A passion for dialysis care

Ana Raquel works as a nursing manager at Fresenius Medical Care. She is highly dedicated to her work and shares a bit of her life with us, both private and professional.

Ana Raquel Ferreira Ribeiro came to the German Fresenius Medical Care headquarters in November 2017. Although she misses her family in Portugal, Ana Raquel is excited about optimising treatment conditions for NephroCare patients and nurses. This passion shows when she talks about her work as a nursing manager, so we have asked her to tell you a bit about herself.

Ana Raquel, what exactly is your job at Fresenius Medical Care?

My team and my responsibilities lie in supporting our nurses and our NephroCare community wordwide, to have a good operating environment and a high quality of care for our patients.
We support and align with the colleagues in the countries, the dialysis procedures and nursing standards, like the recommendable way to connect a patient, how to prevent infections, et cetera. We also collect best practices to share between other countries. That is why we are always interested in the initiatives and activities going on anywhere. We are a sort of junction which links nursing teams around the world and forwards experience, ideas for improvement and learning programmes.

What led you to this field of activity? Did you train for that position?

In Portugal, nursing is a four-year university degree which I completed in 2006. Later on, I studied health management with a focus on clinical management and also got a master’s degree as a clinical specialist nurse in nephrology care. For 12 years now, nephrology has been my field of clinical practice and study. At the same time, I have always wanted to be involved in what happens backstage as much as possible – the place where strategies are developed to provide the best quality of care possible.
My work in a NephroCare clinic in Portugal gave me the opportunity to experience the NephroCare nursing standards and some of the best nursing practices in action on a great team. In my current position, I can combine the areas that I’m passionate about: nephrology, management and research.

What is most rewarding about your current job? What do you see as the most significant challenge?

The greatest challenges for me are also the things that make this job so exciting. One is related to our very international setting. We want to ensure that all the patients have the best quality of care possible, while our programmes need to fit the different realities in 27 countries with varying patient profiles, nursing profiles and regulations.
Another important question is how we will shape the future. How will dialysis be carried out in the future? Which needs will tomorrow’s patients have? What competencies and skills will our nurses require in order to progress in this increasingly modern and technological environment? We need to think about what dialysis will look like in five to 10 to 15 years.
The most rewarding part of my work is visiting the patients in our clinics and witnessing how our work is put into practice! The nurses are doing a top-notch job that has a real impact on the quality of life of these brave people. It makes me happy to see the patients more empowered and to know that I am a part of the changes and improvements.

You came to Germany roughly a year ago. How are you experiencing the transition?

For me, nursing is about helping people cope with disease or disability, fostering resilience for life. So when I come across a difficulty in my life, I feel inspired by these patients and find the confidence to accept challenges, like moving to Germany to become a nursing manager. I like living in Germany and can say that foreigners are welcomed here. Working with an international team makes the adjustment easier.
Not only my daily life has changed. The way I spend my free time has changed, too, as Portugal has a lot of coastal areas and there, we spend a lot of time on the beach. But the beer here is much better than at home (laughs), and the Germans know how to enjoy it.

Tell us something about your hobbies. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

As Portuguese, my perfect day is spent with the people I love, my family and friends. In my free time, I like to read poetry or go to the theatre, movies or dance performances. In Portugal, I was a member of amateur theatre groups. I have started to learn German and am looking forward to discovering German authors and poets. I also enjoy travelling, although nowadays I mostly go to Portugal to see my family. I love this feeling of going home.

Thank you for sharing your passion with us, Ana Raquel.