Renal Life of a Nephrology Nurse

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I’ve worked in renal dialysis at the Glens Falls Hospital for the past eight years. Working at the renal center is a very different type of nursing. You may say, “What is different about this type of nursing?” Well let me tell you, what is different about this type of nursing is that these patients require dialysis three times a week for the rest of their lives. In this type of nursing, it’s not like the patient who comes into the hospital needing surgery or possibly has an infection or pneumonia. These patients are usually in and out of the hospital in a week or two. Your contact with these patients is brief. In dialysis you take care of patients for years or until they die. It’s a very difficult situation because you get this great experience treating these patients and their families. You also develop very deep relationships with these patients. They become almost like family, professionally speaking. When they die it is very hard. Everyone on the unit is affected, even other patients. This is a very special type of nursing indeed.

I’ve grown in my personal as well as professional role since I started working at the renal center. Last year I became the transplant coordinator for the dialysis center and I must say this has been a very positive opportunity for me. I am now able to focus on what I can do in a positive manner to help my patients. When I say help my patients I mean I have the ability to screen my patients, educate them, as well as provide an option that many have not yet thought about—transplant. I screen all patients keeping in mind that certain criteria must be met to even be considered for transplant and be placed on the list. I work very closely with Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, VT as well Albany Medical Center here in upstate New York. Both of these hospitals have different criteria in order to be placed on the transplant list. Albany Med is a little more restrictive in the physical assessment arena and Fletcher Allen...
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