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The American Nephrology Nurses' Association (ANNA) has designated September 14-20, 2008, as "Nephrology Nurses Week" to encourage employers, patients and others to thank the nurses who work tirelessly to save kidney patients' lives and improve care.

The event will be celebrated nationwide with activities recognizing and rewarding nephrology nurses, highly-educated specialists who care for patients with kidney disease. The theme for the week, "We Carry the Torch" symbolizes the light of hope and safety that nephrology nurses foster for their patients.

Nephrology nurses care for patients of all ages who have, or are at risk for, kidney disease. They must understand every system in the body and be familiar with many complex disease processes. Because treatment often spans many years, nurses, patients and families develop strong relationships and close bonds.

This will be the fourth year for the weeklong celebration, which ANNA launched so those who work with - or receive care from - nephrology nurses could show their appreciation. As in previous years, activities will include special events, luncheons, education programs, special presentations and proclamations from local governments.

"One of the many unique aspects of nephrology nursing is the relationship that develops between nurses and patients," said ANNA President Sue Cary, MN, APRN, NP, CNN. "This is why the nurses are so passionate about being patient advocates and providing the best care possible."

In addition to appreciating nurses with events in their honor, Cary said ANNA promotes the event to spark interest in other nurses about the multifaceted career opportunities available in nephrology.

About 20 million Americans suffer from kidney disease. Of those patients, over 400,000 experience kidney failure. Kidney disease affects all ages, races, cultures, social classes and religions. The rising number of people with kidney disease is in part attributed to the country's obesity epidemic, an alarming trend that has led to more cases of diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases are the leading causes of kidney failure.

More information about the work of nephrology nurses, the Nephrology Nurses Week celebration and resources to enhance the recognition event, such as posters, pins and T-shirts are available at

ANNA is a professional nursing association with over 12,000 members. Its mission is to advance nephrology nursing practice and positively influence outcomes for patients with kidney disease through advocacy, scholarship, and excellence.

American Nephrology Nurses' Association