.
The next moment, I felt my gut wanting to respond urging me to run to the scene to see if I could help. But I stopped myself. That’s the moment I remembered the words from the DMAT instructor.
Step 1: Evaluate the scene and make sure it is safe.
Step 2: Evaluate yourself and make sure you are calm.
Step 3: Put on proper gear to protect myself.
As a result, I was able to triage the injured drivers and asked others to help with calling 911.
That night, I shared the story with the instructor of the DMAT team I met through the TOMODACHI program and explained to him that his lessons inspired me and helped me attend to the scene. To that he replied, “I was impressed by how calm you were during the training, so I can imagine that you did a great job triaging at the scene. Your story inspired me.” That’s the moment I felt it was real – and that the lessons and connections I made helped me save someone’s life. This experience cemented my goals that the emergency management field is where I want to be.
The connection I made with this instructor not only helped me to understand how to care for myself first in order to better help others, but he also became a mentor that expanded my network. He later introduced me to his network that helped me obtain more knowledge and ideas about the emergency field, and eventually led me to move to the United States by myself a couple of months ago. It was a big decision for me because I did not have anyone to rely on here in the States. But, the people I met through TOMODACHI helped me to challenge myself through unique experiences and solid connections to pursue my passion for helping others.
The TOMODACHI program inspired me in two ways: 1) taught me the importance of caring for myself to care for others, and 2) taught me the value of people-to-people connections to help me challenge myself and helped me grow.
As I continue to work in the emergency department at a hospital here in Virginia, I will take these valuable lessons I learned, along with many more, and promise to continue to pay it forward to help others. I am grateful for the connections that I have made in TOMODACHI. This program has helped and has led me to where I am today.