This employee spotlight features Barb Jefferson, a Patient Care Supervisor at Centers for Dialysis Care Euclid, who retired this past October. It was in this role that Barb discovered that caring for others was her true calling. Learn more about her long-term career with CDC below.
More About Barb
Barb Jefferson has left her mark on Centers for Dialysis Care. Beginning in 1995, to her recent retirement in October 2020, Barb made an impression on so many individuals. Barb’s career did not start in healthcare; she first worked in the automobile manufacturing industry, a job she found to be high paying but “miserable.” While living on the far west side, she began a new career caring for others, working in the Lorain County Human Services Home Health Department. Following a move to the Painesville area, Barb took the advice of a friend, Nancy Osborn, a nurse at Dialysis Associates, and applied for a position with DA, now known as CDC Warrensville.
Barb began her dialysis career as a technical assistant, quickly moving to the reuse department. Soon after, Sharon Nowak, an LPN in the education department and one of the first to recognize Barb for her hard work and dedication, encouraged her to enter the technician training program. Barb credits Sharon as well as Connie Ricciuti, also from education, for their support and encouragement in finding what she calls a “godsend” career. After about five years of experience as a technician, and following a move to the Euclid facility, Barb assumed the role of Patient Care Supervisor and it is in this role where she found her true calling.
At CDC Euclid, Barb found herself a home. She describes this facility as “one big family, a unit that works together and respects each other.” Barb credits Laura Thompson, former Euclid facility manager, with mentoring her in the PCS role. As a supervisor, Barb made sure the staff knew she would not ask them to do anything that she would not do herself, but it was the patients that she committed 110% of her day to help. Whether it was scheduling, or rescheduling appointments so that patients could attend family events or vacations, or educating new patients on what to expect with their dialysis treatment, helping others is Barb’s true love. Patients and their families knew she would do everything she could to meet their needs, no matter what they ask.
This dedication to patients may have come from a personal challenge. When Barb was in the technician training program, her mother passed away from kidney failure. From this point on, she realized that those that she was caring for are not just patients, but they are someone’s family member. Barb also shares that CDC was always there for her during this difficult time, stating, “Diane Wish and this company stood by my side, and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Barb spent the next 20 plus years giving back to both staff and patients until her retirement in October 2020, when she decided it was time to spend more time enjoying life. Although she still works PRN, she states she has no regrets. She has always worked hard, noting her parents worked until they no longer could. Barb made sure she retired with a lot of life left to live.
Barb often spoke to new technicians, letting them know that CDC is a company where it is possible to advance if you work hard. She did not realize that when she was taking care of patients she was also being recognized for her hard work and eventual promotion. She found the supervisory role to be one she loved because she could talk to new staff one-on-one, helping resolve issues and pointing out that it is not necessary for anything to get personal or nasty. It was this mentoring of new staff that contributed to Euclid’s historically low turnover and high satisfaction rates.
On the technical side, Barb has seen quite a bit. She notes that technology has made working in dialysis much easier. Many different machines, water systems, and specifically the jump from paper charting to the computer, are what she remembers most. Technology has also made reading the water so much easier, and while the move to electronic documentation was something she did not like at first, it is something she has come to love. “Having legible notes that are easily stored and accessible is a huge benefit,” says Barb.
When she entered the medical field, Barb found happiness and love in helping others. To this day when she works PRN, she finds patients greet her with open arms and a smile. The patient and family interaction make “her heart jump.” She is often the first to greet patients and explain the importance of a COVID vaccination, sharing with patients that she herself has received a vaccine. Continuing to foster trust is something she continues during the COVID pandemic. “Having the trust of patients and their lives in my hands is so special,” she notes.