DaVita Nurse with a Purpose Shares Her Story
My name is Ashley Collins and I work for DaVita as an acute dialysis nurse in St. Louis, Missouri. I love working for DaVita because I have a lot of support from my team, there is room for growth and I feel like my voice is truly hear—if there’s something I want to bring to the table, or when I have ideas or suggestions, there are people who will listen and take action.
I have never worked for a company that cares about their teammates as much as DaVita does. During my time with DaVita, I have had the opportunity to attend the first ever regional registered nurse (RN) roundtable meeting, I received the 2018 LeaRN Award and I attended the 50th American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA) convention. I was also asked to present at both the 2018 and 2019 Nurses Leadership Meeting.
I chose to go into dialysis as a new nurse straight out of nursing school in 2017. I became a dialysis nurse because my father was on dialysis, and I helped take care of him toward the end of his life. As a child I helped my dad all the time, giving him his insulin shots to help manage his diabetes. He passed away in 2015, but it’s an experience I’ll never forget because those moments were very precious to me and I loved to help him.
I always knew I wanted to become a nurse at some point in my life, and helping my dad was my drive and my purpose. I carry my dad with me every day—in my heart and through my spirit. For me, being a nurse is really personal because of the experiences I had with my dad on dialysis.
When I am caring for patients, I feel like that could be my mom or dad, or any family member. And I take care of them like I would take care of my family. Sometimes we don’t realize how important our presence is and how much patients and their families depend on us – as care providers, their lives are in our hands.
For nursing students who are graduating soon and entering the field, my advice is to have an open mind, keep going and never give up! Follow your heart and trust your instincts to build the experiences you want to have in caring for patients.
Even if you don’t follow a conventional path, you will still get the right assessment experience. And you will still have the skills, abilities and the chance do a lot of things—trust me!
Always stick up for yourself, be strong and be confident. Everyone can see when you stand up for yourself and when you are confident—it exudes from you. You feel it, everyone feels it.
If you are open to the challenge of becoming a nephrology nurse, the time is now and it is definitely needed. Our patients may be vulnerable and dealing with various health conditions and life changes, so they need to feel the sense that someone is caring for them and that someone is willing to go the extra mile. Working for DaVita is a great opportunity and remember: we are all giving life!