What is Nephrology Nurses Week, what's the history of it and how is it recognized? Here's everything you need to know!
What is Nephrology Nurses Week?
In order to honor the nephrology nurses who care for patients with kidney disease, The American Nephrology Nurse Association has designated the second full week in September each year as Nephrology Nurses Week.
"Nephrology nurses receive specialized training to provide care to their patients," according to National Today. "While undergoing treatment, patients with kidney diseases rely on nephrology nurses for their expertise in the field of kidney-related diseases. Highly trained nurses provide medical care assistance, education and support to all those affected by kidney disease. Nearly 500,000 people around the world suffer from some type of kidney disease. Remarkably, dependence on nephrology nurses will increase as kidney disease increases worldwide. Equally important, these medical professionals ensure proper care, guidance and comfort are given during all treatments, including dialysis. Like all nurses, nephrology nurses provide encouragement and reassurance as a patient goes through the steps to become healthy again."
Therefore, nephrology nurses are essential in the lives of patients who are coping with a lot to handle. After all, Kidney disease causes more deaths than breast or prostate cancer.
"[Chronic kidney disease] is the under-recognized public health crisis," according to the National Kidney Foundation. "It affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S. (15% of the adult population; more than one in seven adults), and approximately 90% of those with chronic kidney disease don’t even know they have it. One in three American adults (approximately 80 million people) is at risk for chronic kidney disease."
Chronic kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. In fact, in 2016, over 500,000 patients received dialysis treatment, and over 200,000 lived with a kidney transplant.
When is Nephrology Nurses Week?
What is the history of Nephrology Nurses Week?
The American Nephrology Nurse Association founded Nephrology Nurses Week. It started because of the nurses who tend to patients with kidney disease.
"Chronic kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and losing their ability to keep you healthy," according to the National Kidney Foundation. "In the early stages of the disease, most people do not have symptoms. But as chronic kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build up in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop other problems like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Because kidneys are vital to so many of the body’s functions, chronic kidney disease also increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. While these problems may happen slowly and without symptoms, they can lead to kidney failure, which can appear without warning. Once kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to stay alive. This stage of chronic kidney disease is known as kidney failure, end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD)."
Due to the importance of combatting this disease, the American Nephrology Association came up with the week to recognize and respect those doing just that.
How is Nephrology Nurses Week celebrated?
There are several ways to celebrate Nephrology Nurses Week. Here are three ways to do just that.
1. Thank your nurses.
There's no better way to celebrate Nephrology Nurses Week than by saying thanks to your nephrology nurse, if you have one. Thank your nurse for their hard work in person. If you don't have an appointment to see them, consider sending a letter. You can even send a note with flowers to tell them how much you appreciate them, or just call into the office to express your gratitude.
2. Post on social media about kidney disease awareness.
Get on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share your appreciation for your nephrology nurse, or nephrology nurses in general. You can share a story about how a nephrology nurse helped you or a loved one before.
Also be sure to spread awareness about kidney disease in your post, to help explain the significance of nephrology nurses and promote early detection, which is arguably the most effective way to combat the disease. You can share statistics like the following from the National Kidney Foundation, for example:
- Chronic kidney disease causes more deaths than breast cancer or prostate cancer.
- Chronic kidney disease affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S.
- Approximately 90% of those with chronic kidney disease don’t even know they have it.
- Chronic kidney disease is more common in women (15%) than men (12%).
- Chronic kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Many children and adolescents have conditions that, if left untreated, would dramatically increase their risk for chronic kidney disease, too.
- The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which were the two conditions that were were responsible for nearly 75% of kidney failure cases between 2014 and 2016
- In 2016, over 500,000 patients received dialysis treatment, and over 200,000 lived with a kidney transplant.
- Though about 100,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant, only 21,167 received one in 2018. Meanwhile, about one-third of those transplants came from living donors.
- Over 3,500 kidneys are surgically discarded each year, but the National Kidney Foundation is making efforts to use more of these kidneys for transplantation.
3. Shop National Nephrology Week products.
Jim Coleman is selling gifts offered by the American Nephrology Nurses Association to celebrate National Nephrology Nurses Week. You can shop T-shirts, totes, drinkware like water bottles and more that let everyone know that you're celebrating the week.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.