Female dialysis nurse assisting patient undergoing renal dialysis in hospital room

Acute vs. Chronic Dialysis Nursing: Which Field Is Best For You?

When kidneys stop functioning at full capacity, dialysis helps to rid the body of toxins. Treatment varies for people who face kidney disease or failure based on specific circumstances. The two categories patients fall into are either acute illness or chronic conditions.

The demand for dialysis nurse jobs is steadily increasing as the country’s population progressively gets older. A growing number of people require care secondary to diabetic conditions. 

The nurse’s primary decision in this career is whether to work with the chronic population or follow the acute path. Each is vastly different with its own set of rewards and downsides.

Acute vs Chronic Dialysis Nursing: Which Field Is Best For You?

A dialysis nurse with the resilience to transition from working in the acute setting to chronic care is one the medical community tends to seek out. Unfortunately, as a rule, dialysis nursing professionals typically choose between the two. Deciding which is best for you can be a challenge, but there are steps you can take to help narrow the process:

Assess Your Skill Set And Strengths Against the Dialysis Platform

  • Chronic: At the chronic level, you’re called upon to possess supervisory skills in a fast-paced setting where you see many patients within four-hour sessions. Multi-tasking is essential, as are good organization and time management skills.

There can be as many as ten patients to take care of at one time, so team members must move rapidly to make sure the process works smoothly and according to schedule. 

  • Acute: An acute care dialysis nurse is more of an individualized professional who requires greater interpersonal skills. You need to participate in active listening and demonstrate genuine compassion.

In this position, you will spend a four-hour window of time with a patient, paying close attention to every detail of treatment, taking periodic blood pressures, and checking oxygen levels.

In either situation, training helps nurses develop certain “thick skin” to work with dialysis patients. Sadly, most of the patients become increasingly sick over time with elevated death rates. 

That’s part of the reason the demand for these professionals is so high. It’s a tough job.

Listen To Your Recruiter

Although many professionals stick to either acute or chronic dialysis, the recommendation from reputable recruiting facilities like New Directions Staffing is to keep an open mind. 

Restricting your experience to specific niches limits your job opportunities. If you happen to be a traveling nurse, it can mean the difference between a lesser quality location and your dream assignment. 

If you take the time to gain a skill set with both paths, you open up many opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise see. Although the demand increases in the nursing field, the competition for better jobs is harsh as it is in other industries.

Every advantage you create for yourself helps you stand out from everyone else. Show you can be flexible, adaptable, and eager. It makes a difference more than you might realize.

Final Thought

Dialysis nurses are a special breed, regardless of the category you opt to go for. Seeing patients in varying degrees of kidney disease with fear highlighting their faces is supposed to be (and is) handled in the most professional yet caring way possible.

Even for the nurses who believe they have it all together, this job can take its toll. It shows why communication with your recruiter is essential. The teams are not just there to transition you from one job to another. 

These experts help to see you through the ups and downs of the job as well. Let them do what they do, so you can effectively do what you do for the people who need you.

Are you looking for a dialysis nursing job? New Directions Staffing can help! We help healthcare professionals find jobs that suit their needs and career goals. For further information, you can reach out to us at 888-654-1110.