President's Message

2020: The  Year of the Nurse

PhotoCould we ever have anticipated that 2020 – The Year of The Nurse – would be such a challenging time? In the face of a pandemic, nurses have stepped up and are meeting this challenge with compassion and courage. Not only are we serving on the frontlines of care delivery, we are conducting virtual research experiences, converting educational environments for online learning, and providing innovative telehealth alternatives (Thomas, 2020). Increased collaborations during the crisis have occurred; large dialysis organizations (LDOs) are partnering to protect end stage kidney disease patients and the nurses and caregivers that provide their life-sustaining treatment by creating a network of COVID-19 dialysis clinics (Livingston, 2020). It is going to take all of us working together to overcome this crisis.

Florence Nightingale would have celebrated her 200th birthday this year, and I believe she would be quite proud of some of the advances nursing has accomplished. Nurses are still considered the most trusted profession, and we are practicing and effecting change in a number of areas: research, education, specialty practice, and even areas conventionally reserved for doctors, such as anesthesia and surgery. You now can find nurses providing these services. Advocacy efforts for nursing safety and protection also have increased. As we face personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and infectious patient surges, nurses are taking the lead and speaking out!

State of the World’s Nursing Report

On April 7, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now released the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 Report. The report reflects data on the nursing workforce submitted by over 191 countries. I encourage you to read the report.

Go to the Report

Below are a few highlights of the report’s findings:

  • Nursing accounts for 59% of the worldwide health professions workforce.
  • Seventy-eight countries (53%) reported having advanced practice roles for nurses.
  • Most countries (86%) report having a designated body responsible for the regulation of nursing.
  • 71% of countries (82 out of 115) reported having a national nursing leadership position with responsibility for providing input into nursing and health policy (WHO, 2020).

These are important and encouraging facts. However, one concerning fact is that there is a global shortage of 5.9 million nurses (as of 2018). This is why nursing advocacy is vital. As the WHO report (2020) recommends, we must advocate to urge governments and relevant stakeholders to:

  • Invest in the massive acceleration of nursing education
  • Create at least six million new nursing jobs by 2030
  • Strengthen nurse leadership – both current and future leaders

Where Are We Now?

The Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health has taken a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic, or has it? When the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative was first announced in July 2019, the nephrology community was in a state of optimistic caution – excited about the focus on kidney care, but not sure how we could accomplish the ambitious goals outlined. In the face of the current pandemic, this Executive Order may have forced the nephrology community to think very differently about how we are practicing. We are seeing an increased consideration for home therapies, the use of telehealth has expanded exponentially, and I believe there will be a growing focus on kidney health – rather than kidney disease – education.

ANNA’s Commitment to You

I appreciate your commitment and dedication to your patients, their families, and your colleagues at this unprecedented time. It is an honor to serve as ANNA President, and it is ANNA’s mission to improve our members’ lives through education, advocacy, networking, and science.

Recognizing the importance of your well-being and emotional health, ANNA has made some additions on our website to support you, including a webpage dedicated to providing resources and updates regarding COVID-19 as well as a webpage that lists resources to support nurses’ mental health and well-being.

I also would like to share some suggested actions you might consider to help maintain a sense of well-being (Faith Bridge Inc., “6 Tips To Thrive Through COVID,” personal communication, March 31, 2020):

  1. Acknowledge Your Emotions. If you feel overwhelmed by information, take a break from the news and social media. Find activities that help you feel a sense of accomplishment (journal about how you are feeling, check off household chores, etc.)
  2. Stay Connected. Keep in touch with family and friends. Try to keep your conversations focused on fun, positive activities and news
  3. Get Your Blood Pumping. Go for a walk (if you are able), exercise, take a “dance break” – whatever activity motivates you to get your body moving.
  4. Practice Gratitude. Focus on the positive and the blessings in your life. Enjoy and celebrate the little things – your morning cup of coffee or tea, spring flowers in bloom, the rainbow after a storm, your child’s (or grandchild’s) laughter.
  5. Choose Joy. Take time to relax and do things that you enjoy. Try a new recipe, make plans for things you would like to do after this period of social distancing is over.
  6. Pray. For many, prayer is a way to stay grounded and help maintain a positive outlook (Faith Bridge, Inc., 2020).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV, 2011, Philippians 4:6-7)

Announcements and Leadership Transitions

The ANNA Board of Directors made the difficult decision to transition this year’s National Symposium to a fully virtual event to be held August 29-31, 2020. Despite the symposium rescheduling, we were able ensure that incoming 2020-2021 association leaders assumed their new roles and the recipients of the ANNA awards, scholarships, and grants were announced as planned on April 21, 2020 – the date originally scheduled for the Nephrology Nurse Recognition Luncheon and ANNA Business Meeting. Welcome to our new leaders, and congratulations to the ANNA members and chapter who were recognized with awards!

I also would like to acknowledge and thank the 2019-2020 ANNA volunteer leaders for your service to the association and the nephrology nursing specialty. You are the backbone of our organization! I am especially grateful to outgoing ANNA President Tamara Kear and the 2019-2020 Board of Directors for your contributions, dedication, and tenacity during this most interesting and challenging year.

The ANNA Board of Directors and National Office staff are engaging in new and exciting collaborations that will benefit you in the future, and we remain hopeful as we navigate these unchartered waters together.

Lillian Pryor, MSN, RN, CNN
2020-2021 ANNA President


References

The Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV). (2011). https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible

Livingston, S. (2020, April 1). DaVita, Fresenius partner to create network of COVID-19 dialysis clinics. Modern Healthcare. https://www.modernhealthcare.com/providers/davita-fresenius-partner-create-network-covid-19-dialysis-clinics

Thomas, L. (2020, April 3). Heath/Moreland: Nurses once again rising to the challenge. The Herald-Dispatch. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/Coronavirus/heath-Moreland-nurses-once-again-rising-to-the-challenge/article_7e5851ed-ba0c-540b-91d4-5ef04308ce2b.html

World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). State of the world’s nursing 2020: investing in education, jobs and leadership. https://www.who.int/publications-detail/nursing-report-2020