Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Nursing Career Flourishes

One of the great things about being a nurse in a small town is that you really get a broad range of experience.  In the ICU that I worked we took care of many different kinds of patients and learned many modalities.  I earned my Critical Care Certification (CCRN) and gained vast knowledge and experience during that process.  We took care of open heart, cardiac arterial balloon pump, intracranial monitoring, ventilator, dialysis patients and much more.  When I decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona there was a nursing shortage and it was easy for me to obtain employment before I left Michigan.  I decided to take a position in an outpatient dialysis facility and I also worked in many of the hospital's ICU's part time.  Nursing was much different in Phoenix than where I came from.  Nursing was much more specialized.  After about a year I was offered a position with a group of Nephrologist that I became acquainted with from working in the dialysis facility.  I was to start a home dialysis program teaching patients to do peritoneal dialysis out of one of the physicians offices. I also traveled with the physicians to Native American Reservations where I would teach the patients how to do home peritoneal dialysis.  We would travel in one of the physician's airplanes to different reservations in Parker and Winslow, Arizona.  I would also train patients at the Pima Reservation in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was very busy and very rewarding at the same time. I studied and passed my Certified Nephrology Nursing (CNN) exam and received that certification also which added to my credentialing. The physicians I worked for decided to sell their programs to a larger dialysis company in the area and I became part of the acquisition.  The physicians requested that I assume the role of the entire Home Dialysis Programs of both companies.  I became the Home Dialysis Clinical Manager of a 150 patient Home Dialysis Program with 5 nursing staff members.  A new facility was built with an entire wing for our combined programs.  It was really quite nice and I was very honored to be recommended for such a position.

Home Peritoneal Dialysis
Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter
Night Time Cycler

The above pictures show how patients would do home dialysis either single bags four times a day or a cycler was used so that patients could do their dialysis while they were sleeping.  These patients did much better on home dialysis because this type of dialysis is more normal to their own kidney function.  The patients dialyze continuously 24-7 so they felt much better and could carry on with their lives more normally.  The company that we contracted with that makes the equipment and supplies offered me a position as a clinical consultant for the western United States.  I was so excited!  I could travel and help to educate nurses and physicians about the benefits of  home dialysis for their patients.  I stayed in this position for about two years and it was wonderful.  I really enjoyed helping to grow this modality across the Western US.  Then they offered me a Clinical Managers position where I would manage all the Western Clinical Consultants.  This position put me more in the corporate realm which was ok but I really missed connecting with the nurses and the patients. A couple of years later the sales position opened up in Arizona and after much convincing that I, a Registered Nurse with a two year nursing degree could do the job, I got it.  I had developed very good relationships with the area nephrologist and nurses in Arizona so it was easy for me to slip into the sales position.  I just helped them to understand peritoneal dialysis better and how they can help the patients succeed at home to be healthier and happier. It was a win win for all of us.  Within one year I won the Presidents Club award for top sales and couple years later won the Distinguished Sales Award for three consecutive years of top sales.  I really did not sell anything!  I just helped them to help their patients!  I continued to do well in the sales position but I still missed the patient contact.  I was happy but stressed working in the sales environment with all the pressure to meet the numbers and the quotas.  I decided to seek out alternative help.  I went to an acupuncturist and I loved it.  I felt so much better. She suggested some changes to my lifestyle and it really worked. I said I can do this!  So I enrolled at the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture to work on my next career part time while I still worked my sales job!  It took three and half years to finish my Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine and Herbology.  I passed my boards, so I thought I would just set up my acupuncture practice and I would be golden!  That is not exactly what happened.  KARMA!


  1. 5 letter word, starts with a K, ends with an A... lol.... Debra, I am loving hearing about your journey. Thank you for sharing it with us! I really love, honour and respect you and all you do. xx

  2. Dear Debra, I am so enjoying getting to know you better through your blog and I am appreciating you even more deeply for all that you have done to serve humanity in your life. Yep! 5 letter word: starts with a K and ends with an A! Happens to each of us.How we deal with this unexpected visitor when it appears at our doorstep is the whole name of the game. Looking forward to your next installment! Da Ai! xx