ANNA Member Spotlight

Welcome to ANNA's monthly member spotlight. ANNA is a vibrant organization because of nurses like you! Your diverse experiences and unique perspectives make us a collective whole that is a masterpiece. We are proud of all the work each of you do.

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Deborah Cote, MSN, RN, CNN, NE-BC

Administrator, Dialysis Program
University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, VA
Commonwealth Chapter #250

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been a nurse for 40 years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.

How long have you been in nephrology?

I have been a nephrology nurse for 34 years. I remember my first interview for a position in a dialysis unit. The director of nursing asked me the typical question: “Why do you want this job”? I had really applied because the hours looked like they would support a good work-life balance. I answered her sheepishly that I didn’t really know what dialysis was or how it worked. She laughed and then brought me out on the treatment floor and gave me a beginner’s lesson in dialysis. I was in awe.

Why do you love nephrology?  

I love nephrology nursing for a lot of reasons. Initially, I found my greatest satisfaction from the technological side. I loved the equipment – I had to learn three different machines in my 6 weeks of orientation – and the trouble shooting. Then, I started to learn more about the nuances of the physical presentation of the patient, learning how to assess volume status and try to determine if the patient was gaining weight or volume overload. After a while, my greatest satisfaction came from the long-term relationships I developed with patients and really getting to know them. Learning about their personal health goals and helping them to reach those goals is always rewarding.

What is your favorite ANNA member benefit?

Now that I am in an administrative role, I find the professional practice aspects of ANNA to be extremely valuable. Resources available from ANNA, such as Contemporary Nephrology Nursing and the Core Curriculum for Nephrology Nursing, help to guide or practice and establish procedures. Most importantly, I have enjoyed the education and networking, which go hand in hand. Whether it is attending a meeting or participating in ANNA Specialty Practice Networks or ANNA Connected, I get to meet colleagues from across the country and learn from them.

Do you have a favorite patient story?

Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to provide care for various members of a family with polycystic kidney disease. At one time, we had a mother, daughter, and two brothers on a shift of eight patients. Talk about getting to know a family! Years later, I was caring for a son of one of the brothers who was on dialysis; he wasn’t a child anymore, but an adult. That is one example of developing long-term relationships! In my current role at the University of Virginia, I still have patients who were here when I joined this team in 1991. In my role as a leader of a small dialysis organization – even when I am frustrated with paperwork or administrative responsibilities – if I round in a facility or sit in a waiting room and talk to patients and families, it helps to ground me and remind me that what I do makes a difference for them.

What are your favorite hobbies outside of nursing?

I love the beach and reading fiction and really love to do them at the same time! I have five grandchildren ranging from 1 to 15 years, and I love spending time with them. Every year there is a family beach trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They have learned to love the beach as much as I do!

Share an interesting fact about yourself.

While working full-time in a clinic and with two teenage sons, I was the high school varsity cheerleading coach in football, basketball, and competition!