Testimonials from Nephrology Nurses: Our Stories

By ASN Staff

May 28, 2020

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May is National Nurses Month

Those who work in nephrology, or receives kidney care, understand that excellence of care depends directly upon the professionals who chose to become nephrology nurses.

The stories below reflect the tremendous scope and enduring challenges of this calling. These stories range from pediatrics to end-of-life care, chronic to acute care, dialysis to transplant to patient and professional education.

As I read these statements, I was struck by the picture they paint: a mosaic of intellectual curiosity, fearlessness in delivering highly complex care, respect for those we serve, and the acknowledgment that continuity of care is as meaningful to the professional as the patient.

I thank all who contributed to this powerful collection. I’m also grateful to the American Nephrology Nurses Association staff. Their guidance and assistance enabled us to connect with these inspiring professionals.


Anupam Agarwal, MD, FASN
President, American Society of Nephrology


What made you pursue nephrology nursing?


I decided to pursue nephrology nursing because it presents the unique opportunity to help educate and guide individuals along the continuum of CKD, ESRD and renal transplantation. Helping people with kidney disease has fueled my passion for nephrology nursing and kept me involved for over 31 years. 

Jean Colaneri, ACNP-BC, CNN
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Clinician Adult and Pediatric Dialysis, Staff Educator for CRRT and CAPD Program

Troy, NY
 

Twenty-two years ago, I chose nephrology nursing due to the inherent disease complexity of the renal system. I advanced my nephrology career (LPN to RN to NP/DNP) and found my true calling in providing support for patients choosing not to pursue dialysis. My doctoral focus was enhancing shared decision-making, advance care planning, and appropriate palliative care referral for chronic kidney disease patients, leading to my dual nephrology and palliative care nurse practitioner role. 

Christine Corbett, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CNN-NP, FNKF
APRN-inpatient/acute care, CKD Clinic, CKD Education, Conservative Kidney Care Clinic Medical Management without Dialysis.
Kansas City, Missouri

 

Nephrology nursing offers a unique diversity in nursing that spans supporting care for patients in the home to critical care, neonatal to gerontology and bedside to consultant. Our nephrology specialty thrives on interdisciplinary collaboration which is associated with bidirectional learning opportunities for all.

Helen Currier MA, BSN, RN, CENP, CNN
Medical Science Liaison

Houston, Texas


I pursued nephrology nursing because I saw what a difference I made in the lives of our dialysis patients. Over the years, I have experienced being a family caregiver for someone affected by ESRD and I can bring that experience into my nursing care for my patients. I have a different perspective and increased respect for our patients due to this experience as we have no clue about what they really go through.

Nikeyia Davis, BSN, RN, CNN
Home therapies RN

Southfield, Michigan

 

Caring for a potential kidney donor forty years ago and learning of the shortage of organs and the challenges of treating kidney failure led to staffing on a nephrology floor and the subsequent pursuit of tertiary education. Involvement in ANNA, NKF, and other nephrology related organizations has augmented my experience, but it is the enduring relationships with inspiring mentors, gifted teachers, committed colleagues, and amazing patients that has kept me engaged!

Lesley Dinwiddie MSN FNP CNNe
Transplant Coordinator, Hemodialysis staffing and education, NP Vascular Access Coordinator Vascular Access Education and Consultation

Cary, North Carolina

 

I actually stumbled into nephrology 25 years ago due to a clerical error made in human resources. Today, I know this wasn’t an error but a true blessing. Nephrology has become my passion and it has been so rewarding to see how much of an impact a nurse can have on the life of another, especially when they are facing a chronic condition such as kidney disease. Having worked most of my years as a kidney transplant coordinator and in-home therapy, I can honestly say that it is a privilege and an honor to be a nephrology nurse.  

Rhonda Campbell Duggan, BSN, RN, CCTC
Senior Clinical Innovation Manager

Concord, North Carolina

 

Originally, I selected business administration and marketing as a career path. After witnessing a family member who was diagnosed with Wegner’s Granulomatosis endure renal replacement therapy, and undergo a kidney transplant, I became intrigued with everything kidneys. Thus, a new career path was chosen.

Michelle Gilliland MSN, RN, CNN
Strategic Account Resource Manager

Bennington, Nebraska

 

I am a connections person, I like to be able to talk with my patients, to hear their stores, and to share my story with them. Connecting with my patients allowed me to establish trust with them. When they trusted me, they would then trust the information I shared with them to improve their lives and to save their life.

Loretta Jackson Brown, PhD, RN, CNN
Health Communications Specialist

Atlanta, Georgia
 

The nurse/patient/family relationships that develop with the opportunities to educate and make a difference in someone's life. The many opportunities within nephrology nursing that have developed over the years.

Sara K Kennedy BSN, RN, CNNe
Home Therapies, PD; CKD Educator; Fellow Educator

Hoover, Alabama
 

I love the technology in nephrology and am fascinated by the human body. Nephrology nursing allows me to combine both clinical and technological skills to help patients with kidney disease.

Angie Kurosaka, DNP, RN, CNN, CCM, NEA-BC
Case Management

Birmingham, Alabama
 

I decided to become a nephrology nurse because the specialty is complex, rewarding, and forever changing. Every situation in acute dialysis is different so you are always using your critical thinking skills. All of this combined is why I love being a nephrology nurse. 

Faith Lynch, MSN, RN
Clinical Nurse Manager, Acute Dialysis

Commack, New York

 

I actually started working in Dialysis 15 years ago as it was the only job available in a town I needed to move to take care of my Mother. I was fortunate to have a fantastic manager and amazing coworkers who all encouraged me through that first year and helped me study for my CDN. By the time I obtained it I was hooked and wouldn’t consider doing anything else!

Barbara Odom BSN, RN, CDN
Acute Dialysis

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
 

I pursued nephrology nursing because it allows so many areas/avenues of practice. Pediatrics, gerontological, acute, chronic, transplant, Pre-ESKD, vascular access, education, care transition, palliative care…. I also find working with the other disciplines and the collaborative effort required to care for our patients satisfying as well. It involves care of the total patient across the entire lifespan…. Nephrology nursing allows me to practice and use all of my skills and training. The bond with patients and their families, being able to see your patient get better, sometimes you are able to educate patients and their families and actually prolong the time until they may require renal replacement therapy. There are so many opportunities for educating and training.

Lillian A. Pryor, MSN, RN, CNN
Renal Clinic Nurse

Lawrenceville, Georgia
 

I started in a dialysis unit when my son was born for better hours. I fell in love with nephrology nursing, the patients, and the staff who dedicate themselves to the chronically ill. I have now been in nephrology nursing 32 years and can’t imagine working in any other area of nursing.

Cindy Richards, BSN, RN, CNN, CCTC
Pediatric Renal Transplant Coordinator
Birmingham, Alabama
 

I acknowledge that my competence in providing peritoneal and hemodialysis treatment to both adult and pediatric patients is a God-given talent. Being a nephrology nurse provided me an opportunity to care and focus on patients who are suffering from kidney conditions. Nephrology is a complex specialty, so embracing every opportunity for continued learning is important.

Joan Yvette E. Ronquillo BSN,RN,CNN
Acute Services RN for Adult and Pediatric Peritoneal dialysis and Hemodialysis

Dallas, Texas
 

End-stage renal disease has directly affected members in my family and during times of struggle the dialysis nurses were a vital part of their support system. I wanted the opportunity to be impactful and help patients who were experiencing the same struggles that my family members were experiencing and this is why I pursued nephrology nursing. Although nephrology nursing is highly specialized, there are many different avenues that nurses can pursue and it provides ample opportunities for professional growth.

Tanya D. Scott MSN, RN, CNN
Clinical Nurse Manager

Houston, Texas
 

Spending the first half of my advanced practice career in family practice and other specialties, I never imagined my future-self pursuing nephrology advanced practice nursing. I had my first clinical experiences working in nephrology while pursuing my doctorate, and these experiences changed the course of my career. Caring for those with CKD and ESRD is complex, challenging and ever-changing, but it is also the most incredibly rewarding professional experiences I have had as a nurse.

Cynthia Smith, DNP, CNN-NP, FNP-BC, APRN, FNKF
Nephrology Nurse Practitioner
Charleston, West Virginia
 

I did not know I wanted to be a nephrology nurse but I do know why I stay. I love the variety, autonomy, and the relationships. Nephrology nursing has many opportunities within the specialty, such as kidney transplant, acute dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, apheresis, SLED/CRRT, and outpatient care in a clinic or dialysis center. Nephrology nurses are at the core of providing these therapies, as well as preparing the patient to care for and be an advocate for themselves. It is a special relationship that I am honored to be a part of.     

Nancy Colobong Smith, MN, ARNP, CNN
Acute Dialysis & Transplant Clinical Nurse Specialist and ARNP

Seattle, Washington
 

After several years of ICU nursing, the world of chronic care appealed to me as it gave me an opportunity to know my patients as individuals traveling a difficult path. Home therapy was the perfect blend of compassionate care and critical thinking!

Lucy Todd MSN, ACNP, CNN
Medical Science Liaison (PD therapy)

Asheville, North Carolina
 

Nephrology nursing offers me the opportunity to be an integral part of the patient's journey through kidney disease. I have the privilege to provide collaborative care, working with the care team to address patient concerns and questions through patient education and advocacy about kidney disease and the disease process. Nephrology nursing rewards me with the sense of completeness in seeing patients obtain understanding and achieving overall well-being through the comprehensive care approach.

Phung Tran, MSN, MBA, RN
Acute Hemodialysis and Vascular Access Nurse

McKinney, Texas

 

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Mar-Carrousel-02.jpg

May is National Nurses Month

Those who work in nephrology, or receives kidney care, understand that excellence of care depends directly upon the professionals who chose to become nephrology nurses.

The stories below reflect the tremendous scope and enduring challenges of this calling. These stories range from pediatrics to end-of-life care, chronic to acute care, dialysis to transplant to patient and professional education.

As I read these statements, I was struck by the picture they paint: a mosaic of intellectual curiosity, fearlessness in delivering highly complex care, respect for those we serve, and the acknowledgment that continuity of care is as meaningful to the professional as the patient.

I thank all who contributed to this powerful collection. I’m also grateful to the American Nephrology Nurses Association staff. Their guidance and assistance enabled us to connect with these inspiring professionals.


Anupam Agarwal, MD, FASN
President, American Society of Nephrology


What made you pursue nephrology nursing?


I decided to pursue nephrology nursing because it presents the unique opportunity to help educate and guide individuals along the continuum of CKD, ESRD and renal transplantation. Helping people with kidney disease has fueled my passion for nephrology nursing and kept me involved for over 31 years. 

Jean Colaneri, ACNP-BC, CNN
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Clinician Adult and Pediatric Dialysis, Staff Educator for CRRT and CAPD Program

Troy, NY
 

Twenty-two years ago, I chose nephrology nursing due to the inherent disease complexity of the renal system. I advanced my nephrology career (LPN to RN to NP/DNP) and found my true calling in providing support for patients choosing not to pursue dialysis. My doctoral focus was enhancing shared decision-making, advance care planning, and appropriate palliative care referral for chronic kidney disease patients, leading to my dual nephrology and palliative care nurse practitioner role. 

Christine Corbett, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CNN-NP, FNKF
APRN-inpatient/acute care, CKD Clinic, CKD Education, Conservative Kidney Care Clinic Medical Management without Dialysis.
Kansas City, Missouri

 

Nephrology nursing offers a unique diversity in nursing that spans supporting care for patients in the home to critical care, neonatal to gerontology and bedside to consultant. Our nephrology specialty thrives on interdisciplinary collaboration which is associated with bidirectional learning opportunities for all.

Helen Currier MA, BSN, RN, CENP, CNN
Medical Science Liaison

Houston, Texas


I pursued nephrology nursing because I saw what a difference I made in the lives of our dialysis patients. Over the years, I have experienced being a family caregiver for someone affected by ESRD and I can bring that experience into my nursing care for my patients. I have a different perspective and increased respect for our patients due to this experience as we have no clue about what they really go through.

Nikeyia Davis, BSN, RN, CNN
Home therapies RN

Southfield, Michigan

 

Caring for a potential kidney donor forty years ago and learning of the shortage of organs and the challenges of treating kidney failure led to staffing on a nephrology floor and the subsequent pursuit of tertiary education. Involvement in ANNA, NKF, and other nephrology related organizations has augmented my experience, but it is the enduring relationships with inspiring mentors, gifted teachers, committed colleagues, and amazing patients that has kept me engaged!

Lesley Dinwiddie MSN FNP CNNe
Transplant Coordinator, Hemodialysis staffing and education, NP Vascular Access Coordinator Vascular Access Education and Consultation

Cary, North Carolina

 

I actually stumbled into nephrology 25 years ago due to a clerical error made in human resources. Today, I know this wasn’t an error but a true blessing. Nephrology has become my passion and it has been so rewarding to see how much of an impact a nurse can have on the life of another, especially when they are facing a chronic condition such as kidney disease. Having worked most of my years as a kidney transplant coordinator and in-home therapy, I can honestly say that it is a privilege and an honor to be a nephrology nurse.  

Rhonda Campbell Duggan, BSN, RN, CCTC
Senior Clinical Innovation Manager

Concord, North Carolina

 

Originally, I selected business administration and marketing as a career path. After witnessing a family member who was diagnosed with Wegner’s Granulomatosis endure renal replacement therapy, and undergo a kidney transplant, I became intrigued with everything kidneys. Thus, a new career path was chosen.

Michelle Gilliland MSN, RN, CNN
Strategic Account Resource Manager

Bennington, Nebraska

 

I am a connections person, I like to be able to talk with my patients, to hear their stores, and to share my story with them. Connecting with my patients allowed me to establish trust with them. When they trusted me, they would then trust the information I shared with them to improve their lives and to save their life.

Loretta Jackson Brown, PhD, RN, CNN
Health Communications Specialist

Atlanta, Georgia
 

The nurse/patient/family relationships that develop with the opportunities to educate and make a difference in someone's life. The many opportunities within nephrology nursing that have developed over the years.

Sara K Kennedy BSN, RN, CNNe
Home Therapies, PD; CKD Educator; Fellow Educator

Hoover, Alabama
 

I love the technology in nephrology and am fascinated by the human body. Nephrology nursing allows me to combine both clinical and technological skills to help patients with kidney disease.

Angie Kurosaka, DNP, RN, CNN, CCM, NEA-BC
Case Management

Birmingham, Alabama
 

I decided to become a nephrology nurse because the specialty is complex, rewarding, and forever changing. Every situation in acute dialysis is different so you are always using your critical thinking skills. All of this combined is why I love being a nephrology nurse. 

Faith Lynch, MSN, RN
Clinical Nurse Manager, Acute Dialysis

Commack, New York

 

I actually started working in Dialysis 15 years ago as it was the only job available in a town I needed to move to take care of my Mother. I was fortunate to have a fantastic manager and amazing coworkers who all encouraged me through that first year and helped me study for my CDN. By the time I obtained it I was hooked and wouldn’t consider doing anything else!

Barbara Odom BSN, RN, CDN
Acute Dialysis

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
 

I pursued nephrology nursing because it allows so many areas/avenues of practice. Pediatrics, gerontological, acute, chronic, transplant, Pre-ESKD, vascular access, education, care transition, palliative care…. I also find working with the other disciplines and the collaborative effort required to care for our patients satisfying as well. It involves care of the total patient across the entire lifespan…. Nephrology nursing allows me to practice and use all of my skills and training. The bond with patients and their families, being able to see your patient get better, sometimes you are able to educate patients and their families and actually prolong the time until they may require renal replacement therapy. There are so many opportunities for educating and training.

Lillian A. Pryor, MSN, RN, CNN
Renal Clinic Nurse

Lawrenceville, Georgia
 

I started in a dialysis unit when my son was born for better hours. I fell in love with nephrology nursing, the patients, and the staff who dedicate themselves to the chronically ill. I have now been in nephrology nursing 32 years and can’t imagine working in any other area of nursing.

Cindy Richards, BSN, RN, CNN, CCTC
Pediatric Renal Transplant Coordinator
Birmingham, Alabama
 

I acknowledge that my competence in providing peritoneal and hemodialysis treatment to both adult and pediatric patients is a God-given talent. Being a nephrology nurse provided me an opportunity to care and focus on patients who are suffering from kidney conditions. Nephrology is a complex specialty, so embracing every opportunity for continued learning is important.

Joan Yvette E. Ronquillo BSN,RN,CNN
Acute Services RN for Adult and Pediatric Peritoneal dialysis and Hemodialysis

Dallas, Texas
 

End-stage renal disease has directly affected members in my family and during times of struggle the dialysis nurses were a vital part of their support system. I wanted the opportunity to be impactful and help patients who were experiencing the same struggles that my family members were experiencing and this is why I pursued nephrology nursing. Although nephrology nursing is highly specialized, there are many different avenues that nurses can pursue and it provides ample opportunities for professional growth.

Tanya D. Scott MSN, RN, CNN
Clinical Nurse Manager

Houston, Texas
 

Spending the first half of my advanced practice career in family practice and other specialties, I never imagined my future-self pursuing nephrology advanced practice nursing. I had my first clinical experiences working in nephrology while pursuing my doctorate, and these experiences changed the course of my career. Caring for those with CKD and ESRD is complex, challenging and ever-changing, but it is also the most incredibly rewarding professional experiences I have had as a nurse.

Cynthia Smith, DNP, CNN-NP, FNP-BC, APRN, FNKF
Nephrology Nurse Practitioner
Charleston, West Virginia
 

I did not know I wanted to be a nephrology nurse but I do know why I stay. I love the variety, autonomy, and the relationships. Nephrology nursing has many opportunities within the specialty, such as kidney transplant, acute dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, apheresis, SLED/CRRT, and outpatient care in a clinic or dialysis center. Nephrology nurses are at the core of providing these therapies, as well as preparing the patient to care for and be an advocate for themselves. It is a special relationship that I am honored to be a part of.     

Nancy Colobong Smith, MN, ARNP, CNN
Acute Dialysis & Transplant Clinical Nurse Specialist and ARNP

Seattle, Washington
 

After several years of ICU nursing, the world of chronic care appealed to me as it gave me an opportunity to know my patients as individuals traveling a difficult path. Home therapy was the perfect blend of compassionate care and critical thinking!

Lucy Todd MSN, ACNP, CNN
Medical Science Liaison (PD therapy)

Asheville, North Carolina
 

Nephrology nursing offers me the opportunity to be an integral part of the patient's journey through kidney disease. I have the privilege to provide collaborative care, working with the care team to address patient concerns and questions through patient education and advocacy about kidney disease and the disease process. Nephrology nursing rewards me with the sense of completeness in seeing patients obtain understanding and achieving overall well-being through the comprehensive care approach.

Phung Tran, MSN, MBA, RN
Acute Hemodialysis and Vascular Access Nurse

McKinney, Texas

 

Date:
Thursday, May 28, 2020