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Nephrology Social Worker Program Highlights

This program will address the psychosocial aspects of kidney care and is designed for all experience and expert levels -- novice, experienced, and veteran -- and all nephrology practice settings. This year's program has been engineered to provide a varied curriculum that addresses the multi-layered nature and mechanics of contemporary, ever-evolving nephrology social work by:

  • Offering sessions that develop the craft of those involved in direct patient care, leadership, research, and policy
  • Featuring a faculty whose expertise is relevant and established as well as innovatory.

Implicit and recurring concepts across the 2015 Program content include Clinical Efficiency, Effective Care Planning, and Treatment Ethics.


Nephrology Social Work 101: Designed as an intensive overview for new Nephrology Social Workers, this 4-hour course will provide the attendee with knowledge and expertise. It is also necessary for the experienced Social Worker to obtain Nephrology Social Worker Certification (NSW-C).

Micro Clinical Skills: Engaging and Staying Present with Your Patient: Who better than 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stephanie Johnstone and founder/originator of "Symptom Targeted Interventions for ESRD" Melissa McCool to provide Nephrology Social Workers with training and tools to enhance clinical intervention skills that positively affect outcomes and quality-of-life? This session focuses on defining the skills needed, assessing your own strengths and opportunities for growth, and designing a personal plan to continue to evolve clinically as you work with patients.

Violence in the Dialysis Setting: Prevention, Immediate Intervention, and Post-Incident Management: Designed for leaders and all members of the Interdisciplinary Team and floor staff, this training course examines the prevalence and incidence of threatened and actual violence based on a national study that the course directors have conducted. This session focuses on identifying the characteristics of a potential perpetrator of violence, defining incidence and parameters of perceived/actual threats or acts of violence in the nephrology setting, and discussing how to reduce risk and handle an incident of violent behavior. Tools include a framework for decision making and a model of violence management within the continuum of prevention, immediate intervention, and post-incident management.


For the New Nephrology Social Worker: In addition to the pre-conference course Nephrology Social Work 101, new practitioners will be interested in courses related to developing best practices and the utilization of industry tools, such as Constructing Plan of Care Statements and Timelines, Skill Development as a Mandated Reporter, Compassionate Care for Challenging Situations (Conflict Management), ESRD Survey Readiness, Coping Skill Education, Motivational Interviewing for Dialysis Adherence, and Guided Tour of the Research Posters.

For the Experienced Nephrology Social Worker: Sessions designed to hone experienced skill sets includes such presentations as Reducing Non-Adherence to Dialysis with a Psychodynamic Intervention, Applying Learning Theory to Nephrology Social Work Interventions, Mental Illness Dialysis Care Planning, and Negotiating Task Transition for Quality-of-Life, Rehabilitation, and Improved Adherence Behavior.

Ethics Content: A total of 7.5 contact hours which includes sessions such as Withholding Dialysis Due to Cognitive Impairment; Altruism to Obligation with the Living Donor; and, Ethics in ESRD Modality Choice. All sessions meet the ethics requirements for NSW-C certification/renewal.

For the Pediatric Nephrology Social Worker: Sessions include, Pediatric Toolkit A-to-Z, How to Talk to Children About Dialysis and Transplant, Enhancing Self-Management with Fun and Games, and Ethical and Cultural Implications of Undocumented Children with CKD.

For the Transplant Social Worker: Sessions pertinent to kidney transplant include, Transplant Update for Social Workers in Dialysis Settings, Guiding Hispanics and African Americans Towards Transplant and Home Modalities, Talking to Children About Dialysis and Transplant, and ethics session Altruism to Obligation with the Living Donor.