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Celebrating a Healthcare Hero: Nurse Highlights Camaraderie While Volunteering to Treat Covid-19 Patients | NEWS-Line for Nurses

Celebrating a Healthcare Hero: Nurse Highlights Camaraderie While Volunteering to Treat Covid-19 Patients


Albuquerque nephrology nurse Sandy Nichols didn’t think twice when she got the call to volunteer in Chicago, a hot zone for COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, to provide extra support for sick patients.

Nichols has always been inspired to help others since starting her nursing career in 2005. She found her calling in nephrology during her third semester of nursing school when she was chosen to go for a week of clinicals in a hemodialysis clinic.

Now, Nichols works in an acute setting at Fresenius Kidney Care in Albuquerque, continuing to care for people living with kidney disease and on dialysis.

In April 2020, Nichols found another calling when Fresenius Kidney Care asked for nurses to volunteer in hospitals due to the rise in acute kidney injury (AKI) caused by COVID-19, which often required treatment with dialysis.

“When I started to hear about all of the different places being hit so hard by COVID-19 and the nursing shortages, I knew I wanted to help in some way,” Nichols said.  “As soon as I saw the call for volunteers, I signed up. I knew that I was drawn into nursing to help people and I couldn't think of a better way to do that than to go and give my fellow nurses support when they so desperately needed it.”

Nichols traveled to Chicago, leaving behind her husband and daughter, unsure of her return date to Albuquerque. Expecting to struggle with staffing and supply shortages, Nichols was most surprised by the camaraderie she felt with fellow nurses as they worked long hours to maintain patient care.

They welcomed her as if she was one of their own, celebrating patients who successfully recovered from being on a ventilator, and comforting each other when others did not face the same fate. “They would announce a ‘Code Joy’ over the intercom and everyone would stop and cheer. I also saw devastating outcomes that broke my heart,” said Nichols. “Going through those experiences, which I will never forget, gave me a whole new perspective and I truly believe it made me a better person and a better nurse.”

Her experience has followed her home, and she feels closer to her fellow nurses in Albuquerque now more than ever. And even after returning from her 25-day deployment in Chicago, Nichols has signed up to volunteer again if help is needed. 

To learn how Fresenius Kidney Care is supporting nurses to help advance the practice of nephrology nursing, click here: https://www.freseniuskidneycare.com/

Source: Fresenius Kidney Care

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