Susie Soares-Phillips has built her career making lives better for patients living with kidney disease. “Wanting to be a nurse and helping others was clear to me as a young woman. At age 14, I vividly remember spending a night in the hospital with my grand-uncle and taking care of him.”
Susie moved to the U.S. from Goa, India in 1982 to study nursing. As a student at Modesto Junior College, she got a job in 1985 as a reuse technician with Satellite Healthcare, where she processed artificial dialyzers between treatments.
Soares-Phillips quickly saw that dialysis offered an opportunity to work with patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their families’ over long periods of time.
“Dialysis just wasn’t a treatment you delivered. It was building a partnership with patients and their families,” Soares-Phillips says. “I enjoyed getting to know patients over time, developing a trusting relationship and engaging patients in their care to improve their quality of life.”
After becoming a registered nurse and earning her certification in Nephrology nursing, Soares-Phillips transferred to Satellite Healthcare Turlock, California. She was quickly recognized as a leader and outstanding patient care professional. Within the year, she was offered and accepted the clinical manager position for her center. In 2002, she was promoted to regional director, where she provided operational leadership to multiple dialysis centers. Today she oversees eight centers as a territory director and also serves as a co-lead to improve patient experience.
As she built her career at Satellite Healthcare, she’s never lost sight of putting patients first. Her goal is to help them live the best life possible on dialysis and it has always been the focus of her work.
“I want to treat each patient as a person first by doing whatever it takes to give them the best treatment and experience possible. Each of them had a life before dialysis. Our job is to help them continue enjoying those things that are most important to them,” Soares-Phillips says.
She encourages patients to keep living their lives as normal as possible — continuing with their hobbies, travel and anything else they enjoyed doing. She individualized and personalized patient care, including transitioning patients to home dialysis. This allows patients to control their own care with flexible scheduling and a better quality of life.
Soares-Phillips also believes in the power of education to the community concerning the risk factors of kidney disease, such as diabetes and hypertension. Inspired and influenced by Satellite Healthcare’s founder Dr. Norman Coplon, she has been a devoted and active supporter of the National Kidney Foundation for more than three decades.
“Dr. Coplon was an inspiration and a role model to me and many others. He led by example with compassion and encouraged us to volunteer for the NKF. He taught me to always put patients first and employees right next to them. He fostered a strong partnership with NKF and believed together we could achieve more in serving the kidney community.” says Susie.
In October, the NKF named Soares-Phillips its 2017 Champion of HOPE Honoree. This award recognizes people who have made “extraordinary contributions” to patient advocacy, healthcare, philanthropy, and research related to kidney disease and organ transplant.
“I was humbled and speechless when I was notified of the Champion of HOPE Honoree award by NKF Director, Nicole Ringer. It’s truly an honor to receive this recognition. I will passionately continue to serve Satellite Healthcare and National Kidney Foundation’s mission to carry Dr. Coplon’s legacy forward in the kidney community.”