Home > NewsStaff NewsStaff Profiles > A Nursing Journey – From Health-care Aide to RN & Dialysis Nursing on the Front Lines of a Pandemic

May 2021 | News, Staff News, Staff Profiles

Ruben Medrano has been working in health care in Winnipeg his whole adult life. The 51-year-old started his career early, working as a health-care aide while finishing high school.

“I come from a family of health-care providers. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews that are in the health-care field.”

Ruben continued working as a health-care aide while going to school to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). After becoming an LPN, Ruben worked for 10 years in nursing homes and at Deer Lodge Centre before going back to school to complete a registered nurse (RN) program at Red River College.

“They were offering the accelerated program at the time,” he says. He took advantage of a government initiative that offered incentives to transition from an LPN to a RN. After becoming an RN, he worked at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg in medicine and surgery before taking on a hemodialysis nursing position. He admits the schedule for dialysis nursing shifts were a major draw.

“The hours were pretty good. You had Sundays off. You didn’t have to work nights.”

Ruben has now been working in dialysis for 15 years. He says the relationships you get to build with patients make the work very rewarding.

“One of the most rewarding things is dealing with different patients –  you have such a variety of stories,” he explains. He says you get to know the patients well and they are very appreciative. He is invested in providing his patients the best care possible to help them get the best health outcome, while living with kidney failure.

Ruben Medrano, RN, stands in the halls of the Sherbrook Dialysis Unit at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg.

He knows patients can get frustrated with their situation at times, and he tries hard to work with those patients and find a solution for them.

“You try to work with them and understand what they are going through,” he says. He says he tries to involve the patient in their care planning, so the patient knows they have a direct impact on the care they receive.


When news started to break about a COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ruben says he felt the same as many others.

“At that time, I think everybody was a little bit scared,” he says. “You are a front-liner – you have to provide care to patients who have had contact with COVID or who are COVID positive.”

He says, like many, he had never dealt with a situation quite like this.

“It was pretty new for everyone – we have to be careful.” He followed all the processes and protocols, ensuring he was wearing the correct personal protective equipment and carefully completing hand hygiene.

Soon there were dialysis patients on his unit who were suspected of having COVID or eventually confirmed as positive cases. Ruben provided dialysis care for patients with COVID-19.

While he was a bit more anxious and scared, having to manage COVID-19 positive patients during his shifts, he kept his focus on following protocols and staying safe.

Ruben says nursing is a great option and encourages others to look at nursing as a career.

“Nursing at times, it’s scary to be in. It’s a great profession. There’s lots of areas to get into. There’s lots of jobs anywhere,” he says. “It’s very challenging at times, but also satisfying and gratifying. Knowing that you’ve made some difference to people’s lives and improved their health and extended their lives, it’s a great feeling.”

May 10 – 16 is National Nursing Week. Nurses are an integral part of renal/dialysis care in Manitoba. Thank you, nurses, for your dedication to kidney patients and for being a critical component of the renal program.

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