You are here

Nephrology Social Worker Program Highlights

The Nephrology Social Worker Program is designed to develop attendee proficiency for addressing the psychosocial aspects of kidney care, and is devised for all experience and expert levels -- novice, experienced, and veteran – as well as for all Nephrology Social Work practice settings.  Each session is constructed to maximize learning and to enhance practice skills -- interactive, dynamic, analytic, guided by specific CEU-approved course objectives, and conducted by a faculty member recognized as a leader and expert in the national Nephrology Social Work community.

The 2016 Program has been engineered to provide a wide-ranging curriculum that addresses the complex and multi-layered nature and mechanics of contemporary, ever-evolving professional Nephrology Social Work by offering attendees sessions that develop the craft and prowess of those who serve in direct patient care, in leadership and administration, as well as in research and policy. 

Implicit and recurring concepts across the 2016 Program content include Updated Guidelines, Caseload Management, and The Power of Data.


Nephrology Social Work 101: Designed as an intensive for new Nephrology Social Workers, this 4-hour course doubles as an overview of the knowledge and expertise necessary for the experienced to obtain Nephrology Social Worker Certification (NSW-C).

Building Skills to Manage the Most Difficult Patient Situations as a Team: This course is designed to offer the attendee an understanding of the challenges associated with encountering mental illness and difficult patient behavior in the dialysis treatment environment, as well as tools for building mastery of those challenges as a team.  Topics include, managing challenging patient behavior; the unique challenges associated with confronting mental illness in dialysis units; and using a team approach to enhance effectiveness, support, and consistency.

This Ain’t No Tea Party: A Four-Hour Mindfulness Journey: This four hour mindfulness meditative course is designed to offer the attendee the unique opportunity to explore the concepts of anger, pain, authenticity, judgement, connection, and suffering in a safe setting.  Participants are invited to practice a variety of meditative techniques in this interactive experiential course that creatively parallels the trajectory of CKD as well as the hemodialysis treatment session -- and the arc of a relationship.  Topics include, increasing compassion as a professional caregiver; reflecting on the dialysis journey and understanding the meaning of suffering; identifying and experiencing key mindfulness and Tonglen meditative practices; and touching one’s heart.  This contemplative course will be intertwined with readings, poetry, music, silence, and gentle movement. 

Violence in Dialysis and Transplant Settings: Prevention, Immediate Intervention, and Post-Incident Management: Designed for leaders, all members of the Interdisciplinary Team, and floor personnel, this training course examines the prevalence and incidence of threatened and actual violence based on a national study that the course directors have conducted.  Topics cover, 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 ways 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, How I Teach My Patients about Depression; Treatment Options Education: Mapping Dialysis Modalities Onto Lifestyle; Monthly Lab Value Results: Nephrology Social Work Interventions; Tools for Managing Persons with Dementia During Treatment; Depression Screening Tools: Policy and Nephrology Social Work Interventions; and a Guided Tour of the Exhibit Hall Research Posters.

For the Experienced Nephrology Social Worker: Sessions designed to hone experienced skill sets includes such presentations as STI in Action: Trainings, Applications, and Results; Motivational Interviewing in Dialysis Adherence Study; Building an Inter-Professional Bridge: Dialysis Unit Social Worker - Nephrologist Collaboration; Mindfulness and Patient Sexuality; and Hands-on Research Guidance: Learn the Steps to Create a Poster for the Exhibit Hall.

Ethics Content:  A total of 6.0 contact hours which includes the following sessions:  When Contradictory Expectations of Patients, Staff, and Corporations Clash; When Family Function and Dynamics Interfere With the Transplant Plans; Support of Renal Patients and Families Facing End-of-Life Care Decisions: A Nephrology Social Worker's Reflection; and, Transplantation Start to Finish: Who Gets the Kidney?  All sessions meet the ethics requirements for NSW-C certification/renewal.

For the Pediatric Nephrology Social Worker: The Pediatrics Track includes the following specialized sessions:  Pediatrics Quality-of-Life, When Family Function and Dynamics Interfere with the Transplant Plans; Pediatric Transition of Care: The Early Years in ESRD; and Quality Assessment and Process Improvement: QAPI from Soup-to-Nuts.

For the Transplant Social Worker: Sessions pertinent to kidney transplant include Ready… Set… Wait…: The Time Between Listing and Transplant; Social Work Collaboration: A Powerful Tool to Enhance Care for Transplant Patients*; African American Transplant and Home Modalities Strategies; and Psychosocial Aspects of Living Kidney Donations and Role of the Living Donor Advocate.

*Exchange with the Society for Transplant Social Workers conference