“We want high school and college students to understand the personal risk factors for chronic kidney disease and what they can do to keep themselves healthy. Our objective is to share with them that the dialysis industry provides a variety of lifesaving therapies to people who have kidney failure. If these students desire to work in the medical field, our goal is to let them to know that dialysis centers are an option,” states Jessica Emler, DCI Public Information Coordinator.
DCI clinical staff approaches local high schools and colleges and asks permission to teach for approximately two hours on two separate days. The classes are interactive and utilize videos, PowerPoint presentations, skits, and games to emphasize learning. The first class is an introduction to the risk factors for chronic kidney disease. High blood pressure and diabetes are discussed along with healthy lifestyle choices that may slow or prevent kidney disease. On the second visit, the staff discusses treatment options for kidney failure. They also discuss various roles that staff plays in providing care to the patient.
“The two days of class with the Health Science students at Crest High School in Shelby, North Carolina went great! Students were engaged and asked lots of questions. Many had family with diabetes and high blood pressure and had great interest. I have already been invited back to talk to the Allied Health science students next semester,” says Kay Wright, Nurse Educator at DCI Shelby.
According to JoEllen Ford, Dietitian at DCI Shreveport, “The colleges are excited to have us come in and teach about Chronic Kidney Disease. They appreciate our professional perspective and look to us as the experts when it comes to talking about the kidney.”
Students are offered a chance to write a 500 word essay, “What I Didn’t Know about Kidney Disease” showcasing their newfound knowledge and competing against their classmates for a chance to win a $250 check for educational expenses.
“I think that this program is a good way to get knowledge of kidney disease out to the public. It [CKD] is a relatively unknown problem. We need more awareness. You are blind to it unless someone puts it in front of you,” says Carolyn Bruce, Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician at DCI Albany, NY.
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Founded in 1971, Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI) is the nation’s largest non-profit dialysis provider with over 200 outpatient dialysis clinics in 27 states. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, DCI employs over 5,000 people serving over 13,000 dialysis patients. DCI’s services include in-center hemodialysis, in-center self-care hemodialysis, home hemodialysis, Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD), and Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD). DCI also provides dialysis in hospitals around the US. More information is located at: www.dciinc.org.