A dialysis nurse treats patients that suffer from acute and chronic renal (kidney) failure. What is dialysis? Kidneys are the organs that remove toxins and solubles from the bloodstream. When the kidneys are no longer able to perform their task, because of kidney disease, dialysis (renal replacement therapy) is a medical process which removes water, excess solubles and toxins from the bloodstream.
Though every hospital is different with different medical team members and facilities, the general duties for each dialysis nurse remain the same.
What are the Requirements?
- Education: In order to become a dialysis nurse, you must first graduate from an accredited associates or bachelors RN or LPN program. This could take anywhere from 2-4 years. Many dialysis nurses have also maintained a master’s degree in their area of specialty as well.
- Licensing: After graduation, you must receive NCLEX (nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses) certification, required by all registered nurses in the U.S. In addition to NCLEX certification, each state may also require different licensing and certification requirements. For dialysis nurses, the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers several additional certifications.
- Advanced Training: Also expected of any dialysis nurse, an advanced education or training in kidney disease.
- Tech Savvy: Because of the technical nature of the equipment used, dialysis nurses are also expected to have exceptional technical skills in addition to interpersonal relationship skills.
Dialysis Nursing Jobs
As a dialysis nurse, you will have the choice to work in many different environments. At-home care, private practices and hospitals are the most common places you’ll work. Because dialysis treatment is often received at specific times, as a dialysis nurse, you may find that your hours are less erratic than your peers. Even though regular patients will have specific weekly schedules, you must be on call 24 hours in the event a patient needs emergency dialysis treatment.
Primary Tasks or Duties
- Patient Reports: Much of what you’ll be doing as a dialysis nurse will be maintaining and examining patient reports, taking note of any changes that occur throughout treatment, recording vital signs, and communicating this information to the medical team.
- Administering Medications: The overseeing of dialysis treatment from start to finish requires the administering of medications, the priming of the dialyzer and bloodlines, and constant communication with attending physicians.
- Decisive Plan of Action: Along with the physician and the rest of the medical team, the dialysis nurse will consult on a plan of action for each patient and be responsible for communicating results to both the medical team and the patient.
- Teacher: Dialysis nurses are responsible for teaching patients – and their loved ones – how to manage their illness. Explaining post-treatment home care, diet and nutrition plans and exercise programs will often be a part of the nurses duties. Chief among these are teaching patients self-administration of medication they take at home.
Dialysis nurse salaries vary from state to state. However, the pay can vary from $50,000-$100,000 depending on factors such as location, facility, education and experience. Stand alone clinics generally offer the highest number of positions though there are plenty of opportunities for hospitals in an acute setting. The pay can be exceptional on contract assignments especially in areas of high demand. On call is necessary in a hospital setting but very limited in a chronic facility. There is almost no weekend or holiday call in chronic clinics as well.
The job market is expected to grow as much as 26 percent over the next decade, making it a worthwhile career choice for any young person interested in pursuing their nursing education, or for an experienced nurse looking to take their career in a different direction.
Also like to change the picture as it shows someone in a critical care setting; not a typical dialysis one. If you google hemodialysis you should be able to find one that works better.
A New Direction
For more information about how to get hired as a dialysis nurse, traveling nurse or certified nurse practitioner, contact New Directions today. Our recruiters are standing by and are here to help you achieve the career of your dreams.