Trusted hand to holdRuth Shorey is instrumental in the surgical and recovery process of the kidney transplant recipient. (GP)
By Anesta Henry | Wed, May 23, 2012 - 12:03 AM
OVER A SPAN OF months, transplant coordinator Ruth Shorey gets to know her kidney transplant patients intimately.
She becomes their best friend, she gets to know their fears and wipe away their tears. And in many cases, she is the first person they see when they come out of surgery.
Shorey is instrumental in the surgical and recovery process of the transplant recipient and the donor and for the past four years, this has been her life.
“I get to know the recipient, donor and their family members very intimately. I get to see the side of them that people who would have known them throughout their life would not see. They treat me as their confidante.
One of a kind
“Because you know these patients so intimately, if a decision needs to be made and someone needs to ask a question and they cannot answer, you can safely say this is what that person would have liked or this is not what they would have liked,” said this WEDNESDAY WOMAN, who is also a haemodialysis nurse.
Shorey, a mother of two, who is in her late 30s, in many ways can be considered a trailblazer because she is the only nurse of her type in Barbados.
And when speaking about kidney transplants, the Brownie Guider is quick to point out that “it is not just about taking a kidney from one body and putting it into the next”.
“Here in Barbados, we do transplants according to the blood type. I coordinate or arrange the investigations for both the donor and recipient. That is to say, when tests are to be done, instead of our clients going and making the appointments, it is done for them, and as a result, things are done in a timely manner.
“The work-up process can be lengthy if appointments for, say an ultrasound, takes three to six months before it can be done. Delays like this could frustrate the donor with the potential for them to change their mind.
Key word ‘patience’
“Also, coordinating the post-op care is one of my responsibilities. I function as a technical advisor for nursing care and liasing with other members of the health care team involved with the clients’ care, for example, the dietician or pharmacist.”
Shorey, a member of the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA), said the word “patience” while not a medical term, was one which was just as sharp as the scalpel used on the day of surgery.
“People come with their own idea of how they want things done. They come with their own perception of how they think things ought to be done, and their perceptions and your perceptions don’t always gel. They try to challenge you. But, even though you have to explain yourself over and over again, you do it.”
Finally, it’s the day of the surgery, and the former Foundation School student is present to, in essence, keep an eye on the kidney. But after the surgery, and surgeons have assured Shorey that the process was successful, words cannot describe how she feels.
“To know that you would have worked with this person since they were a dialysis patient, you feel a sense of contentment. You feel great. Most times, the recipient is happy, the patient is happy and we move on from there.”
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