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Doreen Gatanas, RN, CNN

In 2017 I retired from my role of 39 years as a registered nurse working with hemodialysis patients at Elmhurst Hospital. In 2019 I joined the Elmhurst Hospital Auxiliary to continue my service to the hospital that has been my home away from home for so many years.

Elmhurst has been my second family. Over the years I grew my expertise from staff nurse, to assistant head nurse, and finished my tenure as head nurse of the department. In 2003 I was recognized by then President of NYC Health + Hospitals, Benjamin Chu, as Employee of the Year. Through this time, I developed many cherished relationships and have worked with amazing professional staff. I enjoyed the diversity of the community we served.

My passion has always been to help those in need and I had the privilege of getting to know my patients intimately. Dialysis requires visits multiple days each week over extended periods of time as patients await new kidneys. In New York City, the waitlist is roughly seven years for a donor kidney. My goal was to help make my patients' lives meaningful during this long wait, which is often depressing and exhausting. Starting in 2006 I organized Elmhurst Hospital’s participation in the National Kidney Foundation’s annual fundraising walks, which brought patients and colleagues together to support research, diagnosis, treatment and support for those living with chronic kidney disease. We also hosted bake sales and information sessions for the public.

There were many gratifying outcomes of this difficult work. I recall that just one week after our first National Kidney Foundation walk, one of our patients was called for his kidney transplant. On another occasion a young female patient was finally called for her donor kidney, but did not have the resources to fly to receive it. Staff at Elmhurst Hospital took up a collection to ensure she made it to her appointment.

It has been a tremendous experience to work with such a dedicated family of caring professionals. An amazing community, including great supervisors, great staff and colleagues. I continue to be in touch with most of my colleagues, and the Auxiliary enables me to continue to participate in so many ways. Being an active member of the Auxiliary is my way of giving back to the hospital that I have been proud to be part of.


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