Technical Communication in Dialysis

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Sonja Morgan: Clinical Manager of Fresenius Medical

Background

Sonja Morgan is a registered nurse (RN) working in Columbia, Louisiana at Fresenius Medical Center. She has worked for Fresenius Medical for 5 years now, and was most recently promoted to manager. Fresenius is a dialysis company devoted to helping patients whose bodies have lost the ability to control their kidney functions. Her main duties as the clinic manager include writing staff orders, notes to doctors concerning patients, and ensuring that her clinic is running up to par.

What led you to becoming a nurse?

Sonja grew up learning to care for others by tending to her grandparents as they grew older. Her love for helping others came from working as an emergency room technician after high school. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Louisiana Tech, her career was just unfolding.

Communicating Effectively

Sonja believes that communication is one of the most important aspects of her field of work. She experiences all forms of communication, mostly written. Sonja says that her day begins with a daily report, which she must produce every morning. She says that this is accomplished using a template that details the goals for employees and herself for the day. She finds this form extremely useful in relaying information to her staff; this holds everyone accountable. She also says that the template makes the process extremely efficient when having to adhere to company policies. Sonja recommends a template for any document updated day to day.

Written Communication at Fresenius Medical

Sonja says that written communication is crucial for her workplace. Any time a patient does not receive documentation of their visit, or it is not on file, it can be claimed that this visit never even occurred. Sonja says that she is comfortable using written communication, mostly because of how often she must communicate within her company. Sonja thoroughly reviews every document she comes in contact with, noticing errors like grammar, punctuation, and conciseness.

Sonja also says that she is responsible for creating monthly quality documents that will be presented to upper management. These documents she creates must be accurate, easy to read and navigate, and follow company policies. To ensure these documents meet the needed requirements, she spends a large amount of time planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading her documents. Sonja says she may follow a similar procedure for even emails!

Struggles and Improvements

Keeping communication full proof at any medical clinic can be difficult. When Sonja first became manager of this clinic, she struggled with producing some of the reports that she was required to, mostly due to poor training. Now that she has educated herself on the written communication to be completed, she has begun training others so that she is not the only employee capable. Sonja also says that she used to struggle communicating to patients who did not understand their situation, or speak English well. Sonja says that she has been able to produce training and leadership documents to both her staff and patients. These documents are to help patients understand what is happening in much simpler terms, and can be translated if necessary.

Sonja says that communication in her workplace could be improved in many ways. She believes that a “communication board” in the clinic could be helpful with daily reminders. Sonja also thinks utilizing their wikis (OneDrive via Office365) could be beneficial when communicating through written documents. Sonja also thinks that there is room for improvement to Fresenius Medical’s intranet site. She says that the site has become difficult to use, thanks to hundreds of links.

Words of Advice

Sonja says that communication is the “key to success, regardless of what business, industry, or field an individual may be working in.” Anyone can learn from the experiences Sonja has had, proving how useful good communication can really be, in any field of work.

Justin Kelly, Guest Blogger

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