A determined and caring heart

Team Toune: Luigi, Girard, and Michael with their Mom Martine, QCH RN.

Martine Douzable loves people. As a new Registered Nurse (RN) on QCH’s Medicine Inpatient unit (C3), Martine always tries to see the positive in people.

When she moved to New York state from Haiti in 1989, Martine quickly immersed herself in training to become a home healthcare aide — an easy fit for a woman devoted to caring for others. Soon, she began work for a senior lady who welcomed her with open arms. Martine became a cherished member of their family and godmother and maid of honour for the woman’s granddaughter. Ever grateful for her dedication and care to their family, they helped Martine access a local college where she pursued training as a personal support worker (PSW). By that time, she was married with her first child. She remained there for four years.

“Six weeks after my son was born, I started work as a PSW. It was a challenging time as I was still breastfeeding. While working as a PSW, I attended Practical Nurse school. As soon as I received my license as a Practical Nurse, I went back to college to take prerequisites to increase my chances of getting to a Nursing degree program. I would do two double shifts every weekend and go to school at night. I never called in sick and was never late,” Martine recalls.

After Martine obtained her license as a Practical Nurse, she had three job offers. Once again, Martine quickly found herself a treasured employee for a local nursing home, even earning an award for her caring and kindness.

By January 2008, Martine moved to Canada as a single mother with three boys under 11. She proudly states:

“All three of my boys are in college today! We stick together as ‘Team Toune!’”

With no time to waste, she applied to Algonquin College’s Nursing Program and travelled the 120km each way every day from Hawkesbury (East of Ottawa) to the Ottawa campus, never missing a day of school or arriving late.

But fate stepped in on the day Martine was supposed to start her pediatric clinical placement. Due to an elective hysterectomy scheduled for the same day, Martine was set back a year before completing the nursing program. Martine was referred for employment by QCH unit staff, where she was doing her clinical placement for her bachelor’s degree program. On January 7, 2021, Martine started her first day as a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) with QCH, and on July 8, 2021, Martine passed her RN licensure exam (NCLEX).

“QCH was amazing! My manager, Tammy Hirkala, supported me with scheduling so that I could complete my nursing program and write my exam.”

Martine is a very proud Haitian. “In my culture, we believe that if we come to another country, we must contribute to that society and find work or school, or it is rude. Every Haitian who comes to Canada comes to work and thrives on demonstrating who we are as people. We stick together as a community and support each other so that we can all succeed.”

“When a newcomer arrives, we help direct them to the right people to be productive right away! I know doctors who have come from Haiti who worked as PSWs so that they could make their way and gain their diplomas and degrees so they could work back up to their previous level.”