Welcome to ANNA's monthly member spotlight. ANNA is a vibrant organization because of nurses like you! Your diverse experiences and unique perspectives make us a collective whole that is a masterpiece. We are proud of all the work each of you do. If you would like to be featured, try using our online community, ANNA Connected. Members are featured in the Member Spotlight based on their engagement in ANNA Connected, so start connecting, talking, and getting to know other ANNA members via ANNA Connected. Maria S. Gonzales, RN, CNNe Renal Specialist (retired) Kaweah Delta Health Care District San Joaquin Valley Chapter #532 How long have you been in nursing? Nursing was my third career. I started in my mid-forties. I have been in nursing 21 years. How long have you been in nephrology? I’ve been in nephrology nursing 21 years. I started on a renal floor doing CAPD first. From there, I moved within the organization, Kaweah Delta Health Care District, going from CAPD outpatient, chronic dialysis, acute dialysis, and back to CAPD home modality. Why do you love nephrology? I love the diversity and the opportunity nephrology nursing has offered me. Throughout my career as a nephrology nurse, I have met incredible patients and their families. It has opened many doors and helped me grow professionally and personally – from a grassroots member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter, to Chapters Coordinator-Elect, to Chapters Coordinator, to the ANNA Chapter Support Team (ACST) on a national level. I love attending ANNA symposia, fall conferences, and the Volunteer Leaders Workshops. The meetings are an amazing time to meet colleagues from throughout the U.S. and foreign countries. There is a common bond among us to go above and beyond to help all persons young and old who have kidney disease. I love sharing new knowledge with my colleagues but especially with my patients. This is why I love nephology nursing! What is your favorite ANNA member benefit and/or what do you love about being a member of ANNA? The benefits are many: journal articles, publications, symposia, fall conferences, and so on. As an ANNA member, I love the connection and kindred spirit in the association at both the local and national levels. Not being born in this new age of technology (although I guess it’s not so new), my favorite benefit is ANNA Connected. It is so easy to connect with chapter members with just a simple click; plus, it’s easy to connect with the whole renal community. ANNA Connected is awesome! Do you have a favorite patient story that reminds you why it's all worth it? I have many fond memories of patients, both joyful and sad. One patient that sticks out is a young gentleman in his 30s on peritoneal dialysis. As a nephrology nurse, the goal was to get him well enough to receive a transplant. Being young, he was impetuous and a spur-of-the-moment person. He purchased an RV which offered him the opportunity to move about. One day we received a call that he had run out of supplies; he was in one of those large RV showrooms at their garage to have his RV repaired while he was living in it. It was a challenge explaining to his supplier where to deliver supplies. We never knew what to expect from him. The best part of my story is that he did receive a transplant, but he needed someone to take care of his dog, a loveable beagle named Snoopy. Guess what? I got to take care of Snoopy. I love this patient story! What are your favorite hobbies and/or pastimes outside of nursing? I enjoy camping with my beautiful daughter and grandkids. I love working in my yard and even talk to my many plants and succulents. I’m retired now, but still very active in the San Joaquin Valley Chapter. I volunteer for the city of Visalia and my church. I went to Spain in March, a dream since high school. That’s one thing I can cross off my “bucket list.” What’s an interesting fact about you? I am a Law and Order junkie. Way before ANNA, I was very involved with the March of Dimes and the Spina Bifida Association. My son David was born with spina bifida. Because of this involvement, I met many celebrities, including opera singer Beverly Sills as well as actors John Schneider, Timothy Dalton, and Michael J. Fox.