What Is a Dialysis Nurse?

Every day, thousands of people with kidney problems must undergo dialysis to remove excess water and toxins from their bloodstreams. Dialysis nurses work with these patients to make sure they get the needed treatment, avoid infections, and are as comfortable as possible. Because dialysis nurses often see the same patients regularly for long periods of time, they are often seen as friends and a source of comfort by dialysis patients. If you are considering entering this fantastic branch of nursing, here is what you need to know about the career.

Job Duties and Responsibilities 

As a dialysis nurse, you may work in a dialysis clinic, a physician’s office, or a hospital’s dialysis department. Duties of the job include administering treatments to patients suffering from kidney disease by operating a hemodialysis machine, which extracts the patient’s blood, removes toxins and excess fluid, and returns it to the body.

During dialysis, nurses must monitor the vital signs of patients, assess how well the treatments are working, communicate with patients regarding treatment details, and keep the work area clean. To be effective, dialysis nurses must be caring, upbeat, patient, responsible, and sympathetic.

Training and Education 

In order to work as a dialysis nurse, you must be a Registered Nurse, or RN. This requires completing an accredited Associate or Bachelor of Science degree in nursing as well as passing a licensing exam in your state. In addition, many facilities require that dialysis nurses have a minimum of two years nursing experience before entering the dialysis specialty.

For the best employment opportunities, RNs can take the certification program offered through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission to become a Certified Dialysis Nurse. This certification program requires candidates to have two years of experience as a registered nurse, 15 hours of approved continuing education, and 2,000 hours of working with dialysis patients. Certification has to be renewed once every three years.

If you are looking for a nursing career that is just a little different from your same old job, dialysis nursing could be a perfect fit for you. It is a career field that offers an excellent salary, potential for growth, and the opportunity to develop close, caring relationships with your patients.