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‘We aim to improve lives’: Justin Martin, RN, reflects on his work as a dialysis nurse

At the Northwest Kidney Council, we advocate year-round for the nurses that make dialysis facilities run efficiently and effectively. While there are many members of a kidney patient’s care team, nurses are key to ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need. By sharing their stories, we can amplify their experiences and shine a light on the reality that thousands of dialysis nurses face each day.

Northwest Kidney Council: How did you get into nursing?

Justin Martin: For eight years, I served the southeast Wisconsin dialysis community as a direct patient care technician. But I knew I could better serve my patients by furthering my knowledge in healthcare. I was encouraged by my leadership team to take the challenge head on and strive to make a difference.

I earned my degree and am now a floating registered nurse serving communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

NWKC: What is your favorite part about being a nurse?

Justin Martin (dressed in all black) with his colleagues at the dialysis facility

Justin: The most rewarding part of nursing is the positive change in a patient's health that is seen over time with the superior level of care we provide. Dialysis is difficult, but through our core values we aim to improve lives for the better every day.

NWKC: Could you walk me through a regular day at your job?

Justin: Upon arriving at the specific clinic for the day (being a local Regional Float Registered Nurse), first thing I do is verify our reverse osmosis water system is performing to the national standard through various tests to ensure quality AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) water standards. Secondly, I verify all necessary equipment is calibrated and performing in the intended way to ensure our patients' safety. Lasty, as patients enter the facility, the RNs screen each patient individually and greet every patient with care, compassion, and respect.

After careful verification of dialysis orders from the nephrologist, treatments are initiated. Patients are then assessed (including medication administration), monitored through observation and physical verification of the closed-circuit system. Once all treatments have been initiated, the RN will continually do walk arounds to check on patients and answer questions the patients and/or staff have. The RN will also educate our patients and staff to allow for better healthcare deliverance. Prior to discontinuation of treatment, the RN is responsible of verifying patients are stable before discharging them from the facility.

NWKC: What is one thing that you wish more people knew about being a nurse?

Justin: Nurses matter! Whether you're nursing in the dialysis setting or in an emergency room, all nurses have an obligation to put patients first and be a patient care advocate. We work alongside the full interdisciplinary team (i.e. MD, SW, RD, Biomedical) with the main focus of getting our patients healthier and happier.


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