As told to Ben Surby
As a member of Alberta Kidney Care – North, Emmaculate plays an important role in improving the quality of life for patients and families living with kidney disease.
Emmaculate: My role as a dialysis nurse involves taking care of patients who have kidney failure. I provide dialysis treatment, including weight monitoring, where our goal is to help patients reach their ideal dry weight (dry weight is what a patient weighs without any extra fluid in their body). It’s not just the technical aspect; you have to be able to assess, document, and communicate with patients. My position also includes a lot of leadership. The scope of practice is wider here in Rocky Mountain House, and as a charge nurse, you are a go-to person.
Emmaculate: It’s always been my desire to take care of people. Growing up, I had a relative that passed away because of kidney failure, and that really got to me. I really wanted to look for answers and I wanted to know how dialysis worked. It helped get me to this point. I hope I can now help others with the same condition and educate my family in the future if something similar comes up.
My admiration of seeing other nurses take care of patients has always driven me.
Emmaculate: I really enjoy working in a smaller community. I personally find it amazing. You get to know the people, you get to know your patients, and you get to know their needs. When patients walk in the door, and something is different, you can easily pick it up, because you’ve been working with them on a daily basis. The teamwork, the staff, it’s amazing. If you don’t work here, you might not understand, but that’s the truth. There is a lot of laughter and joy in the dialysis unit and this gives me the desire to come to work. It feels like you have a small family here in Rocky Mountain House.
If you have the interest, the desire to learn new things, and expose yourself to new challenges, I think you can excel in a smaller community.
Emmaculate: One of our patients had the opportunity to travel out of the country for a week. When she came back, she was so filled with joy that she had the chance to travel and experience life outside of the dialysis unit. That is something that has really stuck with me. It put a smile on my face. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and desire to continue working as a dialysis nurse. You really do make a difference in lives.
We had another patient who we had been working with for a couple years. He finally received a transplant and prior to that, the excitement of him anticipating the process was just overwhelming. After he received his transplant he came and visited us in the dialysis unit. It was amazing seeing that look on his face. It’s a life-changing situation.
Emmaculate: I love the challenging work and how it gives me the opportunity to excel and apply the skills I’ve obtained. It’s different from any other healthcare specialty in the sense that you deal with dialysis machines. You have to know the machines, know how to troubleshoot them, and this can be quite interesting. My job is not only knowing the technical aspect of the machine, but it also entails a lot of communication and collaboration with physicians, dietitians, nurses and our patients. I love being able to put a smile on patients’ faces when they first come in and when they leave.