Making a Difference

Foundation Medical Staffing nurse saves lives in Syria

Photos, from left: Deb Burchel at Lake Tahoe, Jarod Dinkins, Deb mining sapphires in Montana, Deb and Dr. Rifai at the Syrian American Medical Society’s award ceremony.

“Dialysis is a field that you either love or hate,” says Deb Burchel, a travel nurse for Foundation Medical Staffing. “It is stressful, lives depend on it, but it’s also extremely rewarding.”

Deb has worked in the dialysis field for nearly 35 years. Days are long and hard, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Why? It’s enabled her to make a difference to countless people all over the country and as far away as Syria.

“Just after one meeting with Deb, you feel like you’ve known her forever,” says Jarod Dinkins, account manager for Foundation Medical Staffing. “She’s an amazing person, an exceptional dialysis nurse and really easy to work with. You can tell she’s passionate about the industry and helping people.”

Helping others here and abroad

Whether she’s connecting to her patients or training others to use dialysis equipment, Deb’s helpful nature shines through. She was working in Florida when one of the doctors, A.O. Rifai, MD, asked for help. He was developing a portable dialysis system that didn’t require water or electricity, so it could be used in warzones, specifically in Syria.

Deb jumped in and wrote step-by-step instructions for using the new machine. But she didn’t stop there. When one of the lay people in Syria had questions about using the new system, Deb jumped on Skype and walked him through every step of the procedure. It was far from your average tutorial, as Deb could hear bombs going off in the distance. But in the end, her efforts helped save the life of a 10-year-old boy.

The Syrian American Medical Society awarded Deb and Dr. Rifai a humanitarian award for their efforts.

Taking time out to travel

When Deb’s not writing publications or volunteering her time for clinical trials in dialysis, she spends time with her family and traveling.

“I have family all over the country, so it’s perfect to be able to visit them over assignments,” Deb says. “Working with Foundation Medical Staffing also allows me to see things I’ve never seen in my life.”

She recently took a travel nursing job on the west coast. “After my job ended, I took off on a drive, then realized I was in Yosemite!” She’s seen several other national parks and even mined sapphires in Montana in her down time. “It’s been quite the journey, both in dialysis and in life!”


About the author

Shonda Smith

Shonda Smith is a senior communications specialist for CHG Healthcare. When she’s not sharing stories about our awesome people and culture, she’s mountain biking, hiking, skydiving and enjoying Utah life with her hubby and pup.

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