A nurse in Diaverum Italy
It's five o’clock in the morning, the alarm rings mercilessly, a quick coffee and off you go.
A sleepy good morning to all colleagues and the sound of the badge marks the beginning of this working day.
I'm wearing the uniform.
The uniform is not a mere garment, it is a sort of "status symbol", it identifies me in my role, that of the nurse. Popular wisdom asserts that "the habit does not make the monk", but I believe that this is not the case, wearing the uniform is not like pressing a button and saying "now I become a nurse", the nurse is always a nurse, both inside that outside and I personally in my uniform feel very good!
When you take turns in a kidney center in the morning, you must first check the water treatment and the osmosis system which is responsible for preparing the water for dialysis. Just like Nicolas Flamel in search of the philosopher's stone that transformed raw material into gold, I, in the same way as an alchemist test tube, make sure that pure water is properly transformed and produced in order to ensure efficient dialysis for our patients.
Everyone mistakenly thinks that dialysis starts and ends in the room between machines and patients, it doesn't, dialysis actually begins with water treatment, the dialysis nurse must therefore make sure that the osmosis system is working properly and must know correctly interpret the values and variations that may interfere in the performance of dialysis therapy.
I then set about preparing the shift: I assemble the machines and carefully prepare the workstation that will have to welcome the patient.
From the first day I started working in the kidney centre, I was pleasantly struck by the dichotomy that exists between work done in the ward, in the hospital and that in a dialysis ward.
In the hospital the patient is identified with a bed number, for example, it is not uncommon to hear in a medical ward, the colleague saying "... I'm going to do the therapy at number 8 ..." "... at 32 ..." etc ... in a dialysis department instead the station or even the machinery, takes the name of the patient to whom it is assigned, and it is not a trivial matter! The patient thus has his own identity and consequently an important role in carrying out the therapy that is delivered to him.
When the patient finally sits in his station, I begin to prepare him to receive the therapy, so I inform the doctor of the health conditions in which he arrived and together we decide what will be the best strategy to ensure that the patient overcomes in the best possible way the time devoted to therapy and return home in optimal health. A dialysis nurse is not a simple performer, on the contrary, he actively intervenes in the care and decision-making process of carrying out dialysis therapy.
Like the dialysis patient, the dialysis nurse is "one of the family". Sometimes I find myself thinking that I spend more time with my patients than with my loved ones.
During the dialysis session which lasts on average for three and a half or four hours, between a therapy, a medication, a blood pressure check and the other, the patient talks about this and that. There are no secrets for anyone, everyone knows everything about everyone just like in a small condominium.
Generally, the TV is focused on a cooking show. Recipes are among the favourite topics of dialysis patients and I believe that this passion for the culinary art is due more than to the skill of the chef, to the dietary limitations to which they are forced and this is how a simple pasta with tomato becomes a delicacy of to talk and make everyone's mouth water.
It sometimes happens that some patients develop dislikes, sympathies and jealousies towards others or towards some nurses, until they quarrel just as they would with a brother or a parent, and then apologize a few minutes later. I really like this family menage that is established within the kidney centre, it makes my work less demanding and more interesting. Sometimes I realize that I am a confidant for the patient, other times, I am seeking advice and I realize that the people in front of me are not just a pathology, but a set of variables that gives uniqueness to each of them. In this way I learn to know and appreciate all their peculiarities, defects or qualities.
It is a privilege for me to have known each of my patients, they made me grow professionally and as a person. I remember them with great affection one by one.
My shift is ending.
Unfortunately, I do not have the satisfaction of my ward colleagues in sending patients recovered from their pathology home, but I am equally gratified and happy to be able to guarantee them a better quality of life, until the next round of dialysis.