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Our Nephrology Nurses Bring Their Best to Those They Care For

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Every day, thousands of Fresenius Kidney Care nephrology nurses across the US experience the challenges and rewards of caring for people with kidney disease. While managing treatments is a big part of their jobs, they do much more for those in their care. They offer motivation and compassion, education and guidance, listening ears, and words of encouragement. They are part healthcare provider, part cheerleader, part teacher, part friend, and all heart.

“Being a nephrology nurse means I get to do work every day that impacts the lives of our patients,” says Sara Militello, RN, a clinical manager at Fresenius Kidney Care Essex County, in Saugus, Massachusetts. “I get to educate, support, and care for others, and I feel privileged to have that opportunity.”

Showing You They Care

When you’re diagnosed with CKD or end stage renal disease (ESRD), it’s life changing, often devastating news. What you need more than anything is support. In many cases, nephrology nurses are a primary source of reassurance.

“You always put your best self forward in every interaction with our patients,” says Cristina Trevizo, BSN, RN, CNN, and kidney care advocate. “Their lives are difficult, and dialysis is not easy. Every moment they spend around us and at our centers should be as positive as possible. Show patience, show empathy, and always show you care.”

Empowering You through Education

One way nephrology nurses bring encouragement is by providing information and instruction. Learning about managing your care, your treatment options, and the benefits of dialysis can make a big difference in your mindset—something our nurses see firsthand.

“Being a home nephrology nurse allows me to empower patients to take charge of their own health,” explains Amanda Northrop, RN, a home therapies coordinator. “It means training and managing patients to perform their treatments at home and helping them to live their lives as they choose.”

As Trevizo notes, nurses aren’t the only ones providing wisdom and inspiration. “In my 20 years of nephrology nursing, I have been gifted so much knowledge from the people I have worked with and from our patients,” she says.

Celebrating Success

As you gain understanding and confidence about your ESRD treatments, you may go from feeling overwhelmed, to feeling more at ease, to thriving on dialysis. According to our nurses, seeing these types of individual victories is one of the most rewarding parts of working in nephrology.

“It’s great to see their laboratory levels improving on paper, but most importantly, you can see those changes reflected in their bodies—they have more energy and are more active,” says Francisco Ramirez, RN, clinical manager for Fresenius Kidney Care Greenway, in Waco, Texas.

Clinical Quality Manager Jermaine W. Gordon, RN, recalls how good it felt to witness one man’s transformative dialysis experience and the interaction that followed. “I was providing care to a dialysis patient for a year and his laboratory results were improving,” Gordon remembers. “One day, he shook my hand and—genuinely, with his whole body—said, ‘Thank you, Jermaine.’ This gesture reminds me to be hopeful and treat others how I would like to be treated.”

Forming Bonds

Like Gordon, many nephrology nurses spend months or years providing care for the same individuals. Due to these frequent interactions, your connection with your nephrology nurse may feel more meaningful than relationships between patients and nurses in other settings.

“The fact that we see our patients multiple times every week allows us to develop relationships and truly be partners with them in managing their care and helping them maintain the best possible quality of life,” says Militello.

Ramirez says there are times when those he cares for start to feel like family, and—as with actual family members—he treats them all with compassion. “You learn to love even the most difficult people—those who are harder to love need it the most,” he reflects. “When I am at work, I forget about everything else and focus on caring for my patients. I make sure they know I am here for them, and they can count on me for their needs.

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