Interview with Kendra Hendon

Major

Biology

Current Position

Nephrologist

GC Graduation Year

1993


Why or how did you choose your field?

I had a high school biology teacher who happened to get excited about teaching the physiology of the kidney. I was intrigued during high school, and then again during college during the renal sections. In medical school, I continued to enjoy learning about how the kidney works, how it influences other parts of the body, and how it plays a role in so many diseases. As I went through residency in Internal Medicine, I was repeatedly interested in the patients with renal diseases, so the decision to pursue a nephrology fellowship seemed a natural choice.

What’s exciting about your job or field?

My sub-specialty of nephrology crosses over every patient demographic; I get to take care of people of all ages. Because of the increasing prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, the number of patients with kidney diseases is rising steadily, making our field very important in the future.

What has been a challenge in your career journey?

I have two young children, ages 1 and 3. It was difficult being pregnant while working full time and taking call. Now I have to focus hard on my daily schedule to make sure I get home in time to see them before they go to bed. It takes a lot of planning to block my schedule in a way to assure that I can get to school activities with my son.

How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey?

The obvious benefit that Goshen College provided was the opportunity to do SST in Costa Rica and learn Spanish. I then did 2 months of my 4th year of medical school in Puerto Rico and strengthened my Spanish further, making it much easier for me to take care of Spanish speaking patients now. I think my classes in communications, women’s studies, and human sexuality strengthened my communication skills and sensitivity to patients needs during their illness.

What advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

One of the best decisions I made was to leave Indiana and go to the University of Virginia for my residency. Many of my friends stayed in Indiana for their training, and I think it limited their perspective.

The best advice I can give is to find a person early during your training who can serve as your mentor. You need someone who knew you at the beginning of your training that can remind you of your personal values and goals as you proceed through the process of medical school and residency.