Norah Power has worked in various emergency medical services (EMS) roles — from leadership to education — for nearly 30 years. As a critical care paramedic with ATI Ambulance and as the company’s chief diversity officer, Power has also taught at Malcolm X College for the past 12 years, mentoring the new generation of emergency medical responders.
Power is known for her caring, compassionate style, along with her gentle way of reassuring even the most critical patients as she transfers them from inner-city community hospitals to specialty hospitals for more advanced care.
Yet, Covid-19 has changed the way she’s able to interact with patients. Because she’s wearing head-to-toe personal protective gear, her smiles go unseen. Still, she makes sure to tell patients she’s smiling beneath her mask, and she gives them a comforting touch through her gloves. As a supervisor, she makes sure other EMS personnel do the same.
“That patient is alone. There’s no visitors. Everybody’s quarantined. They feel like an outcast, and they shouldn’t. The hospital staff, EMS personnel, and paramedics — we try our best to show the sun, even though it just seems so gloomy inside.”
Power has transported teenagers in critical condition, veterans, and older people who don’t always understand that they have Covid-19. She’s watched the number of critical and complex cases skyrocket because of the pandemic. And for all of them, she provides the level of care she’d give a member of her family.
For Power, it’s a calling. “I don’t consider it a job. It’s what I love to do. Every day is a new experience. Every person is different. We take a lot of elders, and they paved our way. I feel it’s my duty to give back. That’s just how it should be.”