Prof Rob Walker, head of nephrology, and Maree McDonald,
former charge nurse manager in the dialysis unit at Dunedin
Hospital. Photo by Christine Linnell.
Prof Rob Walker, head of nephrology at Dunedin Hospital,
described Maree McDonald as ''world-class'' in the field of
''Her experience and skill in dialysis nursing is almost
irreplaceable,'' he said.
''Her depth of knowledge, ability to deal with patients and
their training to enable them to dialyse at home is second to
''It is a complex area and Maree's expertise is among the
best in the world in the field of home dialysis.
''She is going to be extremely hard to try to replace. Her
job description could be filled by three people doing the
work that she's been doing.
''There have been some difficult times. That goes with the
health system. Resource constraints can put pressure on the
delivery of any service but Maree has made sure there has
always been high quality care for dialysis patients.''
Prof Walker described Ms McDonald as an ''outstanding
''She has excellent leadership skills and a great rapport
with the patients and their families. Dialysis has a major
impact also on families and their caregivers.
''Maree has had a big involvement in setting up a support
group and in setting up holiday facilities for patients in
Cromwell and later Clyde.
''She has gone well beyond the call of duty. It is almost
unthinkable to have a dialysis unit without Maree but we have
to move on and we are lucky to still have an excellent group
of nurses. We just have to find someone to step into Maree's
very large shoes.
''Our emphasis is very much on home dialysis. The rest of the
world looks with envy upon Dunedin and Christchurch as to how
we achieve that. The goal is to enable patients to be able to
dialyse at home, to be independent and to be able to return
''In most places in the world, patients become quite
institutionalised. Our patients are able to lead a much more
normal life, and Maree has been a huge part of that.
Hospitals elsewhere in the world are trying to replicate what
Jock Allison, well-known Dunedin agricultural scientist and
agri-business consultant who received a transplant seven
years ago after almost three years on dialysis, echoed Prof
''She is just fantastic, as far as the patients are
concerned,'' he said.
''She has brought total professionalism and competence to her
job without raising her voice.
''We've been extremely fortunate in Otago and Southland.
Maree's an outstanding person and, as a patient, I always had
complete confidence in her judgement.
''It's been much more than a job to her. It's been her life,
really. She's done a lot of work outside hospital hours.
''Her record of service will be hard to beat. She is one of
the very special medical staff that I have known.''