Image

7:57 PM / Friday May 29, 2020

22 May 2020

Be the change: Registered nurse rejoins frontline caregivers in the fight against COVID-19

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
May 22, 2020 Category: Health Posted by:

BPT

Image

It’s early afternoon on a Thursday when Donna Portscher walks through the doors at a DaVita dialysis center in north Georgia. It is a familiar setting — the faces, the clean smell of a medical center and the sound of dialysis machines in the background. She pays visits to dialysis centers like this one countless times a year as an employee of DaVita, one of the largest providers of kidney care in the U.S. But this time is different. She’ll be treating her first patient in more than eight years — he’s recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“I wasn’t nervous because this patient was COVID-19 positive,” says Portscher. “I was nervous because for the first time in many years I was working shoulder to shoulder with one of our nursing teams to deliver life-sustaining care that would keep him as strong as possible to fight the virus.”

Before joining DaVita as a clinical services manager where Portscher enjoyed facilitating new hire trainings, she worked as a registered nurse. Even as she made the change to supporting clinical teammates from a business office instead of a dialysis center, her passion for direct patient care never left. When the first dialysis patient in her area was hospitalized due to COVID-19, Donna heard the call for volunteers willing to provide care to patients with COVID, returning to the outpatient setting. “I said yes because I knew I could help,” she shared.

Dialysis nurses must receive special training and education to care for the complex needs of patients with kidney disease. Portscher spent the week following the initial call attending training sessions, completing the required courses, and demonstrating the skills necessary to rejoin her clinical teammates. Finally, the day came that the patient was healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital and return to an outpatient treatment center.

“Once I met the patient I would be treating, I was overwhelmed with hope,” she says. “He looked strong and I knew this was the start of his recovery.”

COVID-19 poses a hazard to the health of over 37 million patients with kidney disease in the U.S. They are more often immunocompromised compared to the general population. In general, they are some of the sickest and most medically complex patients in the health care system.

Maintaining the ability to treat kidney disease patients in an outpatient setting is a twofold benefit: It helps limit their exposure to the virus and it limits the potential hazard of over-burdening hospitals that have recently seen an influx of COVID-19 patients. For kidney disease patients recovering from COVID-19, regular dialysis treatments help support overall health and reduce the risk that they will be rehospitalized for kidney-related complications.

“I know that the work I’m doing now is helping my community,” says Portscher. “Without us, our hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients.”

Donna will continue caring for patients over the coming weeks until the number of COVID-19 positive patients levels off. Since the onset of the virus, over a thousand clinicians have rejoined the heroic care teams at DaVita centers nationwide.

“I felt a tremendous sense of duty to return to patient care during this crisis,” she says. “At DaVita we have a saying, we ‘Give Life.’ That strikes me now more than ever.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Health

Risks complicate reopenings as WHO warns 1st wave not over

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: In this image provided by the New York Stock Exchange, New...

Diaspora

In a recent inter-continental video conference, Ghanaian and U.S. leaders are named to the board of The Collaboration for IT and Communications Excellence

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email A group of business, professional, academic, civic and public-sector leaders from Northern and...

Go With The-Flo

Meghan The Stallion has partnered with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line for its summer campaign

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Meghan The Stallion (Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock) By Florence Anthony...

Week In Review

11-year-old girl says racism behind white woman’s assault

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: This photo provided by Attorney Justin T. Bamberg shows Skhylur Davis....

Sun Report

The Very First Memorial Day

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email The tradition of Memorial Day began on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South...

Sports

Malcolm Jenkins to deliver commencement address for School District of Philadelphia’s virtual graduation ceremony

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email The two-time Super Bowl champion will share words of wisdom during special event...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff