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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Meredith Swalm, BA, RN, CDN
ICHD RN and Home Programs Coordinator
American Renal Associates
Northridge, CO
High Country Chapter #502

 

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been a nurse since 2003. I started my nursing career at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans as a pediatric hematology oncology nurse. A few years Iater, I stumbled into dialysis and have been a nephrology nurse ever since.

How long have you been in nephrology?

I have been in nephrology since 2005. I started as a nephrology nurse at a chronic unit in New Orleans, LA. Shortly after hurricane Katrina, I decided to become a travel nurse in dialysis. I was placed in both acute and chronic positions as a travel nurse. I have worked in a variety of environments in dialysis. I practiced in Seattle, WA, Houston Tx, Reno NV, and St Thomas U.S.V.I. before coming to Colorado as a travel nurse and then remained as a staff nurse with American Renal Associates.

Why do you love nephrology?

I love working with chronic patients. I like developing the personal relationships with people that I see in the clinic. I love that I don’t have to check name bands. I enjoy teaching patients and seeing them make positive changes to improve their health. I feel like my work is done when I see a patient that has struggled to feel better and to make positive changes for their health and longevity.

What is your favorite ANNA member benefit and/or what do you love about being a member of ANNA?

I honestly love the community aspect of the organization. I enjoy meeting and networking with other nurses who have the same passion for patient care. I also enjoy reading the open forum discussions. I find it beneficial to hear about other peoples’ experiences to help problem solve.

Do you have a favorite patient story that reminds you why it's all worth it?

One of my favorite patient stories is when I was assigned to train a truck driver to do peritoneal dialysis (PD). The patient wanted to do PD so that he could continue working in order to provide for his family. There were a few barriers that we had to overcome. The patient worked in remote areas and wouldn’t always be around running water in order to wash his hands for his exchanges. Another barrier was that he would need to perform exchanges in his truck while he was out in the field. After the week of training, I went to his place of work to create the environment in his truck so that I could see if he could safely perform exchanges. I’m proud to say that this patient has never experienced any complications on PD and is still successfully doing PD.

What are your favorite hobbies and/or pastimes outside of nursing?

I used to like to go hiking. These days my favorite hobby is going on long stroller walks with my new baby. I love that he wears his little sunglasses and enjoys being outdoors as much as I do. I also enjoy yoga.

Share an interesting fact about yourself.

I am a cancer survivor. I decided to become a nurse because of my own medical history. I hope to be as compassionate as the nurses who cared for me during a difficult time in my life.

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