The National Kidney foundation has a program called Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) which is a free screening program offered for individuals who may be at risk for kidney disease. It is a great way to for people to figure out their risk factors and get counseling on how o avoid problems in the future. Their goals are to raise awareness about kidney disease especially among “high risk” individuals, provide free testing for people at increased risk for kidney disease, encourage people “at risk” to visit a clinician, and follow the treatment plan recommended. They also provide educational information so these “at risk” individuals can prevent or delay kidney damage, provide clinician referrals for follow-up care, if needed, and provide ongoing information and support. Prevention is always more cost effective than treatment and the National Kidney Foundation does a great job at increasing awareness in the community. So, of course, I was eager to help and participate in this screening when they contacted me!
In my work life, I am a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. So I was able to help support the KEEP goals by providing education to each individual after they had completed the screening process. There were 6 stations at the screening. Station #1 was a urine screen, #2 a blood pressure evaluation, #3 waist measurement, #4 blood draw, and #5 was where I sat with the other clinicians who volunteered their time. It was wonderful to meet all the participants and talk to them about why they visited the clinic that day. It was also wonderful to be able to provide medical support free of charge to people who could not afford it otherwise. At the end of the day, we were able to screen 159 people. Of those, 64 learned they may have a new problem such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, or high cholesterol. Those people could now make small adjustments in their lifestyle to decrease their risk factors and live a longer, healthier quality of life! I am honored to have been invited to participate in this worthy cause!
Being a nurse is a rewarding profession. It gives a person the chance to give back, but in doing so, you gain more than you could possibly imagine in return.