ANN UK is a non-profit making membership organisation that aims to provide support for registered and non-registered nurses through education, research, evidence-based practice and by setting national standards for nurses working in kidney care. 

Our Journey

ANN UK founded by three experienced renal nurses: Karen Jenkins, Dr Helen Hurst and Professor Paula Ormandy.

ANN UK affiliated to the British Renal Society
Executive Committee formed, with elected members and ratified at the ANN UK Annual General Meeting in 2019. Each board member is elected and serves a 3 year term with the option to extend for a further 3 years.

Work to develop an online renal course starts.

Special Interest Groups established for Nursing Research, Home Therapies.

Special Interest group for Acute Kidney Injury joined ANN UK

Recognised as key resource for nursing opinion by renal and non-renal national associations.

Developed Nursing workforce planning within BRS Workforce Planning Document.

Contributed to national guidance for providing haemodialysis in critical care , influencing use of Personal Protective Equipment, ensuring patient safety in haemodialysis units.

ANN UK representation on national leadership groups for COVID-19

Real time support offered for lead nurses working in kidney care through an active WhatsApp group.
ANN UK became a company by guarantee

Association Anaemia Nurse Specialists Association joined ANN UK as a special interest group

Inaugural ANN UK Conference

Regular webinars

Executive Committee

Vicky Ashworth
Executive Committee Member

Nurse Lecturer, University of Liverpool & Honorary Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Nephrology, Royal Liverpool Hospital

Vicky is a Nurse Lecturer teaching undergraduate nurses alongside post registration health care professional non-medial prescribing. With 25 years’ experience in renal nursing predominately in haemodialysis, she continues to work as an honorary nurse practitioner at the local trust. She has studied the renal course, BA Specialist Practitioner in Renal Nursing, MSc Advanced Nursing Practice and now working toward her Postgraduate Certificate in academic practice. She believes in the development of nurses to provide first class patient care, that nurses flourish when they have both clinical and education skills combined. Passionate about renal nursing and renal nurses she looks forward to providing national support through ANN UK.

Nicola Anderson
Executive Committee Member

Senior Renal Research Nurse, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Nicola is a Senior Renal Research Nurse, working in the field of clinical research since 2003, in both clinical and teaching roles. She has broad experience of study management including coordination of multi-centre CTIMP and device studies.  She completed an MSc in Healthcare Law and Ethics in 2008 (University of Birmingham) and is currently undertaking postgraduate study at the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR), University of Birmingham, exploring the use and implementation of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in the management of patients with end stage renal disease requiring treatment with haemodialysis.

Sarah Brand
Executive Committee Member

Assistant Divisional Nurse in the Cancer and Associated Specialities, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.  

Dr Brand is the Assistant Divisional Nurse in Cancer and Associated Specialities. She also works as the Senior Renal Research Nurse within the Nottingham Renal Unit and has over 15 years of renal clinical trials experience. She is a member of the UK Renal Clinical Trials Network and is also one of the NIHR 70@70 Nurse Research Leaders, seeking to build a research-led care environment within the nursing profession. Her interests are patient and public engagement in research, service improvement, and increasing nurse capacity and capability for research.

Marissa Dainton
Executive Committee Member

Senior lecturer in adult nursing, Canterbury Christ Church University

Marissa is a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Canterbury Christ Church University where she works on both pre and post registration nursing education. She has 20 years’ experience in renal nursing both on a renal ward and in haemodialysis, latterly managing the satellite dialysis unit in Dover for 8yrs prior to making the change in her career to lecturer. She has published on self/shared care in dialysis and on other renal issues and has served as UK Brand Ambassador and an executive committee member for the EDTNA/ERCA. Marissa is also co-chair of the UKKA Education Committee.

Helen Hurst
Executive Committee Secretary

Dr/Consultant Nurse for Older People/Frailty

Helen is a Consultant Nurse for Older People/Frailty with over 30 years’ experience in the NHS. She has extensive experience in renal medicine working as an advanced clinical practitioner, a co-founder of ANN UK and leading the project for the National Renal course. She completed her PhD (2011) and has wide experience in research within peritoneal dialysis and ACKD and frailty. She was Vice President, BRS Education committee and takes up a new role of co-chair of academic affairs in UKKA. She is chair of the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD) nursing committee. She has presented nationally and internationally. Helen is interested in research capacity building and engaging nurses and AHP’s in research.

Karen Jenkins
ANN UK President & Executive Committee Chair

Consultant Nurse Renal Medicine, Kent Kidney Care Centre, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Karen has many years’ experience in renal nursing: nephrology, haemodialysis, anaemia management, pre dialysis and research.  She became a Consultant Nurse in 2003 working mainly in Renal Palliative care. She is passionate about education and training, clinical leadership, and raising the profile of renal nurses. She is known nationally and internationally for her work in roles such as: BRS Vice President for Clinical Practice, Consultant Editor Journal of Kidney Care, CKD Consultant EDTNA/ERCA, now on the Board for UKKA. She was co-founder of the Anaemia Nurse Specialist Association (ANSA) and ANN UK.

Claire Main
Executive Committee Member

Lead Nurse for Nephrology and Transplant, Cardiff and Vale Health Board

Claire is currently Lead Nurse for Nephrology and Transplant within Cardiff and Vale Health Board, and has worked within Renal Nursing for 20 years.  Her role focuses on developing an expert team of renal nurses to deliver a patient centred service. Prior to this, one of her most rewarding posts was managing the Home Dialysis team within Cardiff, which led to the exciting national role of Clinical Education Manager. This increased her interest in service development and gave insight into other units to discover innovative ideas, and collaborate on projects to drive excellence in renal nursing.

Paula Ormandy
Executive Committee Treasurer

Professor Long-Term Conditions Research, University of Salford

A trained renal nurse, Paula progressed her career in research, focusing on kidney patient care, information provision, self-management and patient experience, using digital and social media. Now a Professor, she co-leads with patients both: the national Kidney Patient Involvement Network ( to improve opportunities for patient and carer involvement in research and quality improvement and service delivery; and the Kidney Information Network ( connecting patients with other patients, for peer support and sharing information. As a co-founder of ANN UK she recognised kidney nurses need a community to come together, share practice and learn from each other, to deliver better quality patient care.  

Helen Spooner
Executive Committee Member

Nurse Consultant, New Cross Hospital Wolverhampton

Helen is Nurse Consultant with over 25 years’ experience in renal nursing having worked in the specialty since qualifying.

She has a particular interest in vascular access and is a member of VASBI and the BRS special interest group for vascular access.

She is passionate about renal nursing and raising the profile of renal nurses and has been involved in a number of quality improvement projects including jointly leading transplant first in the west midlands and is currently secondary care lead for the Black Country and West Birmingham STP CKD Programme.

Lynsey Stronach
Executive Committee Member

Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Haemodialysis and Extracorporeal Circuits, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital

Lynsey is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Haemodialysis and Extracorporeal Circuits. She was the nursing lead for the initiation and development of the first UK mobile home HD service at GOSH and is an advocate for nocturnal home haemodialysis. She is the national lead for the paediatric KQUIP fistula project and co-chair’s a specialist interest group for vascular access. She currently co-leads on the paediatric nursing renal course at Southbank University. She is passionate about empowering young people to make decisions and take a lead in their healthcare choices.

Sally Tait
Executive Committee Member

Lecturer in Adult Nursing Pre-Registration Nurse Education, University of Cumbria  

Prior to moving into her lecturing role in 2019, Sally was the Home Dialysis Therapies Lead Nurse, responsible for the delivery of a nurse-led Peritoneal Dialysis and Home Haemodialysis service across North Cumbria. Having worked as a Renal Nurse since 2003, Sally has developed a passion for patient centred care and nurse education. She is driven to contribute to renal nurse development and education to ensure excellence in patient care.  

Nicola Thomas
Executive Committee Member

Professor of Kidney Care at London South Bank University, Honorary Nurse Consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust

Nicola has worked within the renal speciality for all her career and has extensive clinical, teaching and research experience. Her clinical and research work has focused on prevention and self-management of kidney disease. She is a founder member of the Kidney Patient Involvement network (KPIN), to improve opportunities for patient and carer involvement to influence research and quality improvement and service delivery. She was Editor of the Journal of Renal Care (2012-2019) and is Editor of the Renal Nursing (5th ed.) textbook.

Helen Watts
Executive Committee Member

Lead Nurse CKD nurse specialist team, West London Renal & Transplant Services, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Helen is Lead nurse for the CKD nurse specialist team at West London Renal & Transplant Services. During her career she has worked in haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, community care; nurse led low clearance and general nephrology. She is passionate about developing CKD services and sharing her knowledge and experience.  Her current focus is on education for patients with early stage CKD. She has also been providing nurse input to a shared care pathway which aims to support primary care to provide quality CKD management for patients with stable renal disease. 

Gail Williams
Executive Committee Member

Lead Nurse, Welsh Renal Clinical Network (WRCN)

Gail is passionate about improving independence and confidence for individuals faced with CKD. She has over 3 decades experience within nephrology, including PD, HD self care, HHD and pre dialysis.  Gail has led and implemented self care HD and NHHD programmes successfully, the first for Wales. As lead nurse for the WRCN, collaborating in the strategic delivery of specialist renal care across Wales.  She has developed an accredited South Wales renal module to support nurse education, has an interest in RRT education including advanced care planning (ACP) for individuals faced with CKD.

If you would like to contact an Executive Member directly, please email