Robin Harris says she can easily recall the moment that changed the course of her life.
A licensed practical nurse at the New Community Extended Care Facility, Harris first started working at the nursing home as a home health aide in 1994.
As a home health aide, Harris managed residents’ laundry, helped with cooking and ran errands to the store. As an LPN, her duties advanced to administration of medication, injections and monitoring vital signs, among other responsibilities.
“I like to help people,” said Harris, a Newark resident.
Years ago, however, Harris learned a hard lesson that she first needed to help herself.
As a young mother on welfare with four children at the time, Harris said she clearly remembers standing outside on a July day, waiting to cash a check. The heat was beating down on her young kids. Harris never forgot how she felt at that moment.
“It was totally embarrassing,” she recalled. “I wanted them to see something positive.”
So she decided in 2002 to enroll in the LPN training course offered at the time through NCC’s Workforce Development Center.
By December of 2004, she had taken the exam and was back at Extended Care in her new role in 2005. Her salary had tripled as an LPN, according to Harris.
“Robin is a conscientious and competent nurse who helps everyone at New Community Extended Care Facility, including her residents, the staff, doctors and visitors,” Robert Smolin, administrator, said.
In early October, Harris’ mother, Cheryl, was admitted to the nursing home to undergo rehabilitation. Harris visits her mother often, to check on any needs. “They have a good rehab,” she said of her decision to bring her mother to NCC for care.
Harris said she enjoys working closely with the residents of Extended Care. “I like to see the patients do well and get better,” she said.
Harris has five children. She enjoys cooking chicken, along with macaroni and cheese, spending time with her grandkids and attends St. John Baptist Church in Newark.