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Brought together by dialysis, nurse and patient form special bond

“Meeting patients like Bob is part of the joy of the work I do,” said Aaron Galinson, a dialysis nurse at University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Bob Milner spends hours every week receiving dialysis. But his special bond with Aaron Galinson, a dialysis nurse, makes that time go by much faster.

Bob Milner, 78, is no stranger to hospitals.

Ten years ago, he received a kidney transplant to replace his failing kidneys. Early in 2019, his kidney function began to get worse again, causing a range of symptoms.

Milner needed dialysis, a procedure that mimics the kidneys’ normal function by removing impurities from the blood. During dialysis, the patient’s blood is cycled out of the body, cleaned in a machine and then transfused back into the patient. The process takes several hours and must be done several times each week.

Milner came to University of Minnesota Medical Center for dialysis. That’s where he met Aaron Galinson, RN.

Galinson has been a dialysis nurse for 15 years and has spent nearly 20 years in the dialysis field, including experience as a dialysis technician

Aaron Galinson, RN
during nursing school. Over the hours-long dialysis sessions they shared together, Galinson and Milner formed a special bond.

“Bob has an infectious smile—his whole face lights up. He tells such interesting stories, and we’ve had some great conversations. For example, we recently talked about the true definition of wealth. It’s not measured in dollars, but in relationships,” Galinson said. “Another amazing thing about Bob is that he never, ever complains. Dialysis isn’t an easy process, but you’d never know if he was uncomfortable. I wish I had as rosy an outlook on life as he does.”

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Their friendship has helped Milner adjust to the dialysis process again—a treatment he hadn’t needed since his kidney transplant a decade ago.

“He had a lot of trepidation, and the staff can make such a big difference in that regard. Aaron is a wonderful example of that,” said Wendy McCormick, Milner’s wife. “There is such kindness in the care at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, combined with such professional precision and focus. It’s extraordinary.”

For Galinson, nursing was a second career. “My first degree was in art, and I painted murals for a living,” he said. He went back to school to get a nursing degree after he got married and started a family. “I chose to go into nursing because I like people, and this career gives me a chance to work with people all day and contribute to their well-being,” he said.

Specializing in dialysis combines a technical challenge with the chance to make a direct impact on patients, Galinson added. “It’s a chance to really get to know your patients, because you see them a lot, and they’re there for several hours during each session.”

“Aaron does great work—he’s very observant and really skilled,” McCormick said. “And he is such fun to talk with. He and Bob have had some great conversations.”

“I go in to work every day and focus on why I went into nursing, which is caring for patients,” Galinson said. He also enjoys the opportunity to educate first-time patients about dialysis. “I explain what we’re doing for them, and how it helps their body get better, and it makes it less scary.”

“Nursing puts your own life into perspective a lot of times,” Galinson said. “Meeting patients like Bob is part of the joy of the work I do.”