KSLA Salutes: Providing lifesaving links in and out of uniform

KSLA Salutes | Connecting through military service and care

NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - A Natchitoches woman spends her days ensuring others can live using the tools she learned in the military — putting people and the mission first.

As Jennifer Bayonne explains, it’s the same concept for a nurse — and in her case, a dialysis nurse.

“You really truly understand what it means when you’re not in a war zone, and you come back and you have that appreciation for people. Just giving people a smile on your face or making their day a little bit brighter.”

Every day, Bayonne provides her patients with life-sustaining dialysis to help in their battle against renal disease.

“They need it in order to live,” she explained. “They have an organ that does not work and so we remove the fluid, and we clean their blood of toxins that their kidneys would normally do, that they don’t do anymore.”

Bayonne however, is no stranger to helping others in their fight. In 2001 she joined the Army Reserves, as a way to pay for school and explore the world. Despite discovering her passion for nursing, Bayonne chose to stay with her initial unit in SIGNAL.

“It was Internet networking, and we also did everything from the hardwiring of the fiber optic cable bring it up bring it into the establishments and setting everybody up on our own network.”

Like dialysis, her unit helped provide necessary links so that others could fulfill their duties. Bayonne now serves as the Clinic Manager at Fresenius Kidney Care in her hometown of Natchitoches.

She guides her fellow nurses and patients, some of whom are also veterans, through dialysis like she guided her fellow soldiers overseas.

“They love to come in and tell their stories and they know that they can talk to me on a level that I understand, whether it’s the acronyms or the good ol’ sayings they do appreciate that,” Bayonne said. “I think they take a little pride in it too because they say were my nurse is a veteran and she served.”

Providing a familiar face, while serving a community she loves.

“I love that when they come in here they see a face that they’ve either seen in church or at Walmart or a familiar face. Everyone here, as far as my patients, either knows someone in my family, because it is a small town, and it’s always good when you’re going through a life-changing disease process to have a familiar face to comfort you throughout the process.”

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