I have interviewed two DaVita Dialysis employees to learn about the company culture and what kind of people DaVita needs to provide quality care to its patients. The first employee is involved in educational/training design, meaning that she helps develop materials to recruit and train new employees to provide safe, quality care to patients. The second employee is a patient care technician who administers hemodialysis treatment to patients. I chose to interview both employees because they offer different perspectives on the training process and teamwork involved. I connected with both employees on linked in and conducted the interviews over the phone. The responses to the questions below are paraphrased from the actual responses.

First interview

  • Why did you choose to work for DaVita? What do you like most about the company/your job?

I chose to work for DaVita because the culture is real. DaVita is a large company and it is difficult to find such a large company that truly believes in its mission statement. One of the slogans at my facility is “We care for our clinicians with the same intensity we expect them to care for our patients.” Essentially, there are very strong relationships to be had between coworkers and everyone takes care of one another. Although I’m not currently working at DaVita (due to circumstances explained to me, but not necessary to mention here), I have irreplaceable memories from working at DaVita and would certainly return if given the opportunity.

  • What is the training process like to become a PCT? How much of it is hand on/hands off?

Training largely depends on the clinic you work at, but it is generally a blended learning process. There may be classroom time and hands-on work within the clinics themselves. There may also be online components similar to the blended learning programs used in CPR training through Red Cross. There will also be reading and writing assignments to ensure the PCTs know what to do in every situation in order to provide the safest care possible.

  • What qualities do you think make a good member for the DaVita team?

You must be flexible and able to work in a fast-paced environment, must be curious, and want to learn. It is good to be innovative and pick up knowledge easily. You must have excellent critical thinking skills, be conscientious, diligent, and pay great attention to detail. These qualities are super important for a PCT to have because the well-being of patients depend on these skills. If there is an emergency, you need to be able to recognize and react to it in a calm fashion. You need to be calm and have a positive outlook on life, because you may not always be treating patients that are in a good mood. It is a stressful job that requires that you know how to be positive and do what it takes to take care of yourself. You need to know when to relax, get enough exercise, etc. You need to be knowledgeable of proper practice and hygiene because the number 2 cause of patient deaths is due to infection. This is another reason you need to pick up on the information fast and have attention to detail. Failing to do so can result in the loss of life. Finally, you need to truly believe in the culture that DaVita advocates for in order to effectively work on the DaVita team.

  • What challenges have you faced? What challenges do PCTs face?

Some challenges that employees may face is the biased perceptions both senior staff members and patients may have against new employees. Sometimes patients do not want to be treated by new trainees; they would rather be treated by more experienced members. Patients can sometimes be rude and non-cooperative, especially for new members of the team. The way you handle this is by being authentic and honest. Always follow through for your team and your patients to gain their trust. Always show respect even if they are not respecting you. Always come prepared.

  • How important is teamwork to the company?

Teamwork is an extremely important part of working for DaVita dialysis. Not only does good teamwork lead to better quality patient care, but it leads to a better company culture. My favorite part of working for DaVita was the relationships I built, both with the patients and with my coworkers.

  • Do you believe DaVita Dialysis truly follows its mission statement?

Yes. (This question was answered in the first question)

Second Interview

  • Why did you choose to work for DaVita? What do you like most about the company/job?

I was introduced to DaVita by a family member after I was unable to find a job post-graduation.

I stayed with the company for the past four years, because I love the patient interactions. I get to meet unique people and build strong relationships with them. It also feels rewarding to work with people who need the help and interaction. Some of my patients do not have any family left and only get their social interaction at DaVita.

  • What was the training process like?

My training process was likely different from what it is now. Now the company incorporates the STAR program, which strives to first teach its trainees the policies and safety practices they need to know, including fire safety, health, hygiene, and HIPA. (This seems similar to a training I received before shadowing at the OR in my local hospital.) There is some book work and in class training, but there is also integrated hands on training within the clinic. The program may last between 9-12 weeks depending on how fast you learn.

  • Do you have to travel much between facilities?

I trained at one facility and eventually transferred to a different facility for work. Otherwise, there is not much traveling between locations.

  • Did you experience any challenges while holding this position? How did you handle them?

The biggest challenge for me is the time commitment. I have to wake up very early in the morning (4 am) and work long shifts. My schedule must be flexible in order to account for shift changes. It is a very demanding job in terms of energy. Another challenge you might face are patients that can sometimes be difficult, especially if you are a new employee.

  • What age group do you primarily work with?

I work primarily with older patients. The youngest patient I have worked with was 25.

  • What was the hiring process like?

My experience is not the typical experience because I gained the position through a connection. Most hires go through several interviews to determine if they are the best fit for the team. Since there is a high turnover rate, the company is trying to find people that are truly suited to the company and believe in its mission. It is very important to know the company’s values/mission statement for the interviews.

  • What is the culture like at your location?

The staff and patients are generally very friendly. My coworkers and I are like family.

Based on these two interviews, I believe I have the qualities needed to be an effective member of the DaVita team. Although the work is hard, it seems very rewarding. This is definitely a company I will consider applying to work for.

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