Reflections from Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium (PRYSM)

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium (PRYSM) sponsored by the American College of Rheumatology. PRYSM is a conference solely devoted to the care of children with Rheumatic diseases; four days, all kids, all the time, I was in heaven.

Sessions were held on a wide variety of topics including updates on Lupus, imaging in TMJ arthritis, interstitial lung disease in sJIA and the new kid on the block, MIS-C (multi system inflammatory syndrome in children). Pediatric Rheumatology Fellows presented interesting case studies and round table discussions held true to the old adage that if you put 20 Rheumatologists in a room together you will get 20 different opinions on the same subject. The best and brightest clinicians and researchers shared an abundance of information to help improve the care of our littlest patients.

Two sessions caused me to pause and think long and hard on my role as Pediatric Rheumatology Nurse: Transitioning from pediatric to adult care and the global rheumatology work force shortage. It was clear that our physician counterparts understood the importance and struggle of improving our transitioning process as well as promoting the specialty of pediatric rheumatology in medical education. Although intense discussions were held on each subject, few solutions were identified. It is these two areas where I believe we as nurses, play a vital role. We are the frontline workers interacting daily with our patients, families, colleagues, community organizations… the list goes on. Are we positive role models? Do we promote our profession and our specialty? Do we share our success so others can benefit?

I challenge myself and all of you; how do we make the transition process smooth as silk? How do we promote rheumatology as a specialty nursing students and colleagues? We are nurses; compassionate, creative, innovative, advocates and leaders. We have the solution within us. Together we will rise to the occasion to improve the care and wellbeing of all our patients, no matter their age.

Barbara Kienzle, BSN, RN
Augusta University’s Children’s Hospital of Georgia
Augusta, GA

Barbara Kienzle currently resides in Augusta, Georgia where she works as a pediatric rheumatology nurse clinician. She studied nursing at Iowa Wesleyan College and has been practicing rheumatology since 2010. Barbara contributed to the Rheumatology Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition, and serves as the Pediatric Chair on the RNS Chapter Development Team. Barbara serves as the Medical Director of Camp Joint Venture, a summer camp for children with rheumatic conditions. She firmly believes in being the voice for her patients, and their families, to ensure they get the medications and services necessary to treat their disease and cope with chronic illness. Her hope is to help bring the pediatric rheumatology nursing community together to be a strong united voice, raising awareness of the unique needs of the pediatric rheumatology population, especially to pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers.