Inspired by his care, Blake Schuchardt becomes a nephrology nurse.
Nephrology nurse Blake Schuchardt knows just how to encourage, inspire and empower his patients as they undergo dialysis treatments because he’s been there. During Nephrology Nurses Week, Sept. 10-16, and throughout the year, Schuchardt exemplifies the compassion, understanding and dedication of nurses who work with dialysis patients at Fresenius Kidney Care.
Schuchardt was only 17 and looking forward to starting college the following year when he came down with what he thought was a cold or the flu. He went to the ER and, after some tests, doctors diagnosed him with bacterial meningitis. He was given a small chance of survival and spent a week in a medically induced coma. But he did survive, and after he woke up, he got better each day. Doctors thought they’d have to amputate his legs as a result of poor circulation, but they were able to save everything except three toes on his left foot. Then he learned that the bacterial meningitis caused his kidneys to stop functioning. Schuchardt spent the next year-and-a-half on dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant in 2006.
Inspired by the care he received at Fresenius Kidney Care, Blake went to nursing school. He began working as a home therapies dialysis nurse at the same clinic where he received his dialysis as a teenager and now works at Fresenius Medical Saline County in Harrisburg, Ill.
“During my time on dialysis, I really got to know the nurses who took care of me and they helped me realize that while I needed dialysis to live, I could still live the life I wanted to,” said Schuchardt, now 30, married and the father of a little girl. “Not to sound cliché, but I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and inspire others living with kidney disease, which is why I chose to become a nephrology nurse. I understand what my patients are going through and what they’re feeling. I can give them recommendations and help resolve their doubts, just as my nurses did for me.”
Schuchardt’s experiences allow him to better connect with patients. His story of perseverance inspires his patients and helps empower them to lead the healthiest, fullest lives possible.
If, like Blake Schuchardt, you are a talented clinician driven to provide compassionate care to patients and their families, learn more about Fresenius Medical Care jobs in your area.