Dedicated Kidney Care Advocate: Meet Nurse Care Manager Shannon Smith 

Author : Strive Health

When Shannon Smith joined Strive Health in November 2020, she was one of the organization’s first 150 employees. 

Three years later, Strive now has more than 600 Strivers. Still, Smith’s role as a nurse care manager remains foundational to Strive’s mission. She empowers people with kidney disease daily, helping them enhance their quality of life.  

But a career in nephrology nursing — or even nursing — wasn’t always on Smith’s radar.  

“As a young person, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do,” Smith says. “I didn’t become a nurse until I was 26.” 

After obtaining her nursing degree, a classmate encouraged Smith to apply to a position at a dialysis center. That was 1996. Twenty-seven years later, she remains passionate about nephrology nursing and caring for people with kidney disease.  

“It’s a field of nursing that’s all about relationship building,” Smith says. “Kidney disease is manageable, and with appropriate care, patients can lead fulfilling lives. Even after receiving a transplant, ongoing nephrology care remains essential for their long-term well-being.  

“At Strive, I get to take charge of their healthcare and give them the tools they need to help them manage their kidney health.” 

As part of a Strive Health Care Management Program with a major health insurance organization, Smith conducts phone, video and home visits in the Philadelphia area. Her current caseload includes 125 patients at various stages of kidney disease, each with unique needs. She helps them address the factors that have contributed to impaired kidney function. She also guides those who may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.  

It’s a role that allows Smith to use more than two decades of direct care and patient education experience at an earlier stage in a person’s kidney disease journey. It’s a job she loves.  

“You often hear adults say, ‘Find a job you will love,’” Smith says. “I stopped telling my kids that a long time ago. I say find a job you are good at, and you will automatically love it. 

“And if nursing is your choice, find what part of nursing you are best at. That’s where you should be — and it’s where you will have the most impact on patients.”  

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