We had the good fortune of connecting with Snow Latoya Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Snow Latoya, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?

My legacy is written every day as I live life to the fullest. My family immigrated from Vietnam to the US in the 1990s before I was born. They worked at different stores and eventually got into working as welders at warehouses. Growing up, my grandmother and parents were my inspiration to continue to move up in society for our family. They motivated me to become who I want to be in life for myself and for my future family. As a first generation American in my family, I was the first to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Biology from Southern Methodist University and earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant from Bethel University. As of today, I am working with an amazing neurosurgeon, Dr. Shaad Bidiwala, at a private clinic called Texas Neurosurgery in Dallas, Texas.

As I was earning my degrees, I worked as a medical assistant at a cardiothoracic surgery clinic and also a caregiver for spinal cord injury patients. Working in these areas of healthcare, I saw how health care providers rehabilitated their patients to better health, through medical advice and a positive mindset. I saw the impact in how we interact with patients to encourage them to take care of themselves, as we are limited to what we can provide in the clinic versus what happens outside of the clinic.  Now as a neurosurgery PA, I feel fulfilled that I get to continue to help others surgically alongside my surgeon. I am grateful to celebrate the milestones with patients now, who overcome their preoperative symptoms and have a better quality of life post operatively.

As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare. From a young age, I would translate for people in the Vietnamese community at their doctor’s appointments because English was their second language. As a translator, I learned that understanding your health conditions is just as hard as conveying it. In noticing this, I wanted to become a healthcare provider that can understand my patients despite the language barriers, by making sure both me and my patients have fully communicated all health concerns and questions. I want people to remember me as “Snow” who made an impact in their life somehow, some way, even if it is just a smile. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I want to first thank the teams I work with at Texas Neurosurgery, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Methodist Hospital in Addison, and Baylor Uptown. The people I work with on a daily basis in clinic and surgery are passionate about helping others and are hardworking. I want to thank everyone I’ve worked with for making our patients feel like family throughout their neurosurgical journey.

I always wanted to work in healthcare. I worked as a medical assistant at Cardiothoracic Surgeons at Medical City Dallas, where I had the pleasure of meeting amazing PA’s who became my inspiration. Among them was Terry Theologes, who stood out as my mentor and role model for me. The skill he displayed in observing his patients’ interactions and his ability to educate patients about their diagnostic images and heart valve functions, is what deeply influenced me. It was through this experience that I envisioned myself as a PA and decided to pursue this career path. I took the initiative and applied to Bethel University in Paris, TN, and fortunately, I was accepted. Throughout my education, I completed my clinical rotations in the DFW metroplex and received an offer to work at Texas Neurosurgery alongside Dr. Shaad Bidiwala. 

As  a physician assistant, I understand that sometimes people may not fully grasp the role of what we do. By definition, a physician assistant (PA) is a medical specialist who evaluates patients, diagnoses illnesses, and creates treatment plans alongside a primary physician. In my role as a neurosurgery PA, I examine the patient in the clinic or at the hospital if we are on-call for an emergency and discuss with my surgeon the treatment plans that best help patient’s feel better and have a better quality of life. In the operating room, I am a part of a team which includes nurses, X Ray technicians, anesthesiologist, scrub techs, intraoperative neurophysiologist, medical reps, patient transporters, and plenty of other people whose roles are important in providing the best care for our patients. During surgery, I help assist my neurosurgeon as I retract instruments for hours, set up screws for hardware implants, close incisions, and do what I can to help reach our number one goal, which is our patient’s wellbeing. After surgery, I see patients post-operatively to ensure patients are doing well throughout their hospital stay and after they are discharged to go home. I am with our patients throughout their journey towards recovery and happy that I can celebrate the milestones our patients reach.

I want the world to know that physician assistants play a very  important role in healthcare and sometimes it may seem like we are working in the background, but we are definitely making an impact in our patients’ lives. 

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

My favorite go to spot with my family, friends, and anyone is the Harbor in Rockwall, Tx.. It’s the place where my husband, Shahroze Youhanna, proposed and where we said “I do.” My husband and I love to eat at Gloria’s Latin Cuisine or if we’re craving a good burger, we head to Rodeo Goat while at the harbor. Afterwards, we enjoy watching the sunset near the lighthouse. There are plenty of activities to do at the harbor. You can take a stroll and also visit the Cinemark theater if you want to watch a movie or enjoy a tasty vegan dessert at Twisty Treats. As you can tell, the harbor is my go-to spot.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

I like to give a shout-out to my grandmother, Chi Thi Nguyen. She has been in heaven since 6/22/2022 . She may not be here physically, but she is in my heart forever. My grandmother is my number one supporter and best friend. She worked multiple jobs so that she could support our family. She would sale fish and vegetables at the Asian Market in Garland, Texas, worked as a welder for 15+years, invested in businesses that needed help, sold makeup products, provided transportation for the Asian community who did not know how to drive, and donated money to feed the village in Vietnam and communities in the DFW metroplex. She would make time to help those in the community who needed help. She loved to help people and was a social butterfly. She was an amazing and beautiful woman inside and out. She is the reason I am who I am today, and always told me to keep striving towards attaining my dreams and goals. She is the main reason my legacy will continue to be written as I live each day to the fullest and help people in need. 

I would also like to give my husband, Shahroze Youhanna, a shout-out.  He has motivated me to accomplish my dreams and encouraged me to grow, learn, and pursue what I want to do in life. My husband is patient, kind, and a God fearing man. He has been a significant reason for the growth of my faith in Christ. I’ve  learned to give thanks to God more often, and I am grateful that He brought my husband into my life. 

Website: http://txminimallyinvasivespine.com/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/snow-nguyen-a72b1198

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.