5/12/04 - Politics of Health Care Inspires Attendees at American Nephrology Nurses' Association Symposium

May 12, 2004
Contact: Janet D'Alesandro • (856) 256-2422

Politics of Health Care Inspires Attendees
at American Nephrology Nurses’ Association Symposium

PITMAN, NJ – Gathering energy from a collective desire to influence national health policy, over 1,400 nephrology nurses and health care professionals met recently in Washington, DC, at the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) 35th National Symposium.

The focus this year was on "Politics, Passion, and Patient Care," a theme that reflects nurses’ power in the political arena and their drive to improve patients’ quality of life. The conference was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel April 15-18, 2004, and was one of ANNA’s most successful conferences to date.

A 2-day legislative preconference April 14-15 spotlighted initiatives of vital interest to nephrology nurses and taught participants how to work effectively with local, state, and national policymakers. Attendees got even closer to the inner workings of the United States government by visiting their representatives in Congress on April 15 during a special "Capitol Hill Day."

"It was so exciting to see the nurse participants discover the impact their voices have in Washington, and their enthusiasm was infectious," said ANNA President Lesley C. Dinwiddie, MSN, RN, FNP, CNN. "Their reports after Capitol Hill Day relating significant connections illustrated their effectiveness."

In addition to the political focus, the symposium featured a diverse slate of clinical sessions on such topics as chronic kidney disease treatments, transplantation, dialysis for children, patient safety, leadership, and mentoring. Participants also earned continuing education credits, met with 244 exhibitors and industry representatives in the exhibit hall, and enjoyed networking and social events. A full report on the ANNA symposium is available at www.annanurse.org.

Outgoing ANNA President Caroline Counts, MSN, RN, CNN, hosted the symposium Opening Ceremonies on Thursday, April 15. Ms. Counts described ANNA’s achievements this past year and praised members for their many accomplishments

Immediately after, ANNA Legislative Consultant Nancy J. Sharp, MSN, RN, FAAN presented the opening general session, Nephrology Nurses: Pioneers Then, Futurists Now. Ms. Sharp discussed key legislative issues, explored nephrology nurses’ roles in the future, and honored nurses who have been pioneers of the specialty. Brady A. Augustine, ESRD Program Director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also participated in the presentation. The session was sponsored by Church & Dwight Company, Inc.

On Friday, April 16, Sekou Sundiata, a poet, musician and renal transplant recipient, delivered the Janel Parker Memorial Keynote Address. Mr. Sundiata blended poetry and prose in an artistic presentation of his experiences with renal disease. He also emphasized the need for nurses to understand the disease process from the patient’s point of view.

New Officers
Incoming ANNA officers were inducted during the Nephrology Nurse Day Recognition Luncheon on Saturday, April 17. Outgoing ANNA President Caroline Counts presented the Vision Crystal to incoming President Lesley Dinwiddie. The crystal is an ANNA tradition that symbolizes the passing of presidential responsibilities and vision from one president to the next.

In her luncheon address, Ms. Dinwiddie challenged ANNA members to pursue higher education, to practice nephrology nursing from a position of strength, to collaborate with providers from other disciplines, and to recruit - and then mentor - new ANNA members.

In addition to Ms. Dinwiddie and Ms. Counts, the other ANNA officers who will serve on the 2004-2005 ANNA Board of Directors are President-Elect Suzann Van Buskirk, BSN, RN, CNN; Secretary Glenda M. Payne, MS, RN, CNN; Treasurer JoAnne Gilmore, BSN, RN, CNN; Northeast Vice President Karen T. Burwell, BSN, RN, CNN; Southeast Vice President Sue Preuett Cary, RN, MN, NP, CNN; North Central Vice President Donna Bednarski, MSN, RN, CS, CNP, CNN; and Western Vice President Lynda K. Ball, BS, BSN, RN, CNN.

Awards and Honors
At the symposium, ANNA distributed more than $82,000 in scholarships and grants, and honored many individuals with service and achievement awards. The awards included the following:

  • Outstanding Contribution to ANNA Award (the association’s highest honor) – Carolyn Latham, MSN, MBA, RN, CNN, Renal Care Group, Nashville, TN
  • Ron Brady Memorial Award for Excellence in Volunteer Leadership – Mary Schira, PhD, RN, CS, ACNP, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Texas, Arlington, TX
  • ANNA Directors’ Award – Mary Houglum, RN, Fresenius Medical Care, Duluth, MN
  • Outstanding Chapter Recognition Award – Gitchee Gumee Chapter, North Central Region
  • Regional Chapter Awards – Keystone Chapter (Northeast Region), Dallas Chapter (Southeast Region), St. Louis Metro Chapter (North Central Region), and Big Sky Chapter (Western Region)

At the symposium, ANNA also recognized Anthony J. Jannetti, President and CEO of ANNA’s management firm, Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. (AJJ), as a longstanding advocate for nurses and nursing education. Outgoing President Caroline Counts praised Mr. Jannetti for the more than $450,000 in scholarships he has distributed through AJJ’s Nursing Economic$ Foundation and for his many other contributions.

Symposium Audio CDs Available
Audio CDs of the symposium are available through Digitell. To order, call 800-679-3646 or visit www.digitellinc.com.

2005 Symposium
Next year, ANNA’s 36th Annual National Symposium will be held April 18-21, 2005, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

# # #

ANNA is a professional association comprised of more than 11,000 nephrology nurses. Its mission is to advance nephrology nursing practice and positively influence outcomes for patients with kidney or other disease processes requiring replacement therapies through advocacy, scholarship, and excellence.