ANNA Member Spotlight

Welcome to ANNA's monthly member spotlight. ANNA is a vibrant organization because of nurses like you! Your diverse experiences and unique perspectives make us a collective whole that is a masterpiece. We are proud of all the work each of you do.

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Gail Dewald, BS, RN, CNN

San Antonio, TX
ANNA Alamo City Chapter #205

How long have you been in nephrology?

32 years

Why do you love nephrology?  

Nephrology has been my passion since 1985 when I was hired and trained to be a hemodialysis staff nurse in a hospital-based outpatient dialysis center. Previously, I had spent 9 years as a pulmonary nurse and needed a change. What I found out about nephrology nursing in the chronic dialysis setting was that you aren’t successful without building a relationship with patients. You see them at least 12 hours a week so it is a “no brainer.” Building relationships with them allows you to gain their trust. Some even start listening to you (and that makes a big difference). I embrace being that teacher, coach, and mentor!

What is your favorite ANNA member benefit and/or what do you love about being a member of ANNA?

I joined ANNA in the late ‘80s after attending a few of the local meetings. I am so thankful that my work through ANNA and my day-to-day job give me that chance to share what I have learned and make a difference for nephrology nurses and patients. I also push myself for continuous learning. I stay active in ANNA, other nephrology organizations, and patient organizations. Through my mentors and friends, I have gained so much knowledge and career satisfaction. ANNA has been an essential part of my career path.

Do you have a favorite patient story that reminds you why it's all worth it?

I recall a patient “Robert” who was new to dialysis and showed up for his first treatment. The fear in his face was immense. I was the manager of the clinic but made sure that I was always the first one to greet (and cannulate) the new patients. He did fine on that first treatment and was fairly happy until one day when another patient got a transplant before him. He was SO angry; he felt betrayed that he wasn’t first in line. His blood pressure was sky high. His anger lasted for weeks as we worked with him and his wife. Within the next 6 months he “got the call.” Weeks later he came back to visit and said, “Gail, you were right. I waited and I received a perfect match kidney, just like you thought I would. I am so ashamed that I was so ugly to you and the staff. Thank you for putting up with me.” I thought: “This job just doesn’t get better than this!”

What are your favorite hobbies and/or pastimes outside of nursing?

I love to travel and meet new people, cooking and entertaining, photography, and holidays with ALL the grandchildren! I also love the support and mentoring I get from all my best friends - each one an ANNA member!