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May 11, 2016 | News, Staff News, Staff Profiles

Leslie Sommerfield, Renal Health Nurse, St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg MB

Lesley has been a nurse for 32 years, all of which were in renal.

Highlight of the job: “I think empowering people to take on their care and seeing them do well or go on to transplant. Seeing them build confidence.
On being a renal veteran: “Well I have seen a lot of changes. When I started in the Hemodialysis program we only had two shifts of patients each shift comprised of eight to nine patients. The time frame was five hour treatments.

The program expanded and we joined with the PD and conservative program until the numbers increased once again that dictated the two departments –hemo and PD/Renal Health split. After 15 years in hemo, I trialed five machines and saw the changes from mixing our own bicarb to individual cartridges, large component dialysis machines to smaller compact units.
I then moved to PD to teach patients and worked with the conservative program as well. The start of the outreach program was such a success with education to the physicians in the community that we again saw a huge increase to the CKD stage 1-5 numbers. That was the point of Renal Health separating from the PD department. The PD numbers went from 40 to 200 in a span of seven years.

At present I am now working in the Renal Health with the CKD 1-5 patients. I somehow feel I have come full circle in my career in the nephrology area. I bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the patients and team that I work with. We now are back to a unit with PD, hemodialysis satellite units as well as renal health all in one area. I can say without hesitation that I work with a fabulous group of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dietitians, clerks and health care aides that have the patients care at the forefront. We are an awesome team!”
Challenge: “People who don’t want to take care of themselves, especially the younger ones. You see them doing badly and they’re getting worse and worse. You do your best but you can’t force anyone. We work so closely with patients, it’s important for us to remember our boundaries.

And, in general, the limitations in our health care system such as being people up north and having limited access to services. Even within our own system here – having things not being available because the money is not there.”

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