Kelowna General Hospital
Over 25 years
I first worked on a medical floor for several years at the Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton. This hospital closed and I transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, also in Edmonton. It was there that my renal experience began. The floor I worked on was a peritoneal dialysis/gastrointestinal floor. If you are thinking that this is an odd combination, I would agree with you. After a year and a half, my husband Pat got transferred to Kelowna. Moving to Kelowna was a no brainer. Kelowna was a beautiful growing city.
Starting off as casual at the Kelowna General Hospital, I worked on various units, but once the word got out that I had some renal experience the renal unit booked me in for shifts. This led me to getting trained for Hemodialysis. I continued to work casual for several years until opportunity knocked and the Home Hemodialysis Educator position came up. Taking this position I developed a passion for it, and have no regrets.
I'm a registered nurse and graduated from the University of Alberta's University Hospital Nursing Program.
Growing into this position your connection with the patients grows and some become like family. You cannot help but develop an attachment with the patients. The compassion I have learned along the way I’m grateful for. I have a better understanding that these patients are not only affected physically but also mentally. For me, I would like to think that I am a better person because of the home hemodialysis patients.
My goal for each and every one of the people on home hemodialysis treatment who I work with is to somehow give back some “normal” in their lives. For them to do their treatments at home, they are in the comforts of their home and on their clock. I want them all to be successful. This may mean holding their hand along the way. Without this, my belief is they may fail, they may lose the confidence and not want to continue doing the treatments at home. The mistakes or challenges they face at home can be very stressful, but if the issue(s) can be resolved at home with the aid of me or tech support, this is a benefit for the patient. They learn and it builds up their confidence. These are exciting moments, when they understand what went wrong. If the challenges get too big, and things go sideways, I've found that giving them an ear and an understanding is important. You may not be able to fix everything, but they know you are there for them.
Every patient brings me a new experience. I never stop learning, because each patient teaches me something that I carry with me for the future training. The patients that do home hemodialysis are AMAZING! Doing their treatments at home is a huge take-on for them and should not be taken lightly. The commitment and the responsibility on the patients' part is so important for it to work out. The learning is overwhelming and can be scary for many...Would not trade any of my experiences for anything.
When I can step away from this big part of my life, I spend my time with my husband Pat, family and friends. Pat has been a huge support to me. We have shared a 32 year journey full of adventure. We both love to stay active with various sports, camping, travel, gardening. Not enough hours in a day.