​Transplant Coordinator; Minister Who Prays For Her Patients.

Josephine “Cissy” Brents has been with IU Health for 40 years. As a transplant coordinator she sees a need and she isn’t shy about fulfilling that need. She prays for her patients.

She remembers one of her first patients as if she were the most recent one. Josephine “Cissy” Brents was helping the woman navigate her journey to transplant. The woman received a kidney from her niece who lived out of state. It was a time of joy for the patient and Brents shared in every moment.

“I love my job. There have been so many patients who have touched my life. They are thankful to me but I am grateful for them,” said Brents. She relates how one patient became frustrated and on edge and through it all Brents repeatedly offered assurance that they would get a transplant. “When it all clicked and they realized I was here to help them get the best outcome, they were like a changed person. I love seeing that,” said Brents.

She was a student at Arlington High School working in the school nurse’s office when her course was set. It wasn’t a course specific to a hospital setting but more of a course set toward caregiving, she said.

She started at IU Health as a student nurse in 1979 and has worked on the renal floor and dialysis at both Methodist and University Hospitals.

“My mom, Bernice Fleming, helped me get into nursing school. She put the papers in front of me and helped me complete the process,” said Brents. “She died of cancer when I was in my freshman year. She was only 49. I can still see the nurses at Methodist Hospital all dressed in their nice white uniforms – so kind and caring – and thinking, ‘I really do want to be a nurse.”

As a nurse Brents spent six years in the Air Force Reserves. One of the highlights was to attend a weeklong Combat Casualty Care course with the Army, Marines, National Guard and Navy.  She went to yearly training and spent time in Germany and Florida, helping to train medical technicians. Also while working at IU Health, she took on the role as assistant worship leader at her church and began working toward her Masters in Divinity.

“I’ve done a lot of work with pastoral care – speaking at funerals, visiting families. It’s all helped me become more patient and practice perseverance. I also pray for my patients and I pray for my co-workers and the transplant team,” said Brents. “I think it’s important to recognize that we all need that faith.”

More about Brents:

  • What makes her a good nurse? “I was working at a health fair and recruiting donors and discovered I have a kidney disease. It makes me more compassionate. I know a little more what patients are going through.”
  • About her personally – Brents has a twin brother, and two other siblings. She has been married to Mark Brents for 29 years.
  • A high point of her career? She was the transplant coordinator when Dr. William Goggins performed his 2,000th kidney transplant earlier this year.
  • Something that might surprise people to learn about her? “I used to ride a Harley Davidson Road King.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.