Britney McBurnett’s Gift of Life

Dialysis Den Nurse Britney McBurnett

The name of Countryside’s onsite dialysis provider, DaVita, comes from an Italian phrase meaning “to give life.” DaVita nurse Britney McBurnett considers this her responsibility to patients, but she also feels it’s something she owes to the medical field because of the gift it gave her long ago.

Britney is a childhood cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 12, and after treatment between spring and winter of that year, she went into remission. Her experience gave her a deep appreciation for medical professionals and the body’s ability to bounce back.

“I grew up immersed in an environment of science and labs and cause and effect,” Britney said. “I think the human body is amazing. The way all the systems work independently and together is incredible. I thought I had a pretty good working knowledge of how the body worked until I learned about the renal system. I was floored when I found out how much the kidneys do.”

Dialysis is an artificial process that simulates the main function of the kidneys, regulating fluid and filtering waste from the blood. While this is normally an outpatient procedure requiring extensive and frequent transportation, CarDon’s partnership with DaVita allows Countryside’s long-term care and rehab residents to receive dialysis from the comfort of the community.

Countryside’s “Dialysis Den,” or onsite dialysis center, consists of six hemodialysis stations located in Countryside’s skilled nursing service area. CarDon brought Britney onboard to help run the Den when it opened last year.

“The Dialysis Den model takes out the logistics of treatment and is physically easier on the patients,” Britney said. “They are transported down the hall 10 minutes before treatment, they’re not exposed to the elements, their medical staff is close, and communication between providers is much easier. There is more continuity of care and education because we are all under the same roof here. I enjoy educating the staff on the different issues renal patients face, and I feel like the staff is more comfortable asking questions since they see me all the time.”

Britney believes education is key and knowledge is power when it comes to overcoming medical issues.

“I had a patient who was not very good about showing up to his treatments,” she said. “Therefore, his lab results weren’t good. I educated him every chance I got. With the help of my team, I was able to give him the information in a way he understood. While I was teaching him, I was learning too, and now I have a better understanding of my patient and he has better adherence, better labs, and in general feels better. I truly care about each person who sits in my den.”

Britney loves the similarly close-knit nature of the community.

“I like the small town feel of Countryside,” she said. “I see familiar faces all the time, whether they’re a resident, family member, staff member or visitor. This means I always bring my A-game because even if I’m not caring for my own loved ones, I know I’m caring for someone’s loved ones here, so I treat them with the respect they deserve because chances are I know at least one person to whom they are related. I have even taken care of a few of the staff’s own relatives over my years as a nurse.”

Thanks to DaVita and nurses like Britney, CarDon’s Countryside Senior Living Community is growing as a family and giving life.