Tanisha Leonard, BSN, RN, is as busy as she is ambitious. Not only is she a dialysis nurse for Fresenius Kidney Care at its East Jefferson center in Birmingham, Alabama, she also is working toward her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Chamberlain University and participates in several professional organizations, including as a board member for the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA).
Leonard has been a nurse for eight years. Her sister was a nurse and encouraged her to go into the field. She wanted a work environment where she could build a rapport with the same patients over time, but found that working in a hospital setting, she did not often form lasting bonds with patients. Then, a friend recommended she try dialysis nursing because it would give her the opportunity to spend more time with her patients. Her nursing school had not mentioned dialysis nursing as an option, but she decided to try it.
After starting at Fresenius Kidney Care in 2019, Leonard recalls, “I felt like a new nurse.” She notes that the work isn’t repetitive despite seeing the same patients regularly. “No two days are alike,” she says.
Leonard continues, “I enjoy working with patients and I feel I’m making a difference every day. It gives me a tremendous sense of gratitude and fulfillment. Working with Fresenius Kidney Care has afforded me this amazing opportunity.”
Throughout her time as a nurse, Leonard has joined several professional organizations. When she began nephrology nursing, it was natural for her to join the Hazel Taylor chapter of ANNA. She currently serves as the Emerging Professional Fellow for that group. In addition to ANNA, Leonard is a member of the American Nurses Association, the Alabama State Nurses Association, the National Black Nurses Association, and the Birmingham Black Nurses Association.
“I’ve always believed professional organizations are important to an individual,” she says. “Networking is crucial.”
ANNA has been particularly beneficial for Leonard. “The other members push me out of my comfort zone,” she says. They encourage her to try new things professionally, like joining the ANNA board, which she appreciates. Leonard also enjoys the monthly meetings that include a dinner and often a presentation or guest speaker that provides education on nephrology topics she might not otherwise encounter. She encourages her coworkers to join as well.
As Leonard works to complete her master's program, she can see an enduring future with Fresenius Kidney Care that will continue to advance her career. “Fresenius Kidney Care does an excellent job promoting people and investing in their future,” she says. Leonard enjoys a hands-on role that lets her help other nurses advance too.
“I consider myself a transformational leader,” Leonard says. “If my team grows and does well, then I can do well. I’m only as successful as my team.”