Exclusive preview: ANNA fall meeting to center on future of nursing, larger realm of health care
On Oct. 12, nurses who specialize in caring for patients with varying degrees of kidney disease will gather in San Diego for the American Nephrology Nurses Association’s Nephrology Nursing Practice, Management & Leadership Conference. Mary Schira, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, ANNA conferences committee chair and an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at the University of Texas, told Healio/Nephrology that the conference is equally open to nurse managers, staff nurses and advanced practice nurses.
“Regardless of work setting, there’s something for everyone at the meeting,” she said. “The meeting is structured to encourage us to focus on our practice as a nephrology nurse, whether it be in dialysis, transplant or elsewhere.”
Schira expressed excitement about many of the topics to be addressed at the meeting, including an opening session presented by Beth Mancini, PhD, RN, on the future of nursing in health care. Though the executive order occurred after the meeting was planned, a session on ANNA's perspective regarding Advancing American Kidney Health has been scheduled and Schira anticipates it will also be discussed during other presentations, as well as throughout the networking that happens during dinner and in the exhibit hall. Schira looks forward to hearing what presenters and attendees have to say about the initiative, as ANNA views it as an opportunity to think strategically about — and to improve — the future of kidney care by starting more patients on home dialysis, increasing organ donation and decreasing the progression of kidney disease. Nephrology nurses, she said, play a central role in all of these tasks because they are the ones who have the most interaction with patients; nurses can provide the most support through building personal relationships.
“We are the ones who talk to patients every day, every visit, helping them identify the therapy choices that best fit not only their life, but also their quality of life. I think that’s one place that nurses really shine. We want to work with our patients to find the best options and then to implement those options with knowledge and with caring and with ethics.”
As always, there will be sessions dedicated to pharmacology — introducing nurses to new agents — as well as new approaches in improving patient management. Sessions for managers include those that address how to use fewer resources to achieve quality care and those that discuss succession planning to ensure future nurses have strong knowledge bases and leadership skills.
She also stressed that one of the big goals of the meeting is to talk not only about nephrology, but to expand focus to the world of nursing and the world of health care.
“This might be the only meeting that some attendees go to during the year, so we want to maximize their time with dynamic and engaging topics,” she said.
Sessions on opioid use disorder, human trafficking and the stigmatization of women and weight are examples of topics that examine the larger health care environment. According to Schira, nurses need to be aware of these issues so they can recognize when patients are impacted. This allows for better management, facilitating the nurse’s ability to answer questions and/or provide solid resources and ensuring the patient receives the best care. Nurses have a role in addressing these issues and, if necessary, in pushing back against these issues and intervening, she said, as this meeting is about “the big world, as well as our focus world.”
Finally, Schira said that she’s been pleased with registration to date. While she hopes the sessions resonate with many nurses, she also emphasized the importance of providing attendees with an opportunity for personal growth and reflection.
“It’s a good idea to make sure that we don’t only feed their professional minds, but that we also feed their personal souls,” she said. “We have the meeting at a venue where they can take a little time for themselves, because we all need to disconnect sometimes.” – by Melissa J. Webb
For more information:
Disclosures: Schira reports no relevant financial disclosures.