Dialysis technician Kelly Franchuk has been with CDC for more than 30 years. During his three decades at the organization, he notes that the people he has connected with stand out the most, from colleagues who make up a big, crazy work family, to lasting impressions on patients and their families. Read more about Kelly’s time with CDC below.
Q&A with Kelly
What brought you to CDC?
I started at CDC in December of 1987. At that time, CDC stood for Community Dialysis Center. I had recently graduated from Gannon University (Erie, PA) with a biology degree, and the U.S. government was requesting that I begin to repay my student loans. A friend pointed out a want ad in the Sunday Plain Dealer looking for a lab technician. I had no idea what this entailed, but it stated that a biology degree was required, and that was enough for me. After investigating, I found out the position was for a dialysis technician. Knowing very little about dialysis, I applied for the job and was soon hired.
Cheryl Winterich was our instructor, along with Kathy Altier. Both were stern, but fair, with a batch of mostly young kids. The curriculum and training felt very similar to many of my college courses. Once on the floor, our trainers took great care of us. There were no preceptors – it was a massive group effort. The people who stood out were Julie Cirka, Faye Betha, and Karl Wuest. They instilled me with knowledge, shielded me from trouble, and turned me into a proficient technician.
What has kept you at CDC for so long?
Many elements of the job have kept me here over the years. The relationships developed with the patients are paramount. The care, the conversations, the give-and-take, make each day stimulating and exciting. Some days can be a little too stimulating, but 99% are worth it. It’s what’s kept me on the floor after so many years.
When I started at CDC, I immediately noticed how small the company actually was. That appealed to me. I enjoy working for a company that knows who I am. Even though CDC has grown considerably since I began here, it is still a small company that’s doing what it can for the community, unlike the larger dialysis providers that have encroached steadily across the country.
How would you describe the CDC team?
The staff at CDC has also been invigorating over the years. At the start, there were so many people at CDC East (then called CDC Cleveland) of different ages, gender, ethnicity, and background that made it so exciting. I formed so many great bonds with these strangers that it felt like a big, crazy family. I even met my future wife, Julie, at CDC. Thank you, CDC! I have formed lasting relationships with so many friends and continue to develop new ones as the years go by.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your career at CDC?
The most satisfying thing about my experience is when a patient or family member, who I’d lost touch with, comes back years later and thanks me for the care I had given them. Sometimes I don’t recognize the face, but the name comes back to me. It’s staggering that someone would seek me out to tell me that I made an impact on their life and health. It is gratifying and humbling.
Pictured Below: Kelly Franchuk, 1990