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.

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Darlena Banas, FNP, APRN, NP-C, CNN-NP

Nephrology Nurse Practitioner
Miami Kidney Group
Miami, FL
South Florida Flamingo Chapter #206

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been in nursing since 1991. Fortunately, all have been in nephrology, which equals almost 30 years. I have worked in acute, chronic, and home dialysis in various positions, including LPN, RN, as well as charge nurse. I managed a 19-station facility as Clinical Manager for almost 16 years before becoming a nurse practitioner. I have been a Nephrology Nurse Practitioner with the Miami Kidney Group for almost 7.5 years.

Why do you love nephrology?

I love nephrology nursing because of the unforgettable relationships you establish with your patients and the nephrology staff. We are a family. Nephrology is the one profession where you can see the actual progress from the decisions and conversations made regarding your patients' care. You can see the impact you have in their lives.

What do you value you the most about your ANNA membership?

Being in ANNA member is extremely rewarding. You have the opportunity to meet other colleagues from all over the country who share a common goal, to be the best nephrology nurse possible through continuous education. ANNA is dedicated to keeping members up-to-date on the latest best practices.

Do you have a favorite patient story?

I had an elderly female patient who becomes extremely anxious at times. Since her children lived far away, I provided an open door to her during my office days. She reminded me of my mom, all alone and far away from her family. Whenever her blood pressure went up or she felt nervous, she would come by my office for me to check on her. Most of the time, just talking to her, I could get her to calm down. If she wasn’t eating, I could convince her to improve her diet and hydrate well. I would call her kids and give them an update, so they knew her status at all times. Her kids always told me, “Thank you for watching my mom. She only trusts you. She won't even go to her primary." I was able to maintain her renal function at chronic kidney disease stage 3 while improving her eating habits with close monitoring.

Last year, her son who lived nearest to her, passed away. It was devastating. She became mentally unstable. Because of her decline in mental status, her children decided to move her with one of her daughters to another state. This allowed her family to provide the necessary support at such a challenging time. One night, her kids called me. She was screaming, refusing to listen to them. I could hear the fear in their voices. After talking to the patient, I was able to calm her down and get her primary to prescribe her the proper medication.

A few weeks ago, I was having a rough day. Suddenly, my phone rang. Her family was calling me with her on the phone to let me know how well she was doing and to tell me how grateful they were for me. She was crying and saying she missed me. It made my heart smile to her from her. Hearing from them made my day. I agreed to continue to manager her care via telehealth until she was stable enough to return to the area with support.

You never know how much you impact your patients and their families. That call was a reminder. I love my job, and I love my patients even more. And every day I come to work, I come with a smile and love in my heart.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working as a nurse?

I love traveling with my boyfriend to a new city each year. We are both in the nephrology profession so we appreciate our adventurous trips. I also love working out in the mornings before work to relieve stress and stay healthy.

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I am a U.S. Army veteran and a little hyper to say the least. I am always full of energy.

What would you tell a newly practicing nurse about nephrology nursing?

I would tell a new nurse to enjoy the journey. Nephrology is a specialty like no other. There is always something new to learn. It is the one profession where you are constantly seeing something new. Embrace and cherish every moment.

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