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Niki Summers

34 years old - Nashville, Tennessee - Featured on March 2, 2010

Life Experiences Drive Patient’s Passion for Nursing

Fresenius Medical Care patient Niki Summers (center) with her parents after a celebratory dinner in her honor.

Niki Summers, 34, will graduate from Vanderbilt University’s nursing practitioner program in August, but she is not your typical student. Far from it. A lupus disease patient who received a hip replacement in 2009, Niki was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2005. She receives peritoneal dialysis through Fresenius Medical Care Vanderbilt’s home treatment program.  

Niki has a passion for nursing and, specifically, helping people with chronic illnesses, which stems from her own experiences of living with both lupus and kidney disease. That passion helps her manage the load of being a full-time student, an internal medicine internship, and staying on track with her dialysis schedule.

In her spare time, Niki offers advice to fellow dialysis patients who are considering switching to peritoneal dialysis by sharing her own experiences and explaining what life is like on home dialysis. She says she has a lot more freedom by administering her treatments at home, which gives her more time to pursue her education.

Niki is excited about the future, but says none of it would have been possible without the support of her family – she jokes that they all will graduate together in August. She is excited about a career in primary care and is considering moving to Texas. In the short-term, spring break is on the horizon and Niki is planning to kick back, relax and catch up on one of her favorite past-times, reading.

Fresenius Medical Care is happy to announce that since this profile was written, Niki has received a kidney transplant.