Standing Shoulder to Shoulder

 
By Holly Carpenter, Development Director
 
Many people in the Minnesota Kidney Community know our friend Jenny Bodner, Transplant Coordinator at the HCMC Transplant Clinic.  With a welcoming smile and caring nature, Jenny helps transplant patients navigate the ins and outs of their kidney journey.
 
We recently caught up with Jenny to find out more about her and her observations about kidney disease from a healthcare professional’s point of view.
 

How did you become involved in kidney transplantation?

I had been a nurse for a long time in many different roles both within a hospital setting and in the community. I noticed that kidney problems are not just a medical problem that could be solved with medication. Treatment involved engaging patients and their families in lifestyle management. The more I learned about kidney transplant as a treatment option, the more I wanted to be part of the transplant process.

Why is supporting kidney patients so important?

The support of the kidney community is a great benefit to patients and their families. Kidney disease affects so many people but it can be a hidden disease which can make it lonely and isolating. When we are able to help patients and their families see they are not alone, we can help lift their spirits.
 

When it comes to facing adversity…

Don’t withdraw –instead reach out.
 
People really do want to help! Many have been there and experienced it before you, they know firsthand the downside of adversity and want to lessen it for others.
 
Reach out to your circle of friends, family and acquaintances. You might not know someone who can help you but your circle of support persons might be able to connect you with someone who can help you.
 
Search the internet for organizations (like the NKF) that could offer support or knowledge about your difficulty. Look to spiritual help and support even if you have fallen away from it. Review what gave you comfort at other times of adversity in your life and see if that could transfer over to this episode of your life.

What life lessons have you learned from your work in the kidney community?

We all have options about our health. Sometimes the choices are hard but they still are choices. The earlier patients are aware of positive choices and the potential these choices have to optimize their health the better off patients will be.
 

If you could grant one wish to kidney patients, what would it be?

Kidney disease would be cured!

One final question.  How do you like to spend your time outside of HCMC?

I love to garden and hiking and yoga are also very rewarding for me.  I enjoy going to new restaurants and trying new dishes, especially Italian and Thai.
 
I really enjoy watching foreign comedy and drama movies. Good humor has no boundaries.
 
And of course, my family.  I have a wonderful husband, 5 children and their families in addition to a very large extended family that I love to visit.
 
Thanks so much to Jenny Bodner and all the other healthcare professionals that are there for our community.  The kindness and compassion all of you show your patients is phenomenal and means so much to all of us.  We cannot thank you enough.