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Resources on Kidney Health for Nurse Practitioners

Observing National Kidney Month

Improve chronic kidney disease outcomes with these resources.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is commonly known as “the silent disease.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “As many as 9 in 10 adults with CKD do not know they have it.” Unfortunately, CKD is not just quiet, but common. In the U.S., more than 1 in 7 adults (about 35.5 million people) are estimated to have the disease. Patients with diabetes or high blood pressure are at an even greater risk than most — nearly one-third of people with diabetes and one-fifth of those with high blood pressure have kidney disease. This National Kidney Month, learn more about nurse practitioners (NPs) working in nephrology and how you can raise awareness of CKD all year round.

Meeting Patient Needs in Nephrology

How do NPs factor into kidney care and improving CKD outcomes? In the article, “The Changing Landscape of Nephrology Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners” for The Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners®, Jane Davis, CRNP, DNP, and Kim Zumber, PA-C, MS, write, “The nephrology provider workforce has a supply and demand imbalance.” As the patient volume and care needed by this population have increased, there has been a resulting “explosion of job opportunities for PAs, CNSs, and NPs in nephrology.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) works to support nephrology NPs and NPs interested in this expanding field with resources and information about the kidneys — including continuing education (CE) related to nephrology. One of the ways in which AANP members can engage in this subject is through the AANP Urology and Nephrology Community. In his introduction to this community, co-chair Timothy Ray, DNP, FNP-BC, CNN-NP, states, “As a nephrology NP for many years, I’ve worked hard to encourage and educate other NPs about nephrology, as it can be a very confusing and often intimidating field of health care.”

Fortunately, NPs are working to enhance quality of life for patients beset by both CKD and diabetes. Ray is joined by Debbie Hinnen, APN, BC-ADM, CDCES, FAAN, FADCES, on various episodes of NP Pulse: The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner® discussing CKD and Type 2 Diabetes (episode 20, Chronic Kidney Disease and Type 2 Diabetes), and the intersection of CKD and diabetes (episode 32, Management of Diabetic Kidney Disease). Their unique perspectives as both kidney experts and NPs — and their conversational, patient-centric approach to their topics — make both episodes relevant to NPs in any specialization.

Observing National Kidney Month

“You can lose up to 60% of your kidney function before you notice any problems,” states the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Without easy-to-spot symptoms, it is up to patients and providers alike to break the silence of CKD. That’s why this National Kidney Month, the NIDDK is rallying for patients to get to know their kidneys in order to protect those “two fist-sized, bean-shaped organs that work around the clock” to keep them healthy.

In addition to videos, toolkits and other resources for patients, NIDDK also has various helpful resources for health care providers looking to raise awareness and improve kidney health outcomes. These tools will allow you to identify and manage patients with CKD, learn more about laboratory evaluations essential to CKD diagnosis and talk to patients about their kidney health. AANP also offers a toolkit on CKD on the Urology and Nephrology therapeutic area webpage, featuring infographics on the connection between kidney function and anemia, the evaluation of CKD and treatment of these conditions.

Recognize the Burden of Anemia Among Patients With CKD

Earn one contact hour (CH) of CE credit when you complete Chronic Kidney Disease-Associated Anemia Treatment: Scientific Advances for Healthcare Providers in the AANP CE Center. Available until June 20, 2024, this activity will enable you to learn more about the pathophysiology and management of anemia in CKD, the latest science surrounding the pathogenesis of CKD-related anemia and ways to address health care disparities.

Enroll Now