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Rachel Collins, a nurse practitioner, cares for patients in our dialysis centers and enjoys creating strong patient-provider relationships. An amazing mom of three, Rachel also likes to garden, draw, exercise and eat pizza with all the fixings! If she didn’t have a career in medicine she would have liked to purse interior or landscape design.

What is your role in the Department and what patients do you serve?

As part of our UNC Nephrology team, I see patients in the Pittsboro and Siler City dialysis centers. I currently have 98 patients that I round on between these two clinics. I see each patient three times per month while they are receiving dialysis. My frequent visits have allowed me to get to know my patients very well and I am proud to provide care in these rural, often underserved areas of our state.

Where are you from?

This is always a difficult question…my dad is a homebuilder which had my family moving all over the Eastern US while I was growing up. I was born in Texas, finished high school and attended college in Ohio (at Bowling Green State University), then moved here to NC where most of my family currently lives. While I have jumped around quite a bit, I have now lived in NC the longest, so I would definitely call this home.

Did you always envision yourself as an APP?

I received my BSN as a second degree and thought I would immediately return to school to become an APP. However, after I started working as a bedside nurse in the Medical ICU, I found I absolutely adored critical care and was learning and growing so much in that role. I stayed in the MICU for over eight years. When I started a family I knew it was time to move to a role that was more compatible with my family life. The good news is I see similar patients in my job now as a Nephrology NP and I believe that my time in the MICU has been invaluable in helping me serve this patient population.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The best part of my job is that I see my patients so frequently and really become a part of their lives. The joy that comes from seeing a patient go for a renal transplant after years of dialysis or the heartache of end-of-life discussions is all more real because of how close our patient-provider relationship is.

How has your role evolved over time since you’ve been here?

I have only been in this role for a short time, about 1.5 years. At one time I was also working with the expanding dialysis program at Hillsborough Hospital but have since moved to exclusively dealing with my two outpatient clinics.

What is one thing that you wish people knew about your job?

The outpatient dialysis world was very new to me. The clinics open at 4:30 in the morning for the first shift of patients and the second shift is usually done by 4 in the afternoon. This makes for a very different schedule compared to most jobs with early morning call, but luckily it works perfectly for me (I’m a morning person!).

Personally or professionally, what are you most proud of?

Hands down it is my three amazing children: Natalie (age 6), Eli (age 4), and Gideon (8 months). I feel so incredibly lucky to have them in my life and never take these crazy, often challenging days of having three littles for granted.

If you didn’t have a career in medicine, what would you be doing?

Medicine is fascinating to me. It is structured, technical, and ever evolving. However, I also have this creative side to my brain that I like to use but never felt brave enough to pursue a creative career. So, if it wasn’t medicine, I would like to be doing landscape design, illustrating, home design, or something else artistic.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy gardening, running, working out, drawing, and of course exploring with my husband and three kiddos!

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’d have to say pizza since (let’s be honest) even a bad pizza is still good. I would want that perfect New York style crust with TONS of veggies and other toppings.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My grandmother always told me that singing and dancing keeps you young.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

I am still very new to this role and to the Nephrology division, so would like to keep working toward expanding my knowledge within this specialty.

What’s the last song you listened to?

“Everlasting Light” by The Black Keys