The pivotal role of kidney nurses in managing kidney disease

EDTNA/ERCA is 1 of the 5 full members of EKHA. Eveline Scheres, EKHA General Manager, together with Jeanette Finderup, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Associate Professor and member of the EDTNA/ERCA scientific board, delivered a talk on the pivotal role of kidney nurses in managing kidney diseases, at the 51st International Congress of EDTNA/ERCA. Furthermore they collected messages from the kidney nurses to be delivered to a new EU mandate.

To kick off the meeting, participants were ‘tested’ on their knowledge of the European Union, EKHA’s field of work. Then, in an active dialogue, it was established that kidney nurses can play a pivotal role in kidney disease and (self)management, both towards the patient as the conduit of information and as part of a multidisciplinary team in the hospital. This because they have the knowledge and behaviour: about the patient (also on a personal level, they speak the patient’s language) but also about the disease and how to deal with it.

Furthermore, various ways of providing information to patients in order to better manage their disease were suggested, such as protocols, information material and discussions with colleagues. However, there is still an urgent need for uniform, clear and validated information that takes into account different cultures. The overload of existing (digital) information of which you do not always know if it is reliable, fuels this need.  A good ‘toolbox’ could help with this.  The basic concept for such an information toolbox as presented at the meeting was therefore received with enthusiasm.

Basic concept self-management toolbox:

A platform that brings together already existing and validated information on CKD and aims to inform about the functioning of the kidney and treatment of the disease at all stages (from prevention to end-stage). It also provides experience-based knowledge from people living with kidney disease or those caring for someone with kidney disease.

Finally, participants were asked the following question: imagine standing in front of the EU commission tomorrow and being given the chance to give one message on kidney care to the EU commission, which one would it be? In summary, these were the answers given to it:

  • Haemodialysis nurses should have specialised training like Intensive Care nurses
  • More funding for specialised nursing and healthcare in general.
  • Nursing is a profession with many high-quality competencies that can contribute to the prevention of kidney disease, promote health and thereby reduce the cost of the healthcare system.
  • Recognise and harmonise the role of nurses as a speciality in all countries.
  • Kidney nurses as a specialisation as a master’s degree should be recognised for all countries
  • Nurses should be more involved in discussions and decisions.

The meeting ended with a promise that EKHA will continue to work to give a platform to the voice of kidney nurses in Europe.