Life-saving dialysis at 19 leads to career in nursing
When Fallon Bell was 19, she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, the same disease that her mother and aunt lived with. Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is when a person’s kidneys no longer provide the function of filtering toxins from the blood. Shortly after her diagnosis, Bell began dialysis, which performed the function of her kidneys. Dialysis is a necessary, life-saving treatment when the kidneys are no longer able to function, but can be demanding because patients usually require treatment three times a week, four hours at a time.
Bell continued to dialyze while working full-time and finishing her bachelor’s degree in business. She continued her treatment for six years until her name was chosen from the kidney transplant list. Bell received her first kidney transplant, but felt there was still something missing in her life. Her experiences with dialysis ignited a passion. Bell wanted to be a nurse, so she went back to school and worked toward becoming a registered nurse.
Nursing school was like nothing Bell had experienced. She spent countless hours in the library and long hours in hospitals training. Bell was so close to her nursing degree, she could taste it. However, two months before she was set to graduate, her body rejected her kidney transplant and Bell was forced to go back on dialysis treatment and on the kidney transplant list. Even though Bell had to begin dialysis again, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Bell didn’t let the hours of treatment stop her plan. She worked tirelessly during her 12-hour night shifts in the hospital and then immediately followed it with her own dialysis treatment. Bell dialyzed at a DaVita® dialysis center, which was flexible with her busy nursing schedule. She became enthralled with the team and began to ask them questions about dialysis. One afternoon, Bell received a phone call; she matched with a kidney donor. She received her transplant and was able to stop dialysis.
As Bell continued her work as a nurse, she realized the passion she had to be part of the DaVita community. Being a patient on and off, she understood the triumphs and tribulations of requiring dialysis treatment multiple times a week. She acknowledges that providing high-quality care for her patients has always been her vocation and she continues to work for DaVita Kidney Care in Chicago as a peritoneal dialysis nurse. She gets the chance to give back to patients, just as her teammates were able to do for her years before.
To learn more, visit Careers.DaVita.com\Nursing.