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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Angela Taylor-Smith, BSN, RN, CNN
Home Therapy Nurse
Fresenius Medical Care
Lawrenceville, GA
Dogwood Chapter #224

 

How long have you been in nursing? 

Since 1995.

How long have you been in nephrology?

Since 2000.

Why do you love nephrology?  

I love nephrology because of the long-term professional relationships that develop with clients and their family. I remember times when I worked in the hospital or affiliated medical facilities and I never had the time to build a relationship with the client like I do in home therapy. Being a home dialysis nurse allows me to have the one-on-one time to know each of my clients on a professional and personal level. Home therapies has increased my passion as a nurse, and I am able to apply what I learned in nursing school to their lives. I feel privileged to be a nurse and able to change lives by making a difference through listening to my clients, providing care, collaborating with family members, providing education, and being a resource or support person to help them lead in their health care. Nephrology nursing gives me the opportunity to inspire clients on a different level through an extended relationship.

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

My favorite benefit of being an ANNA member is being a volunteer leader. I became a volunteer leader because someone asked me. If Dr. Loretta Jackson Brown had not asked me to become the Dogwood Chapter President-Elect, I probably would not be the person I am today. I would have been the person still sitting in the audience watching. I served as president-elect for 2 years, which led to the role of chapter president for 3 years. The role of chapter president led to being nominated for the Board of Directors Award and several other awards and led to an award-winning chapter. I chose to continue to volunteer because I wanted to learn more about an organization that empowers me and allows me to be creative, have vision, and help others. I volunteered for different ANNA committees, projects, and other nephrology organizations (Conferences Committee, Awards and Scholarships Committee, ANNA Chapter Support Team, National Kidney Walk-Atlanta, ESRD HIT Project, and more). The reason I love ANNA is because it gives me a purpose. I have a purpose to inspire myself professionally and personally and to inspire others. I believe that I am fulfilling ANNA’s mission to “improve members’ lives through education, advocacy, networking, and science.” The ANNA National Symposium, Fall Meeting, and Online Library offer the education to provide quality care to the clients and the community we serve as nurses. Each event I am learning more about evidence-based practice, new technology, and what I can do to be a servant leader. I enjoy networking with other professionals who have the same purpose to carry out ANNA’s mission. One way I have participated in the mission is by being involved in Capitol Hill Day, advocating for our clients by meeting with representatives for my state. Being a volunteer leader and attending the ANNA events are fun, fulfilling, and have given me an extended family around the world. When we are together, it is like one big family reunion.

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

In 2005, I held a treatment option class. A retired married couple attended this event, and 2 years later the husband started on peritoneal dialysis-CAPD. I was his nurse for 9 years until he passed away. What I love about this couple is they worked as a team to support each other. His wife never missed his clinic or physician appointment. The client followed the recommendations to live a better quality of life on PD and followed his physician orders. The client and his wife set a routine for his dialysis. He did his CAPD exchanges four times a day, and his wife sat in his dialysis room and wrote down his treatment data. His wife would create meals or desserts high in protein to give to her husband and share with the dialysis clinic. On the days he could not eat, he made sure he had protein throughout the day. The client and the wife understood the importance of staying healthy on PD with good protein intake. They were an amazing couple, and he never had peritonitis. The client would always say: "Why go to the doctor if you are not going to listen?"

In 2016, he passed away in the hospital. He had everything pre-arranged for his funeral and his family did not have to do anything but sign papers. His wife said to me that her husband told her to make sure she continues to check up on me. The second Tuesday of the month was their day to come to the clinic for 9 years. His wife would make an appointment to drive the long distance to come and see me on that day even if it was just to stop by and say hello. If she could not make it, then she would call. She would say: “Angela, you have been part of our family for a very long time and my husband adored you.”

I share this story because my purpose of becoming a nurse comes from the clients and their family members’ appreciation of the care I provide. If I do my job right, then my clients can be successful and our relationship can extend beyond the care provided. It’s important to build those relationships with the client and their family members so they think of you even when the client’s life situation changes – whether it is moving to another state, changing to in-center hemodialysis, or the family seeing you as valuable when their loved one passes away.

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

I love to enjoy life. I travel to different place and find new adventures. I create different projects for people such as flyers, slideshows, and more. I enjoy sharing information with others. I enjoy attending church and participating in events to serve others. My best pastime is creating memories with my family.

What’s an interesting fact about you?

An interesting fact about me was my fear to present information in front of others. When I served as a chapter president-elect, I had no choice but to speak and engage with an audience. Ironically, I was an A student in public speaking in college. Now, I enjoy speaking about fun and informational topics. ANNA has pushed me to speak in front of others. I created audible ANNA PowerPoint presentations, spoke at the ANNA Volunteer Leaders Workshop, spoke on behalf of ANNA for other organizations, served at the ANNA exhibit booth, wrote articles, and so much more. Now, I push myself because you will only get better through opportunities and learning from your mistakes. I cannot worry about what others are going to say, because if I do not jump then I will never get over the hurdle in front of me. 

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