Stories That Have Impacted My Life
I would love to share two stories with you that have impacted my life as a nephrology nurse. The first story is called…
The Light Bulb Turned On
For many years, I walked in my mom’s shadow. I looked like her, talked like her, became a nurse like her, gained a sense of compassion like her, and, finally, became a leader like her. Right out of nursing school, I worked as a cardiac nurse for two years. During those years, I gained a basic nursing skill set, critical thinking and emotional maturity. One day, I observed a nurse performing dialysis on a patient. The job seemed manageable, so when a position opened up in dialysis several months later, I applied. Fast forward, I became an acute dialysis nurse. I never expected the bonds I would form with my patients. One patient in particular was frequently admitted to our unit due to vascular access issues. I had gotten to know “Barb” over the years, and we would often talk about her children and grandchildren. I will never forget the day the nephrologist walked in the room, pulled the curtain and told Barb she was going to need peritoneal dialysis, as she had no other vascular access options. She spoke of giving up. I reminded her of how her children and grandbabies loved and needed her. We held hands and cried together. The next day, the nephrologist said to me, “I don’t know what you said to Barb, but she has completely turned around and is scheduled for a PD catheter placement tomorrow.” On this day, the light bulb turned on for me, and I knew at that point that I really could help make a difference in the lives of patients as a dialysis nurse. Nephrology nursing was, is, and always will be my calling.
From Hemodialysis to a New Beginning
Night shift calls can be a great challenge for many of our nurses in acutes. It’s hard to see the positive when you are called at 3 a.m. and told you have to come in to work. The hospital that I work in for DaVita Hospital Services (acutes) does not only have a large hemodialysis program, but is also a large kidney transplant center. One night, I received my 3 a.m. call and reported to work. On this particular night, when I arrived I saw a crowd of people in the waiting room. I could tell they were excited about something. I went to my patient’s room down the hall, assessed him and initiated his treatment. I knew this patient and I was aware of his circumstances. He was a hard-working husband and father who had been on dialysis for a couple of years and was on the kidney transplant list. He recently had become unemployed and was on disability. This particular night, however, was a new beginning. You see, right before I received my 3 a.m. phone call, he had received one too. The voice on the other end of his line, however, told him that a kidney was waiting for him and he was to get to the hospital ASAP. This was the first time, of what would be many times, that I had been called in to prepare a patient for what would be a new beginning—a kidney transplant!