Training and Teamwork Keep Children’s Nephrology Department on Top

Dr. Jyothsna Gattineni

Jyothsna Gattineni, M.D., pediatric nephrologist and assistant professor at UT Southwestern, says the training and teamwork at Children’s Medical Center Dallas brought her here and keeps her motivated.

Dr. Gattineni has worked at Children’s for eight years. She also completed her fellowship training here through our affiliation with UT Southwestern.  She talks about why the recognition of the Children’s Medical Center Dallas Nephrology department in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings of pediatric specialties matters and recalls one of her proudest moments at Children’s.

Q. Why do you enjoy working in the Children’s Medical Center Dallas Nephrology department?

J.G. I think this is one of the best places to work for pediatric nephrology. I got absolutely wonderful training. I realized the great potential to learn as a faculty member and that  growth would be faster here than at a smaller program. The variety of patients we see is amazing. Our catchment area is wider than Texas. We get patients from all over – Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana. The staff here is great, the ancillary staff, the nursing staff, the medical assistants, and everybody. They’re all very helpful and very friendly.

Q. What interested you in nephrology and, specifically, pediatric nephrology?

J.G. First, I wanted to be a pediatrician, because I love to be with kids. When they get better; they bounce back really fast. And they don’t whine and complain and worry. So when you see them, they have big smiles on their faces, and it makes my day. When kids are sick, they’re sick and they show you. But when they feel better, they immediately react in a positive way. For example, I took care of a patient who had a kidney transplant. Three days later, I saw him playing basketball on the floor.

Q. What does recognition like a ranking in U.S. News and World Report mean for the Nephrology department?

J.G. It puts us in the limelight for the whole country. It says that our  Nephrology Division is one of the best place to get treated for any form of kidney disease. It puts us in the spotlight, lets people know that Dallas has one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country for kidney disease. That gives us recognition not just nationally, but all over the world and helps us bring in the top nurses and physicians to Dallas.

Q. What type of patients do you treat?

J.G. We treat patients for anything like blood in the urine right up to entering the Emergency Department with their kidneys totally failing, high blood pressure, severe electrolyte abnormalities and the need to put in a dialysis catheter within the next few hours to start them on dialysis.  We have a wide spectrum of patients.

Q. How do you ease the fears of parents of children starting dialysis?

J.G. We have a team including nephrologists, nurses and social workers. The social workers really become sort of an extended family to patient families. We all sit down with the family, sometimes together, and sometimes independently. And that will happen several times during a patent’s stay. We go over what dialysis means and have them meet other patients who have gone through dialysis. The Child Life specialists will meet them and explain the procedure to the child in very simple terms. We also talk preemptively regarding dialysis with the parents of children with chronic kidney disease.

Q. In the eight years you’ve worked at Children’s, what stands out in your memory as a time when you were most proud of the hospital and your co-workers?

J.G. We had a 2-day-old baby who came here for dialysis for a severe metabolic problem needing dialysis. It was Christmas Eve. The baby was in the ICU, and that’s where we had to start the dialysis treatment. I had to call the hemodialysis nurse at home on Christmas Eve. Everybody, as a team, worked so beautifully together – the ICU nurses, the hemodialysis nurse the attending physicians and the fellows. Everything went so smoothly. It felt good to be part of the team. We were here from 8 in the evening until 3 in morning. The parents were absolutely wonderful. They were so thankful; they wrote us a long letter. Their pastor also wrote us a letter to thank us. It was one of the best things I remember.


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