3/2/06 - New Plan Connects Nephrology Providers with Students, New Nurses

March 2, 2006

Contact: Linda Alexander

856-256-2300, ext. 2411 • linda@ajj.com


New Plan Connects Nephrology Providers with Students, New Nurses

The American Nephrology Nurses' Association recommends externship, internship programs to spark interest in the specialty and help combat the nursing shortage.

PITMAN, NJ – Traditionally, student nurses do not participate in extended clinical rotations in dialysis settings. The American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) Educational Task Force has developed a plan to create links between schools of nursing and hemodialysis settings through externship programs. The goal of the program is to spark student nurses’ interest and experiences in nephrology nursing.

To fuel such interest, the ANNA Task Force created a template that hemodialysis providers can use to develop their own nephrology student nurse externship program. The template builds on student nurses’ knowledge and develops basic nursing and interpersonal skills related to caring for nephrology patients. The template is available for free download at www.annanurse.org and www.nephrologynursingjournal.net.

“One goal was to develop a plan to encourage and increase student nurse experiences in nephrology settings, and we are thrilled to make the template available,” said Educational Task Force Co-chair Charlotte Thomas-Hawkins, PhD, RN, CNN. “By exposing student nurses to nephrology nurses in action, we hope to pique their interest in pursuing jobs in nephrology after graduation.”

The task force also developed an internship program template targeted to new nursing school graduates or RNs new to the nephrology specialty. The internship program template forms the framework for clinical knowledge and skills development within the nephrology nursing specialty. The template provides opportunities for professional growth and autonomy in a dialysis center, with a goal of leading RNs to actively participate as members of a nephrology clinical team.

The externship and internship program templates were published in the November-December 2005 issue of Nephrology Nursing Journal (NNJ). Additional resources created by the task force, including an invitation letter to schools of nursing, are also available for free download on the ANNA and NNJ Web sites.

Thomas-Hawkins, an assistant professor, Rutgers University College of Nursing, New Brunswick, NJ, co-chaired the Educational Task Force with Mignon Early, BSN, RN, senior vice president, operations, National Nephrology Associates.

Mary Brattich, BSN, RN, CNN, a regional manager, Fresenius Medical Care, San Diego, CA, and Mary Schira, PhD, APRN, BC, ACNP, an associate clinical professor, University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing, Arlington, TX, served as Educational Task Force committee members.

In March 2003, ANNA convened the Nephrology Nursing Shortage and Solutions Summit to bring members of the renal community together to discuss the shortage of nephrology nurses and create a detailed national plan addressing the recruitment of nurses into nephrology and the retention of experienced nephrology nurses.

Several task forces were created as a result of the summit, including ANNA’s Educational Task Force. The task forces were given specific goals to address short- and long-term solutions for recruiting and retaining qualified registered nurses in nephrology based on opportunities identified at the summit.

For more information about ANNA, visit the association’s Web site, www.annanurse.org, or contact the National Office, phone: 888-600-ANNA (2662) or 856-256-2320; Fax: 856-589-7463; e-mail: anna@ajj.com.

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ANNA is a professional nursing association with over 11,000 members. Its mission is to advance nephrology nursing practice and positively influence outcomes for patients with kidney disease processes requiring replacement therapies

through advocacy, scholarship and excellence.