Dialysis centers are staffed by caring people doing all they can to keep treatments, procedures, and equipment running smoothly and safely. Many work directly with patients, while others maintain the devices that make dialysis possible. As a team, they have a tremendous impact on the delivery of care.
Patient care technicians (PCTs) help deliver compassionate care to our patients every time they go to work. They clean their dialysis machines and stations, check their dry weight vitals, and monitor their treatments. They also talk with patients and help them feel more comfortable and confident during therapy.
Biomedical technicians (biomeds) are behind-the-scenes, managing and troubleshooting the center’s many machines and systems. They work on everything from dialysis equipment to water treatment technology, HVAC systems, scales, TVs, and more.
PCTs and biomeds have specific roles and responsibilities that differ greatly, but everything they do has the same ultimate purpose — improving safety and enhancing quality of life for every patient, every day.
Working together is a significant part of kidney care. All positions are important, everyone contributes something different, and each day brings opportunities to learn, collaborate, and grow.
“Teamwork and leadership go hand in hand, and are critical for a successful career in dialysis,” says Shelba Jones, a PCT and Fresenius Kidney Care employee for 37 years. “Early in my career, I realized that I'm not ‘just a PCT,’ I’m a critical part of the care team.”
Jones is also part of our company’s Nephrology Clinical Technician (NCT) Advisory Council, a group with a direct line to Fresenius Kidney Care executive leadership. “We work together to share ideas, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and identify new ways of working, based on our hands-on experiences,” she says. “I've been a member for four years, and it has become my passion.”
Ryan White, a PCT Ill, calls her coworkers at Fresenius Kidney Care her “second family,” and says they were a huge source of encouragement when she decided to go back to school.
“There were so many times I thought I couldn't do it, but the overwhelming support that I received from people I work with made a huge difference,” she says. “With them encouraging me to pursue my goal, I graduated with my associate degree in Science. My experience showed me the importance of a motivating work environment.”
White says she intends to further her education and feels good knowing that she can receive tuition reimbursement from Fresenius Medical Care if needed. Available to both part-time and full-time staff, our Tuition Reimbursement Program encourages PCTs to become registered nurses by offering an increase in compensation for every 25 percent of their nursing degree program they complete.
Working in dialysis care takes dedication, to both the work and the people who benefit from it. Knowing they are making a difference for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major reason PCTs and biomeds do what they do.
“Being a biomedical technician is one of the first lines of defense in helping patients,” says Jennifer M. Will, biomedical technician III. “It’s a nice feeling to go home at the end of every day knowing that I’ve had a hand in saving lives. I truly love what I do.”
Tiffanie Aubuchon, also a biomedical technician III, has the same outlook as her colleague and says she welcomes the opportunity to provide safe, comfortable spaces at her center.
“Being a biomed means making sure our patients have the best treatment they can in a well-maintained environment with minimal interruptions,” says Aubuchon. “It also means making sure all our equipment is maintained to the Fresenius Medical Care standard, and only having equipment in the field that I’d be willing to hook any one of my family members up to.”
PCT Shelba Jones, who recently became certified home dialysis technician, says professional development opportunities offered by Fresenius Medical Care enable her to educate more people with CKD — no matter where or how they receive therapy. “I've learned about all of the dialysis modalities, which allows me to better serve our patients,” she explains. “They benefit from my knowledge and perspective working across all different types of treatments.”
Biomedical Technician Ill Vickie Sams says the variety of work she does is what makes her job rewarding.
“Being a biomed is so much more than what most people think,” says Sams. “Our priority is maintaining dialysis machines and water treatment systems, but we’re also in charge of the patients' environment. We make sure the chairs are comfortable, and the air, heat, and TVs are working, and we like to educate patients about what their machine is doing, when the opportunity arises.”
Helping improve people’s days (and lives) comes with the territory for PCTs and biomeds — and it’s not restricted to relationships between technicians and patients. As committed and compassionate professionals, our staff members go out of their way to create a nurturing environment for one another. This is especially true when new employees join the team.
“It's important to me that new hires feel comfortable and welcome, because I remember what it was like when I first started,” says Jones. “‘No one left behind’ is my motto, so I always try to have a positive attitude and get to know our new employees.”
White recently joined the Positive Ambassador Listener (PAL) Program at her center, which pairs new hires with a friendly, ambitious coworker to guide them through their first year on the job. “PALs are there to be cheerleaders and friends to new hires,” she explains. “On their first day, I hang a big ‘Welcome to Fresenius Kidney Care’ banner with their name on it, signed by every staff member. We also decorate their lockers with balloons and stickers to make their first few weeks extra special.”
For White and others on her team, each day is about improving the lives of those who walk through their center’s doors — both patients and employees. “We’re all here to help our patients and save lives every day,” she says. “So, we need our staff to work together, provide encouragement, and support each other to be the best we can be.”