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New network to be set up for renal specialist nurses

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The British Renal Society (BRS) has said it intends to set up the first UK association for renal nurses to provide a much-needed voice for those working in the field of kidney care.

The move follows a survey by the BRS, completed by nearly 250 renal nurses, which found 67% did not belong to any association and 98% felt that a UK body would be useful.

“There is no single voice representing either registered or non-registered nurses working in the field of nephrology”

Karen Jenkins and Paula Ormandy

A focus group of more than 30 renal nurses held at the BRS’s annual conference this year also demonstrated “overwhelming support” for the idea, according to a paper recently published in the Journal of Kidney Care.

In the journal, BRS vice presidents Karen Jenkins and Paula Ormandy argued that a UK renal nurse association would give kidney care nurses “a voice” to help them advance patient care, deliver professional education, influence policy and “ensure the nursing workforce continues to develop to meet patients’ needs”.

“The UK has no formal renal nurse association, meaning there is no single voice representing either registered or non-registered nurses working in the field of nephrology,” they said in the article.

“Renal nurses therefore have a limited and quiet voice with respect to influencing key aspects of the renal workforce, policy, clinical practice and professional education,” they noted.

Nurses who took part in the BRS survey were asked to identify the five most important activities of a renal nurse association.

In all, 85% said a key priority should be to have a “strong nursing voice leading and influencing renal care in the UK”.

Three quarters said it should develop evidence-based nursing guidelines to inform high quality care, while 39% said it should set standards for competency and skill mix within multi-disciplinary teams.

The survey also revealed roughly two out of five renal nurses had not attended a kidney care conference.

“This was quite shocking considering the size of the renal nursing workforce and the seniority of the nurses who had responded to the questionnaire,” said the article’s authors.

“Funding and support from managers seemed to be the biggest obstacle to attending,” they said. “The main attraction for nurses to attend a renal specific conference is the educational content on the agenda.”

The BRS has appealed for nurses who are keen to get involved in establishing an association to get in touch and register their interest.

The association told Nursing Times that it was currently “still in the very early stages” of establishing the new group.

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