At Fresenius Medical Care North America, we aim to go beyond helping people survive chronic kidney disease (CKD) — we want them to thrive. That mission was on full display in several of the notable submissions for the 19th Annual Renal Support Network (RSN) essay contest, where a few of our nurses were recognized for their remarkable patient support.
We are a proud sponsor of RSN and were pleased to see our patients participate in the essay contest. The theme of the 2021 contest was, “Who is Your Healthcare Hero?” Nearly 100 responses came in from across the country with stories about doctors, nurses, technicians, and more who were transformational in the lives of their patients. “It was tough to choose our winners, because in this time of the coronavirus, all healthcare providers are heroes,” says Lori Hartwell, president and founder of RSN.
Still, several essays were particularly meaningful, earning top spots and honorable mentions for demonstrating the daily dedication of renal care workers and the impact they have on the lives of their patients.
For her President’s Pick essay winner, Hartwell selected “Tabitha Taught Me to Live, Not Just Survive” by Georgene Sims, a retired educator living in Indiana. Sims wrote about her hero, Fresenius Kidney Care peritoneal dialysis nurse, Tabitha.
“This tiny, energetic, kind, patient person was going to train me, monitor me, and become my new lifeline,” recalls Sims in her essay. She continues, “as I reflect on this journey, I believe that the most important lesson Tabitha taught me was to live, not just survive. She encouraged me to have fun, lighten up, and expect the best.” Sims took this lesson to heart, and continued to travel, eat out, and prosper.
Sims ends her essay with this touching tribute to Tabitha: “It was during one of the darkest periods of my life that Tabitha brought kindness and light, offering hope. She is always a phone call away and knowing that, I can get through the challenges of end stage renal disease and thrive.”
In another essay, entitled “Nurse Judy,” Megan Delany explains her extraordinary relationship with her healthcare hero, Fresenius Kidney Care employee Judy. Delany was born with cerebral palsy and is a self-professed hug enthusiast. “I love hugging Nurse Judy and getting her hugs back even when we both wear masks,” says Delany, whose entry earned her an honorable mention.
Delany’s poignant tribute describes how Judy goes above and beyond: “I have had a lot of nurses and doctors in my life, but Nurse Judy is the very best of all of them. She is a nurse who loves, she is not just someone who has a nursing job. She hugs, she smiles, she laughs, and she listens with love.” Today, Delany says she loves Judy like family thanks to her tireless support.
These are just two examples of how our care team, and particularly our nurses, do more than care for their patients’ physical well-being. They treat the total patient, allowing those with kidney disease to thrive.