A Conversation with Marcelina Stewart, Nurse Manager, Auburndale Dialysis Center
At Rogosin, we have an incredible team working for our patients at multiple locations throughout New York City. We want to share some of their stories, and are pleased to introduce Marcelina Stewart, MSN, RN, Nurse Manager at the Auburndale Dialysis Center in Queens.
Marcelina began her career at Rogosin in 1993 as a Unit Clerk at the Queens Dialysis Center in Woodside. While in that role, she received training to become a Dialysis Technician and returned to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). In 2007, she became a Registered Nurse (RN), then an Assistant Nurse Manager, and in 2020 a Nurse Manager, overseeing many aspects of clinical dialysis at the Auburndale Center. We asked Marcelina about her journey to become a nurse and her career at Rogsoin.
Why did you become a nurse?
I grew up in Panama and I always knew I wanted to help people. When I was younger, I wanted to become an OB/GYN. My parents didn’t have the resources to help me get the education I needed to be a doctor. In 1993, when I was 19, I came to this country and needed a job. I interviewed for a Unit Clerk position at Rogosin Queens and got it. I really liked working there and I decided to become a nurse, which was close enough to my dream.
Working at Rogosin, I was able to go to school while working. They were very supportive and gave me the flexibility to successfully do both.
What do you like best about your work?
We get to spend a lot of time with our patients, which is different from many other health care settings. We get to know each other and form relationships. For many of our patients, having kidney disease is the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Besides providing care, we can hold their hands, listen to how they feel, and offer
a little peace and comfort.
I love to get up every day and go to work because we have an amazing team. We have unity, communication, a shared sense of responsibility, and mutual respect. The team gives me the drive to want to be there and continue the work I have chosen to do.
What was it like working during the height of COVID-19?
COVID-19 brought the staff and patients together. We all knew that we were losing patients and staff in the Rogosin community to this disease. It was scary and frustrating, but we went through it together. The staff were focused on what we could do to help our patients and each other. I tried to remember that although this was a moment of crisis, it would pass and be followed by a moment of ease.
In the 28 years you have been with Rogosin, how has it changed?
Dialysis has improved so much since 1993, as has the quality of care. In Queens, we have always served a diverse population, but over time our staff has become much more diverse as well.
What advice would you share with those just starting as nurses?
I strongly believe that we are human beings first and could all be brothers and sisters. I think if you treat people with kindness, it brings out the best in them. I know that focus, determination, resilience, and drive can change the world.