As a kid growing up in South Los Angeles, I saw many injustices going on in my community. To address them, I became a police officer and served for seven years. While on a visit to the L.A. County Hospital, I got into a conversation with a nurse about the sense of duty she felt caring for her patients. Her passion spoke to my values, which are to serve and protect my community, and inspired me to become a registered nurse.
I’ve now worked in the dialysis industry for more than 15 years and I continue to carry the same sense of duty for all my patients. But in recent years, doing what’s right for our patients has become an uphill battle: there are days we dialyze up to 12 patients at once and when I’ve tried to share my concerns about patient to staff ratios with management, I’m quickly reminded that caregivers don’t have a say when it comes to their bottom line.
The standoff on the dialysis floor that morning was all too similar to the previous times I tried to voice my concerns. But this time, I refused to allow the procedure. I couldn’t dialyze her father knowing his life was at risk.