The importance of teamwork in hemodialysis – World Kidney Day with Kasey Skinner

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Kasey, in scrubs, smiles at the camera. text below reads "The importance of teamwork in hemodialysis - world kidney day with Kasey Skinner".

Originally from Kenora Ontario, Kasey Skinner worked in health care long before she became a nurse, first as a housekeeper in a personal care home, and then as a personal support worker.

“It’s nice to have the experience of those roles in my career,” said Skinner, now a licensed practical nurse working in the Manitoba Renal Program at HSC Winnipeg. “I feel like my ability to work really well within a team is largely because I have worked in a variety of roles within a healthcare environment.”

Teamwork is an everyday requirement in Kasey’s current role, as she and other members of the Renal Health team at HSC Winnipeg provide a wide variety of kidney focused health-care services, ranging from education to acute clinical care and chronic wellness management.

Kasey pushes buttons on a hemodialysis machine.
Kasey Skinner is licensed practical nurse working in the Manitoba Renal Program at HSC Winnipeg.

“The patients we see are only with us for four hours at a time but often present with various new concerns that are both complex and require immediate intervention,” said Skinner. “It’s challenging to address and resolve these issues within such a short time-frame, but it’s really gratifying to see all members of our team (doctors, nursing, pharmacists, OT, PT, social work, dietitians, unit assistants, and more) pull together to find solutions and options for our clients.”

Skinner worked in medical/surgical units for just over two years before deciding to complete the nephrology nursing course and become part of the HSC Winnipeg renal team. Initially, she was surprised at the different levels of acuity seen in what is typically considered an outpatient clinic, but quickly recognized the opportunities to learn and grow in her nursing career.

“Working in hemodialysis really improves your skills: from assessment to critical thinking and response time, to managing many aspects of acuity and chronic health conditions with multiple patients at the same time. Learning how to problem solve independently and as a member of a bigger team is a skill that is definitely built here and is transferable to any health setting,” she added. “I really enjoy the fast pace of dialysis. We are challenged by a multitude of health concerns and acuity levels in a way that is pretty unique. And with no nightshifts and Sundays off, there’s a definite upside to working in an outpatient clinic.”

Nursing skills aren’t the only things Kasey has developed during her time working in the Manitoba Renal Program, she has built plenty of relationships too, with colleagues and with patients. 

“Our staff are really close here and offer each other a lot of support. We are only able to do what we do because we work together as a team,” said Skinner. “Together we not only ensure our clients receive their dialysis treatments, we also get to see many of them benefit from regular access to our full healthcare team, especially our colleagues from allied health.”

“Getting to know our clients – and seeing them regularly – we are able to address concerns that might otherwise go unmanaged. It’s really valuable to be a part of that.”

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