Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
Thank you for your membership in the Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP). As a charter member, your involvement in CAP will be integral in the development of our Council. Over the past several years, NKF has recognized the growing need to educate nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and physician assistants (PAs), and to expand its professional base beyond nephrology nurses & technicians, social workers, and dietitians as part of its mission to continually support and elevate the level of kidney patient care.
CAP will continue to develop its Web site and our e-newsletter will be sent and posted to the site quarterly. You will also be receiving information on using our interactive listserv, where CAP members can discuss issues in nephrology. The listserv was created so that CAP members may solicit information and opinions from fellow advanced practitioners, as well as field questions and discuss issues relevant to nephrology. The listserv also allows us the opportunity to inform you of important events and activities relevant to NKF-CAP members. We hope that you find this a helpful tool for gathering information and advice about nephrology!
As a charter member, you have the opportunity to give input that will help develop CAP, so please contact any member of the Executive Committee with any questions, ideas or comments. Contact information is available at right and on the Web site.
We look forward to your continued involvement in CAP.
Kim Zuber, PAC, MSPS
by Kim Zuber, PAC, MSPS
For many years, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) felt as though they never really had a “niche” within the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). When PAs joined NKF, they were directed to the physician membership category and NPs were directed to the Council of Nephrology Nurses & Technicians. Neither group fit the specific needs of advanced practitioners (PAs, NPs and CNSs), and the chance for dialogue between the groups was lost.
In 2004, Barbara Weis-Malone, BSN, RN, MSN, CFNP, reached across this divide and invited me (as the first PA) to help lead a roundtable discussion at NKF Spring Clinical Meetings. The roundtable was held at the same time as the K/DOQI updates, so we hoped to attract 20-25 people. We were stunned to see more than 100 NPs and PAs come together to discuss our roles. We discovered that we had more in common than we had differences. We also realized that each of these groups was frustrated by a lack of its own membership category.
From this auspicious start, a PA and NP joined forces to put together a CME directed at advanced practitioners. We started small, 1-2 hours each day, for the 2006 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings in Chicago. We were thrilled with the response but ran into technical problems: CME vs. CEU, where to list the programs so each group could find them (did they go in the physician or nursing directory?), etc.
In Chicago, we held Nephrology 201, a full day of lectures directed at the practicing PA/NP/CNS, to a sold-out crowd. Everyone was clamoring for more, so NKF took notice and responded to our needs. The advanced practice community was excited, energized and eager to become more involved.
In 2007, the Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP) was inaugurated by NKF Executive Committee and a new home was found for PAs, NPs and CNSs. At the 2008 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings in Dallas, months of planning came to fruition as CAP was established with an Executive Committee. We worked to define and develop the Council rules and regulations, set goals, and began member recruitment. CAP received an enthusiastic reception at their first luncheon, where the mood was electric with people offering ideas and suggestions.
We welcome all advanced practitioners to join us as we navigate new waters and respond to our peers, our patients and our communities.
by Jane Davis, CRNP, MSN
Kim Zuber, PAC, MSPS
Webster’s defines exuberant as joyously enthusiastic and produced in extreme abundance. If ever a name fit a person, then Kim Zuber’s name fits her perfectly. She is a bundle of energy and never seems to lose her enthusiasm and zest for new projects.
Kim assumed the duties of Chairperson of CAP in May, and has a long history of professional organization involvement. For seven years, she served as the liaison from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) to the Renal Physicians Association (RPA) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). She was named a 2008 Distinguished Fellow of the AAPA in recognition of her hard work and dedication. She has also earned recognition from NKF of the National Capital Area, American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the American Academy of Nephrology Physician Assistants (AANPA).
All this is pretty impressive for a person who began as a bat researcher in Costa Rica! After graduating from University of California San Diego with a degree in molecular biology, she pursued her interest in bats but was literally blown out of the project when her study area was bombed as part of the Nicaraguan civil war.
Kim decided human beings were much safer and enrolled in the St. Louis University School Physician Assistant (PA) Program. She then went on to receive her Master of Science from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Laurie Benton, RN, PA-C, BS, MPAS
Western women have long been known for their resilience, strength and fortitude, and Laurie Benton has it all. She has spent the last 27 years in medicine and is known for her knowledge, skill and enthusiasm. Not only is she an outstanding nephrology PA, she is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a Critical Care Nurse and a Major in the Texas State Guard.
Laurie began as a volunteer fire fighter and EMT, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Administration from Kennedy Western/Warren National University of California. Along the way, she garnered Associate degrees in nursing, paramedic medicine, science and arts.
Her journey began in 1981 as an EMT in Oregon and has taken her across three states and several positions in trauma critical care, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery to her present position as a Nephrology/Hypertension/Internal Medicine PA-C at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas.
She attended the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine and also received a Bachelor of Clinical Health Services degree there. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a Masters of Cardiothoracic Surgery Physician Assistant. She practiced in Washington and Oregon as both a RN and a PA prior to moving to Texas.
In medicine, there is an old saying “See, Do, Teach” and Laurie exemplifies this. She is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Neonatal Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, Fundamental Critical Care Support and as a Trauma Nurse Critical Care. She definitely is the person to have if you are stranded on an island.
These skills have been translated into training and educating medical personnel. She has served as an instructor at Pacific University in Oregon and is currently Associate Professor at Texas A&M University. Laurie has the unique ability to master a skill and to be able to pass it on to others. She serves on numerous CME committees to advance the education NPs and PAs in areas ranging from hospital medicine to critical care to nephrology.
She has served as coordinator for the CME programs for advanced practice, including Nephrology 201, for NKF. It should come as no surprise, then, that she was selected to be the CAP Chairperson for Continuing Education. She has been the lead author and co-author of numerous articles and has been published in Nephrology News and Issues, Surgical Physician Assistant, American Journal of Surgery and other professional publications. Laurie presents education programs on a wide variety of topics ranging from setting up a CKD clinic to wound care. Current projects include a teaching manual for Conduit Harvesting, Critical Care Procedures and a patient education primer for CKD.
As if that isn’t enough to keep three people busy, she actually has spare time. She lives on a ranch (this is Texas) and is actively involved in animal rescue. At last count, she had 16 cats, 9 horses, 3 dogs and 4 ducks plus an assortment of wild critters.
by Laurie Benton
Several years ago, sessions for advanced practitioners at the NKF Spring Meetings were few in number. Attendees went to physician or nursing programs. Gradually, the number of offerings increased and we now have a full schedule devoted solely to advanced practitioners. The topics are popular, as evidenced by the large attendance numbers at the 2008 sessions in Dallas. We had originally underestimated, and extra chairs had to be brought in for nearly every program attended by all specialties.
In addition to the scheduled meetings, NKF 2007 Spring Clinical Meetings in Chicago marked the first Nephrology 201 course. This is a full day, covering advanced practitioner-specific topics of interest which has also proved to be extremely successful.
NKF 2009 Spring Clinical Meetings and Nephrology 201 will live up to and most likely surpass previous offerings. The planning committee, headed by Laurie Benton and including Elaine Go, Tricia Howard and Jeanne Thacker, has already been hard at work developing topics and lining up speakers.