Clinical Manager Retires After 45 Years
More than 45 years ago, Donna helped to open the third dialysis clinic for National Medical Care, which was the predecessor of Fresenius Medical Care North America. As she prepares to retire this week, the Clinical Manager at the Carrollwood, Fla., dialysis clinic marvels at how far dialysis has come during her career.
In the early 1970s, Donna, then a Registered Nurse, was working at Tampa General Hospital on a floor with renal patients. “I got connected with the physicians there who wanted to open an out- patient renal unit,” she said. “So, another nurse and I went with them.”
“There were six stations and we used the Travenol artificial kidney machine with a coil dialyzer and most of the patients had external shunts,” Donna said. That was before a federal law was enacted mandating Medicare coverage of end stage renal disease for those who could not afford it.
“We only had a few patients, not very many,” she said. “There have been tremendous changes since then. We did everything back in those days. Before we left the building at the end of the day we even mopped the floors.”
Donna said that prior to Medicare coverage, the high cost of treatment not only meant there were fewer patients but it also resulted in the ones they treated were much sicker when they started dialysis because people would delay dialysis.
“Now, this life-saving treatment is not the end of the world for our patients,” Donna said. “Now, everyone who needs it goes on dialysis and early enough so that they are not so sick. They come in for treatment in their own cars and drive themselves home. It’s a big change.”
In her final month on the job, Donna is training her replacement, Marcia. Donna said, “It’s sort of fitting that Marcia is the new Clinical Manager because I hired her as a PCT. Now the circle’s come around and she’s replacing me.”
What about Donna’s plans in retirement? “It’s sort of a dilemma,” she said. “I really enjoy working at this unit and I enjoy working with this staff. Both are very supportive. I’m happy here and they’re happy with me. Maybe that’s why I did not retire earlier.”
“I think my family is looking forward to me cooking for them,” Donna added.
Those anticipating Donna’s undivided attention include her husband, John, who retired for the second time earlier this year, two sons and six grandchildren.
After his first retirement, Donna suggested her husband consider a job at Spectra Labs as a part-time courier. He did that job for six years.
Donna said she’s going to get back to playing golf and travel around a little bit, and maybe take in some of the art in Santa Fe, or go to some more University of Florida football games. “We’re Gators fans,” she said, with a longing for more bowl appearances.
“It’s been a good career,” Donna said. “But I’m looking forward, and this is just another step.”