ANNA Member Spotlight

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.

Suzan Stephens, BSN, RN, CNN

Staff Dialysis Nurse
Children's Hospital of Colorado
Aurora, CO
High Country Chapter #502

How long have you been in nursing?

I graduated from nursing school in 1984 and have been a nurse for 35 years.

How long have you been in nephrology?

I have been a pediatric nephrology nurse for 18 years. When I transferred to nephrology, each nurse was required to work in all areas of the department – hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, clinic, and transplant. I really enjoyed the variety and autonomy. In the last 3-4 years, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis nurses work exclusively with dialysis patients.

Why do you love nephrology?

I love nephrology because I am constantly learning about the complexities of our kidneys. From Dr. Kolff's invention of the dialysis machine in the 1940s to new antirejection medications, nephrology is always evolving to improve the lives of people living with kidney disease.

What is your favorite ANNA member benefit?

I love several benefits of being an ANNA member. One of the biggest benefits is the amount of resources available to help members write a journal article, host a webinar, write an abstract, and speak at the national symposia. ANNA has professionals who take the time to walk you through the process to achieve your goals.

Do you have a favorite patient story?

I took care of a young patient who was on dialysis for over 10 years. He traveled 2 hours each way 4 days a week to receive dialysis. Because of his blood type and a kidney transplant that lasted only 3 days, he had a high PRA count and was difficult to match. He was running out of access sites and requiring more and more dialysis to filter his blood effectively. An altruistic donor donated her kidney to this patient. Today, he is doing well, attending high school and wants to get his driver’s license. The donor is a retired teacher and continues to give to our dialysis unit. She volunteers in the dialysis unit several times a week. She has taught the patients about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), computer programming, and 3D printing. Recently, the hospital planted a garden and the dialysis patients were asked to plant renal-friendly vegetables. The donor worked with each patient to make 3D vegetable markers and QR codes to educate visitors about each vegetable. It is a true honor to work with these individuals each day.