Skip to Main Content

Celebrating Our People – Meet Rhonda

July 06, 2022 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time


With a friend in need of a kidney, Flaget Memorial Hospital emergency department nurse Rhonda Wathen, RN, was there. But when Rhonda’s friend was unable to accept her kidney donation due to medical circumstances, Rhonda donated her kidney to a complete stranger in need.

“I had a friend for over 30 years in need of a kidney, so my best friend and I tried to see if we could donate,” Rhonda said. “My friend Bobby also had an issue with his heart, so in those instances they want the kidney and heart to come from the same person to avoid rejection.

“When I was on Bobby’s donation page on Facebook, there was another page for someone who was also in need of a kidney.”

Rhonda submitted her application to match with this stranger since they both were O-negative blood types.

“I was in the mindset to donate a kidney,” Rhonda said. Usually you don’t know who you’re donating to, but I chose him, Jack. If Jack hadn’t matched me, I would have moved on to the next person.” 

“When I donate blood, I donate two units at a time if my count is high enough. O-negative people are harder to get organs for because of the risk factors and matching. I knew [Jack] was O-negative based on what he posted on Facebook. I messaged his daughter when the process first started, but she didn’t tell him in case it didn’t work out.”

Rhonda was able to meet Jack before the procedure last year.

“We were able to see each other before the procedure,” Rhonda said. “He was thanking me left and right.”

Rhonda has been a nurse at Flaget Memorial Hospital for 34 years. She said her plan since high school was to stay local at the advice of her dad.

“Almost every shift, someone asks, ‘Who do you know today, Rhonda?’” Rhonda said. “I’ve been here so long. My dad worked at Ford and said, ‘If you don’t have to drive [far for work], then don’t drive.’ Because when you work a 12-hour shift, then you add an hour there and an hour back, so I was working at McDonalds as a high school senior when I was accepted to the nursing program at Elizabethtown [community college]. I lived at home, graduated nursing school when I was 19, I wanted to stay small.”

In her free time, Rhonda lives on a mini farm with her family in Nelson County. She has two children, one in high school and another in graduate school. 

Recent Articles

Celebrating Our People – Meet Steve

JUL 28, 2022

Originally from Muhlenberg County, Steve Dukes, RN, has experienced many changes to nursing in his 40-year career with one constant: Saint Joseph Hospital.

Read More Additional information about Celebrating Our People – Meet Steve | Spirit of Health | CHI Saint Joseph Health

Nurturer By Nature

JUL 20, 2022

Caring for others comes naturally for Flaget Memorial Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Lynn Howard, RN.

Read More Additional information about Nurturer By Nature | Spirit of Health | CHI Saint Joseph Health

Celebrating Our People – Meet Melony

JUL 18, 2022

Positivity, communication and teamwork create success — a strategy Melony Douglas has embraced as a practice manager for four CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group clinics in London.

Read More Additional information about Celebrating Our People – Meet Melony | Spirit of Health | CHI Saint Joseph Health

Subscribe for Updates

Fill out the form below to receive monthly health news and information to your inbox.

View the Latest Print Edition

Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.