07 Oct Tech Spotlight: Emiliya Kechker

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Compassion in every touch: From Patient Care Technician to Area Technical Manager

In 1989, an organization with the word “dialysis” in its name caught Emiliya Kechker’s eye.

Having just immigrated to Kansas City, MO, from Ukraine, Emiliya was looking for a job that related to her biomedical engineering degree and work experience in a dialysis unit within a hospital. When she found an employment opportunity available with a small, nonprofit dialysis facility, she applied.

At the time, DCI in Kansas City was operating just one nine-station facility in the basement of a hospital. Although Emiliya had worked in dialysis before, it was on the technical side with equipment. One of the advantages of the Patient Care Technician (PCT) role she applied for was that on-the-job training was offered in the facility, with no prior experience required.

Emiliya fondly recalls her PCT training with DCI, where she learned vital safety procedures that are still important today. She learned how to set up a dialysis machine, mix dialysate, and treat the water used in each machine. She said that inserting the needle into a patient’s vascular access for the first time was an incredible experience.

 “I surprised myself with that,” she shared. “I didn’t know if I would be able to do it, but I was actually pretty good at it.”

In 1991, Emiliya began assisting the dialysis team with the technical equipment in the clinic. With the support of the staff at DCI, she enrolled in additional training to become a back-up assistant equipment technician. Later that year, when an equipment technician position became available in the area, she applied and officially became a full-time equipment technician.

Emiliya soon went from overseeing one clinic to several clinics. In the mid-90s, she was promoted to area technical manager over three clinics. As DCI continued to expand in Kansas City, so did Emiliya’s responsibilities. Today, she oversees eight clinics in the Kansas City area.

“I love to solve difficult equipment problems,” Emiliya said. “But the reality is, every day, techs, whether on the equipment or patient-care side of treatment, contribute in a small way to help someone else. That is what keeps us going.”

Emiliya shared that her favorite part of being a PCT was building relationships with her patients and the critical thinking required for the job. During each treatment, patient care techs are closely monitoring patients receiving a life-sustaining therapy. It is a responsibility that Emiliya did not take lightly.

“It is simple to do a good job,” she said. To provide quality care, Emiliya said a tech just needs to, “Think about your loved one in a dialysis chair. Is the type of care you’re providing the type of care you would like your loved one to receive? Is the clinic environment you create one that you would want your loved one to be a part of?”

Emiliya’s questions demonstrate her belief that compassion is the most important quality in a dialysis technician.

“It is giving back to our patients, in the technical, clinical and relational aspects, that can make a big difference in their lives,” she said. “Letting patients know that they are cared for is what motivates me every day.”