Nephrology, or the branch of medicine that deals with the diseases and normal functions of kidneys, may be one of the most important medical specialties you have never heard of until now. People dedicate their entire careers to it, and there’s even a day of the week (National Nephrology Nurses Week) meant to celebrate nurses that practice it.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- When is National Nephrology Nurses Week?
- What is National Nephrology Nurses Week?
- Activity Ideas for National Nephrology Nurses Week
- National Nephrology Nurses Week Gift Ideas
The nursing association built around nephrology nurses who help patients with kidney diseases is called the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). They’ve set aside a full week in September each year to honor these nurses. Thanks to this weeklong celebration, people get a chance to thank their nephrology nurses, and people can learn more about nephrology from the experts.
Interested in learning more about nephrology or looking to celebrate the hard work of nurses who work to save valuable organs?
When is National Nephrology Nurses Week?
Every year, much like Thanksgiving, all you have to do is count from the first day of the month to know when National Nephrology Nurses Week happens. You can usually count on celebrations starting in the second full week of September.
See the dates below so you can plan ahead:
- 2021: September 12-18
- 2022: September 11-18
- 2023: September 10-16
- 2024: September 8-14
- 2025: September 14-20
What is National Nephrology Nurses Week?
This week was started as an effort to honor hardworking nurses who sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s hard to become a famous doctor in the first place! Unless you have a TV show, or discovered something groundbreaking, it’s hard to become famous as a doctor. That’s even more true for nurses. Often, they are seen as the hardworking supporting staff for doctors and the ones who also spend the most time with a patient.
ANNA wanted to fix that. By setting aside the second week of September to honor them, the organization had an opportunity to shine light on their nurses and attract others to the profession.
How it all got started
The American Nephrology Nurses Association was founded in 1969. During that time, nursing was a popular profession for women. In 1969, the scope of women’s professional opportunities was rapidly expanding, but nursing was still overwhelmingly female. It was difficult to get their accomplishments and work recognized.
That’s how this week got started. It was designated as a time to celebrate and bring honor to some of the most special nurses in the field.
How to celebrate
Depending on your situation, you can celebrate in a variety of ways. Are you an employer? Or are you a head nurse in your department? Maybe you’re a loved one that wants to celebrate them during their special week!
These factors dictate how you can celebrate. Given your circumstances, a personalized gift might be a great idea. With a week’s worth of time, you can give gifts and also host a hospital-wide event in their honor. Below, we’ve gathered some ideas for you to celebrate!
Activity Ideas for National Nephrology Nurses Week
Hosting an activity is a great way to commemorate the week. If you run the hospital or employ nephrology nurses, you’ve got a great opportunity to recognize them.
Host an event in their honor
Who doesn’t love a party in their honor? If you have the resources and the authority, you can make this a hospital or community-wide event. Depending on how far you like to plan in advance, you can go a few different ways with this event. For starters, you could go all out and host a formal party. Dancing, dinner, the whole nine yards.
If you don’t have the time or resources, consider other options. What about a laid-back potluck? Or a spoken-word poetry night? It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Set up a display
Not everyone knows what nephrology nurses do. Unless you have a kidney problem, you might not have known that such a career existed. If that’s the case, then other people might not either. Public education is key, and it’s a great way to make sure that nephrology nurses receive the respect they deserve.
This display could take a few different turns. You could set it up at the entrance to the hospital, or put it in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. With a posterboard display or a few props that a nephrology nurse might actually use in their profession, you could make this informative for both adults and kids.
Request a proclamation
Of course, the American Nephrology Nurses Association has already taken care of this for you. But if you don’t have an active chapter, you can contact your city or state representatives. That way, they can make a proclamation.
Depending on the size of the town or state you live in, you could contact the mayor or the governor. If you’re crunched for time, you might have better luck with a smaller local representative, such as a mayor.
They can hold a press conference, make an official announcement, or garner more attention in the local papers.
Adding a pin to a set of nursing scrubs isn’t a big deal. But it can draws a lot of attention, especially to patients that you see every few hours. So many people interact with each member of a hospital staff each day. And if everyone’s wearing pins, that draws the attention you want.
Making a simple set of customized pins is very inexpensive. And if you order enough for everyone on your floor, or in the entire facility, you might get a bulk discount. These pins can be simple, saying something like “We’re celebrating National Nephrology Nurses Week!”
You can store these pins after the week is over, and reuse them next year.
Invite nursing students
Nursing students are at a critical time in their lives. They’re trying to decide on the next step in their education and in their careers. That means that one tour could offer a new opportunity for them to specialize.
During this week of celebration, you can invite nursing students from nearby educational facilities. They can tour the facilities, or spend the day shadowing a nephrology nurse. This is a great way to recognize what a worthy choice a career like this could be.
National Nephrology Nurses Week Gift Ideas
If you don’t work in the medical industry yourself, you can probably keep your celebration small-scale. Picking out the perfect gift for the nephrology nurse in your life is a great way to celebrate.
Finding gifts for doctors or nurses might be a little challenging, but it’s a great time to get creative!
Nurses often serve as a jack-of-all-trades. They provide medical and emotional support, console families, and help patients through hard times. Caregiver books are a great gift because they recognize the emotional labor a nurse puts in each day.
There are some great nonfiction and memoir titles, available at bookstores everywhere that you could select.
With this type of gift, your loved one can take the celebration to work with them. Putting together a varied gift basket is a great thing for them to take to work.
You can put in lots of items, and it doesn’t have to be fruit and chocolate! What about a pair of compression socks, or a stethoscope tag, or a gift card to a nearby salon? Putting a lot of small items in the basket is a great idea for all their coworkers.
A vacation doesn’t need to be lavish. But what better way to appreciate their hard work than to give them the gift of a day off? Even if you can’t afford to go to a fancy tropical resort, check out some local attractions. Spend the day skiing, have a spa day, or do a coffeeshop crawl.
Even if it’s one day off, spent in your local area, it’s still a great way to celebrate the work they put in year-round.
Many nephrology nurses are proud of their profession, and rightfully so! They can proclaim their job to the world, even if they’re not in a lab coat or a pair of scrubs. There are lots of cozy custom sweatshirts and t-shirts available.
With fun slogans that declare their profession, these are a great gift for someone who’s put their whole life into nursing.
Healthcare is a challenging field. And giving healthcare books is a great way to show support, care, and give them resources for continuing education.
Some books in this field are memoirs. Others are educational. Depending on what your loved one likes to read, either one might be a great option.
Showing Support for Nurses
From giving great news to helping a patient start end-of-life planning, nephrology nurses do it all. Helping them celebrate a week dedicated to their job is a great way to show your pride and support.
- American Nephrology Nurses Association. “Nephrology Nurses Week.” n.d., www.annanurse.org/events/nephrology-nurses-week