Real Kidney Living

Communicating with your Kidneys w/ Dr. Kristine McKenna

August 19, 2020 Northeast Kidney Foundation Season 1 Episode 4
Real Kidney Living
Communicating with your Kidneys w/ Dr. Kristine McKenna
Chapters
Real Kidney Living
Communicating with your Kidneys w/ Dr. Kristine McKenna
Aug 19, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
Northeast Kidney Foundation

Thank you so much for tuning in! In this episode, I thought we could reflect on a few of the core topics that makes us human: self-care and mental health strategies. The Northeast Kidney Foundation and I want you to know that it’s okay and to give yourself permission to feel how you are. We want to give YOU strategies to overcome, empathize and move through these challenging times. Listen in this week, as I am joined by the Attending Pediatric Transplant Psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kristine McKenna in order to explore these care strategies. 

Dr. McKenna’s Questions – 

1.) Tell us about yourself – what drew you to the field of Psychology and how do you continuously aim to make a difference?

I always knew that I wanted to help others. I was planning a career in the Oncology field to help patients cope with treatments and painful procedures. I began to feel drawn to the questions beyond the clinic such as: quality of life, explaining to their peers / parenting a child in the context of chronic illness. Later, after additional training, an opportunity arose at Boston Children’s Hospital in the field of transplant medicine and I wanted to help children through this process.

2.) How would you explain the topic of Mental Health and what therapy is subsequently like?

There is the field of psychotherapy or “talk therapy” where patients will undergo treatment for mental health concerns that are significantly impacting their daily life. The goal of therapy is to improve quality of life or overcome those obstacles and feel a sense of confidence. Providers will undergo training in fields such as: Psychiatry, Social Workers and Psychologists. We want to explore their goals as individuals so they can develop that positive view of themselves. We want them to put that “winter coat” on to feel warm and reach out to their healthcare provider.

3.) How do we establish a trusting relationship between patient and provider and how do we gauge this interaction given it can be so sensitive?

The technical term for this is the “Therapeutic Alliance” which encompasses the caregiving and relationship aspects along with what is discussed. It’s a good time to analyze this relationship and try to find a provider that matches your needs. It’s creating a safe space with a fluid focus and navigating it together. Confidentiality is key and these aspects are discussed early on in the relationship.

4.) How do we as a transplant community continue to perpetuate these messages of support and positivity and how do you as a provider derive fulfillment from that?

This is a highlight on stressors that have been recurring long-term in addition to this pandemic environment. One of the core aspects of well-being is self-care. We need to emphasize the re-charge mechanism in our bodies (i.e. relaxation techniques or mindfulness strategies). There are old / new hobbies, reaching out to your healthcare team or even sleep hygiene that every transplant patient and their family uses discover the energy to perform these necessary tasks. 

5.)  How can we take strides to really put together the before, during and after this challenging time as a worldwide?

These large events can be difficult. Individual and community stress can run high. Maximization of our support networks and building resilience are important as we give ourselves credit and recognize that these emotions are valid. We will build a toolkit that we can use now and, in the future, as we navigate these times together. 



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Show Notes

Thank you so much for tuning in! In this episode, I thought we could reflect on a few of the core topics that makes us human: self-care and mental health strategies. The Northeast Kidney Foundation and I want you to know that it’s okay and to give yourself permission to feel how you are. We want to give YOU strategies to overcome, empathize and move through these challenging times. Listen in this week, as I am joined by the Attending Pediatric Transplant Psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kristine McKenna in order to explore these care strategies. 

Dr. McKenna’s Questions – 

1.) Tell us about yourself – what drew you to the field of Psychology and how do you continuously aim to make a difference?

I always knew that I wanted to help others. I was planning a career in the Oncology field to help patients cope with treatments and painful procedures. I began to feel drawn to the questions beyond the clinic such as: quality of life, explaining to their peers / parenting a child in the context of chronic illness. Later, after additional training, an opportunity arose at Boston Children’s Hospital in the field of transplant medicine and I wanted to help children through this process.

2.) How would you explain the topic of Mental Health and what therapy is subsequently like?

There is the field of psychotherapy or “talk therapy” where patients will undergo treatment for mental health concerns that are significantly impacting their daily life. The goal of therapy is to improve quality of life or overcome those obstacles and feel a sense of confidence. Providers will undergo training in fields such as: Psychiatry, Social Workers and Psychologists. We want to explore their goals as individuals so they can develop that positive view of themselves. We want them to put that “winter coat” on to feel warm and reach out to their healthcare provider.

3.) How do we establish a trusting relationship between patient and provider and how do we gauge this interaction given it can be so sensitive?

The technical term for this is the “Therapeutic Alliance” which encompasses the caregiving and relationship aspects along with what is discussed. It’s a good time to analyze this relationship and try to find a provider that matches your needs. It’s creating a safe space with a fluid focus and navigating it together. Confidentiality is key and these aspects are discussed early on in the relationship.

4.) How do we as a transplant community continue to perpetuate these messages of support and positivity and how do you as a provider derive fulfillment from that?

This is a highlight on stressors that have been recurring long-term in addition to this pandemic environment. One of the core aspects of well-being is self-care. We need to emphasize the re-charge mechanism in our bodies (i.e. relaxation techniques or mindfulness strategies). There are old / new hobbies, reaching out to your healthcare team or even sleep hygiene that every transplant patient and their family uses discover the energy to perform these necessary tasks. 

5.)  How can we take strides to really put together the before, during and after this challenging time as a worldwide?

These large events can be difficult. Individual and community stress can run high. Maximization of our support networks and building resilience are important as we give ourselves credit and recognize that these emotions are valid. We will build a toolkit that we can use now and, in the future, as we navigate these times together. 



Instacart - Groceries delivered in as little as 1 hour.
Free delivery on your first order over $35.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.