Honoring one of nursing’s best

Marlene Ferguson
Photo by Nelson A. King

Over 300 co-workers, church members and members of the community on Jan. 4 joined prominent Brooklyn registered nurse Marlene Ferguson in celebrating her retirement from Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn at a gala ceremony at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn.

The Trinidadian-born Ferguson last month retired from the hospital, as an assistant director of nursing, after 29 years of service.

“Like you, I am overjoyed to be here celebrating the employment legacy of Mrs. Marlene Ferguson,” Registered Nurse Delois McRae-Stark, Ferguson’s former co-worker and close friend, told the reception.

“After 29 years of exemplary service to Downstate Medical Center, Marlene Ferguson enjoy your retirement,” she added. “You deserve it.”

As a young girl in Trinidad and Tobago, McRae-Stark said Ferguson’s dad “recognized and often commented on the loving, gentle touch of his ‘Florence Nightingale ‘daughter.

“You see, as a diabetic, he was her first patient,” she said.

Ferguson, who migrated to the United States in 1971, obtained an Associate Degree in Nursing from Alvin Community College in Alvin, TX, four years later.

McRae-Stark said she remained in Alvin, working as a staff nurse on a medical/surgical unit at Ben Taub General Hospital, until 1983.

Shortly after relocating to New York, Ferguson started her career at Downstate Hospital on Sept. 15, 1983 as a T&RCN I with the Department of Nursing Services on Nursing Station 62, an adult medical/surgical unit.

A year later, she was promoted to Nurse II and “quickly became the charge nurse on the night shift” in 1986, McRae-Stark said.

She said she, Ferguson and other nurses – including Barton, Parkins, Dyer, Linton, Roach, Coy, Williams, Lashley and Cox – spent about six years on Nursing Stating 62 together.

“I know Marlene joins me in acknowledging these were the times of our life,” McRae-Stark said.

“The night shift developed a family-like bond,” she added. “Everyone worked cohesively, and I can say, speaking as the Head Nurse, under Mrs. Ferguson’s leadership, quality patient care was priority.

“I applaud her dedication and hard work; and so did Anna Boyle, the Director of Nursing,” McRae-Stark continued.

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