You are simply the best.
The month of March is designated as National Kidney Month. During this time of the year, I normally use my platform to interview dialysis patients, interview nephrologists or write articles to bring awareness about kidney failure. However, this year, I have decided to focus on the nurses working in the dialysis unit at the Turks and Caicos Hospitals. These nurses specialized in this field and are referred to as nephrology or dialysis nurses.
For the past six years and three months, I have been on dialysis, and I have interacted with some amazing people in the medical profession, individuals that sometimes go unnoticed and taken for granted. There is a demand for nephrology nurses throughout the world but unfortunately the demand has exceeded the supply and so there is a shortage of nurses.
Therefore, I am appreciative and grateful for the nurses and doctors that are here and those that I have met over the years namely, Cristal, Sharlene, Simone, Eddie, Yanique, Ferdie, Lawrence, Allan, Santos, Obee, Kaydeen, Mama D, Jeddi, Julie, and Viela. I apologize if I omitted anyone, but it is not intentional.
There is a perception in some corners that some of the nurses do not care and that they are only here for the US dollars. While, everybody is entitled to express their own opinions, I know that based on my personal experience and observations, the nurses really care about us. Not everyone is here just for money. For example, I took an opportunity to go to Canada to work with KPMG and I was making less than what I was making in TCI but I wanted the experience and exposure in another place.
The nurses not only provide us with medical advice, but they encourage us in other areas. They remind us about our diet, they follow up on us and they show concern. They hold and walk with some of those patients that have visual or physical impairment issues.
Several times while I was on dialysis, I had panic attacks. All three nurses on duty came to my rescue and encouraged me to calm down and helped me to overcome the panic attacks.
Another reason why I know they care, as soon as the machine buzzes or a patient calls them, they run to that patient to make sure that that patient is attended to.
They work tirelessly.
The number of persons in dialysis is increasing every month and due to the current capacity of the hospital, there are four shifts for dialysis patients. The first shift starts at 6:00 am but the nurses are there by 5:30 am and if the technician is on vacation, one of them will be there by 4:30 am to ensure that the machines are in order. The last shift starts at 8pm and ends at midnight. However, the nurses do not leave until 2am as they must clean up after the patients have left and then they must clean the machines.
They are specialists.
These nurses are specialists, and they know what they are doing. I remembered an incident happened to me and I had to go to the emergency and so blood had to be extracted from me, however, because both of my arms had fistula or graft in respectively, the nurses at the emergency were unsure where and how to extract blood and they had to call dialysis nurses who came to emergency and took the blood for me.
Some of the issues that we experience, the nurses can identity what they are but of course they wait for the doctor to confirm and advise the issues.
We do not have any local nurses in dialysis. As a result, I appreciate people from other countries. This is why I make it my business to treat people right and stop focusing on where people are from. We must accept the fact that we need people from other countries. Furthermore, with the shortage of nurses, it may be a challenge to replace the nurses when they leave. I am throwing this challenge out to those that do not treat the nurses right, please take the time and reflect on the role the nurses play in your life. Don’t look down on them or talk down to them or treat them as slaves. They are humans and they are unsung heroes.
Of course all nurses are unsung heroes but this article is dedicated to the dialysis nurses. I love the nurses in the dialysis unit, and I want to publicly thank them for their contribution in extending my life and the lives of others.
Happy National Kidney Month. You are simply the best.