Marjorie Augustin-Rene knew from a young age that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse.
Growing up in her native Haiti, Augustin-Rene recalls accompanying her mother, who served as a community nurse, to visit patients. She was fascinated by everything she witnessed.
“She would treat wounds, give injections, deliver babies, and I would watch her,” Augustin-Rene said. “She would talk to me about it, and say: Even if they’re hurt now, whatever you’re doing is to make them better, so they’re only hurt a little while.’”
“So that’s my goal; I’ll do anything in my power to make you feel better,” Augustin-Rene continued. “I’m passionate about nursing. It’s everything to me.”
Augustin-Rene is one of seven children. The family came to the U.S. and settled in Queens – where she still lives – when she was 16 years old. Her mother, who didn’t speak English, was unable to continue working as a nurse and took whatever jobs she could to support the family. But Augustin-Rene never lost sight of her dream.
She took classes at Adelphi College and later received her nursing degree from Hunter College. She has been a practicing nurse for the past 25 years and loves the field so much that she has not one job, but two.
Augustin-Rene has been with Americare full-time for more than 15 years, while also picking up shifts in the ER at Queens Hospital, where she has worked for the past two decades.
“I like trauma; I like the craziness and the unpredictability,” Augustin-Rene said. “You never know what’s coming to you, and I like that. The unknown appeals to me. You don’t know what to expect and you have to perform.”
Usually, homecare is more predictable, Augustin-Rene said. However her current position with Americare – serving as a registered nurse at an assisted living facility – presents different challenges. Augustin-Rene works with psychiatric patients, many of whom require considerable convincing to take their medications.
“It can be very tiring,” Augustin-Rene admitted. “But you have no bad feelings about it because you know it’s their mental conditions that cause them to be like that. You’re supportive, you’re understanding, you calmly speak to them, and you encourage them.”
Augustin-Rene said she is incredibly grateful to Americare, which “feels like home” to her. The company took her in when she had no experience in homecare, she explained, mentored her, and gave her support whenever she needed it.
“I’m obliged to do for them because they helped me when I didn’t know anything,” Augustin-Rene said. “I feel very connected to them.”
When she isn’t working at one of her nursing jobs, Augustin-Rene is still thinking about her passion. She reads nursing books and takes classes online to ensure she is up to date on all the latest techniques. She also spends time working with her 19-year-old son, who is on the Autism spectrum.
Augustin-Rene cannot foresee a time when she would not be working in the nursing field but said what she would like to do is teach. She hopes to one day go back to school so she can secure a degree that enables her, as she put it, “to give (young people) my passion.”
“It’s not for the money, it’s for the love of it,” she said. “I want good nurses. At one point, we’re all going to need a nurse or a doctor. And when that time comes, if you teach them right, there will be people around to take care of you.”