I have spent the last 16 years in the Dialysis/Renal medical field. When I graduated from high school I was unsure of which way I wanted to go with my life. I Joined the US Army Reserves. I completed 8 years of service with the army and once I returned home to the civilian world I decided to pursue my career in medicine. I have always been a caring and compassionate person I even volunteered as a red strip volunteer at SST.
Agnes Hospital as a teenager. I believe that nursing and medical staff require a special type of person. One that has an open mind, patience, and a heart that is full of Joy when it comes to helping others. My medical education started at Media School in Dotson, Maryland. I completed the medical assisting program which gives you the basic healthcare setting skills (e phlebotomy, blood pressure readings, injections, and medical terminology etc). After completing the nine month program and citizenship I interviewed for a Job with a Dialysis Facility. At the time I had no idea what kidney eases or dialysis was.
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I interviewed for the position of patient care technician. I was offered a Job with Dialysis Management which offered a full training in dialysis, full benefits, and not to mention it paid very well. During the intense 16 weeks of training there were times I didn’t think that this Job was for me. This Job required you to deal with a lot of blood at all times, different lethal and dangerous chemicals and the patients. My, Oh my the patients some of them so fragile, so ill, and a lot of them Just like me unaware of the illness that is now a part of their life forever.
There was so much to learn and a lot I Just had to learn from experience. As I began to study what kidney disease was and how it affects our population of African American people it was very shocking. Surprised to find out how many young men and women go through life not realizing that they are sick or have genetic commodities. It has been proven that diabetes and high blood pressure are the main causes of renal failure. To my dismay my mother and my sister both suffer from hypertension. These findings were an immediate eye opener for me both rotationally and personally.
I completed one tulle year to training at the Howard County Dialysis facility in Columbia, Maryland. After working comfortably in a stationary setting I decided to explore some other options and accepted a position with Nurses on Call which is a traveling dialysis company. I accepted assignments in over 6 different states lasting anywhere from six to twelve months at a time. Traveling with this company gave me great confidence and experience. The most rewarding experience of all is that my assistance with the patient’s treatment gives hem “Life”.
When someone suffers from renal failure their kidneys begin to lack the normal functions. The kidneys are sophisticated processing machines. Everyday our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 200 quarts of waste products and extra water. The waste and extra water becomes urine which flows through the bladder. When the kidneys begin to fail the body fills with extra water and waste products. A person may begin to feel tired and weak. Parts of the body begin to swell from the extra fluid and waste and the kidneys no longer produce urine.
After about 10 years of traveling I decided to get married and start a family. Traveling was becoming time consuming and required me to be away from home often. I decided to accept a full time position close to home at a local dialysis facility. About 6 months after working locally I received a call from my mother that we had a family emergency. The news very shocking, my grandfather (my mother’s father) whom also suffers from hypertension was diagnosed with stage 4 of end stage renal disease and would be needing dialysis immediately. The family sad and surprised UT I had to reassure them that this wasn’t the end.
There are people that live a good life and with good quality for many years. Although I had been in the field for years the key to understanding the disease was education. So I took on the task of educating the immediate family and my grandfather about the disease. Surely, I would have it no other way then for my pop-pop to be idealized at the same facility where I worked. This experience changed my life forever. I have helped hundreds of people in my career but when it comes to your own flesh and blood. It somehow med more personal more passionate than ever before.
The family now more comfortable, more at ease, having a personal connection when it came down to pop- pop’s care was soothing. At the beginning I wanted to be there for every treatment but I had faith in my dialysis team that he was in good hands even when I couldn’t be there. It’s my loved one sitting in that treatment chair it gave me a heightened expectation of care that would impact my career forever. I believe you have to find your passion in life. Who am I? That is a simple question yet it is one without a simple answer. I am many things and I am one thing.
I am life, I am a living breathing thing, I am a woman, I am a former baby, a future skeleton, a future pile of dust. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, I am trustworthy, loyal, I am concepts, thoughts, and feelings. In the spiritual, I am a child of the most high god. I am a healthcare professional committed to making a difference in lives; I am committed to being a lifetime learner. I believe every person has a calling on their life. Some of us spend a lifetime trying to find out who we are. Society, social Edie, television, videos, have complicated and clouded our vision.
My pop-pop used to tell me as a little girl “whatever you do, do it well, give it all you got and even if you don’t win in your heart you’ll always be a winner”. My pop-pop Mr… Charles B. Holland Sir. He was an awesome man, a deacon, nard worker, provider, a god tearing man. God found it fit to call him home he survived 15 years of dialysis and 89 good years of life. I’m so happy to have been given the opportunity to share and learn from such a powerful person. I believe people come into your life for a reason and a season.
He had so much reason in my life and in his season we shared a relationship that will forever be cherished. My passion for medicine has been greatly enhanced and my commitment now is stronger than ever. In summary who am l? I am Tensile C. Mcleod a healthcare professional with a standard to serve and help people for as long as I can. I am a strong woman with a husband and a family and still finds time to value my education and success all at the same time. I encourage you my classmates and my fellow healthcare professionals to challenge yourself.
Find out who you are and what you stand for, because in reality if we don’t stand for something you’ll end up falling for anything. Confidence, like art never comes from having all the answers: it comes from being open to all questions. I am a person who has overcome obstacles and by character and perseverance has risen to the top. If we all as human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weakness, as unlimited instead of dull and unresponsive then you too could thrive and grow to capabilities beyond measure.