Thirty-five years ago, Heather Zadorozniak started her nursing career motivated by the same idea that has drawn so many others to the profession – she wanted to make a difference.
Today, as Fraser Health's patient care coordinator for peritoneal dialysis, Heather says making things better for patients is one of the great rewards of her work. She finds the multidisciplinary team approach to renal care particularly gratifying, and effective.
"Working as part of a renal care team really makes a difference for patients," says Heather, explaining that it often takes collaboration amongst team members to get the full picture of how a patient is doing.
"Sometimes in the clinic we'll hear what patients are saying to the dietitians about their diet and it's kind of funny, because they've told us nurses something quite different – and probably a lot closer to the truth."
Heather started her nursing career at Vancouver General Hospital after receiving her nursing diploma from BCIT. She moved to Royal Columbian Hospital the following year and eventually decided she needed to specialize. She received her nephrology nursing certification in 1990 and initially worked with hemodialysis patients. In 2002 she moved into the peritoneal dialysis unit and shortly after that, completed her nursing education with a degree from the University of Victoria.
"My passion is PD," says Heather. "In fact, some people describe me as overly passionate about PD."
Although she is contemplating retirement from full-time nursing in the next few years, Heather says the rewards of the work are too great to give up entirely. And because travel is another of her interests, her retirement plan includes finding short-term opportunities as a volunteer nurse in third world countries where there is a need.