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  • PANA

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: First-generation American one-of-a-kind achiever

It was Perpetua M. Auguste’s cousin who introduced her to the fact that she can go beyond bedside nursing and specialize. Her choice? Nurse anesthesia.

“I chose to pursue a graduate degree in nurse anesthesia because I believed I could do it,” said Auguste, BSN, RN, CCRN, who is on pace to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in 2025. “Don’t get me wrong: The thought was scary and overwhelming, and I didn’t exactly know how or when. I just knew I wanted it.”

Fast forward to 2020 and she was well positioned and prepared to apply after overcoming some of the challenges of being a first-generation American.

As the first born to two Haitian immigrant parents who don’t have college degrees, Auguste had to navigate all the systems on her own. She didn’t have the blueprint or the resources many of her classmates had as undergraduates, or even some of her former colleagues who moved on to school before her.

But, through determination, persistence, being resourceful and asking plenty of questions, she is now in the final semester of her first year as an SRNA --- and she couldn’t be prouder.

“I can feel the approval of my late grandmother and all of those who fought for Black people to be where I am right now,” Auguste said. “I can sense their pride and I draw from that. Their legacy is helping me create mine. Because they did, I can, and I will.”

Auguste said their part in Black history has created her opportunity and she wants to keep working to make her own contributions.

Now, her future in anesthesia looks bright as she is ready to continue to learn as much as she can while earning her degree.

“I’m excited to see where this journey leads me and to continue to build on this foundation and grow in my practice,” she said.


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