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A dialysis nurse with a patient.

What to Expect on a First Day as a Dialysis Nurse

As a certified dialysis nurse, you may be a little nervous about what to expect on your first day. No worries, all nurses have been in your position at one point in time! You will be fulfilling many duties and learning plenty of new things, on your first day as a dialysis nurse. One thing that’s important is to remember why you became a nurse in the first place.

The National Kidney Foundation reports that 30 million people in the United States are affected by Chronic Kidney Disease.  One in 3 Americans are at risk of developing it. With so many individuals requiring treatment for CKD, it’s important to have people like you to help them deal with their disease along the way. 

Patients have to stay still during the duration of their dialysis treatment. In some cases, the treatment may take hours. Depending on the position and responsibilities it may involve being available for the entire process from start to finish. Before learning about your daily duties, it is important to understand what type of dialysis you are performing for your patient. 

Types of Dialysis

The following are the different types of dialysis:

Hemodialysis — Patients can receive hemodialysis treatments in a dialysis center or in the comfort of their own homes, usually occurring 3 to 4 times per week. This treatment cleanses the patient’s blood by pumping it through a dialysis machine, cleaning it. It then reinstates it back into their body. This removes excess fluid and waste from their blood.

Peritoneal Dialysis — Unlike hemodialysis where the patient’s blood is removed from their body to be cleaned, patients receiving peritoneal dialysis have their blood cleaned inside their body. This procedure is done through the lining of the patient’s abdomen using a fluid that is changed periodically. This type of dialysis can be done anywhere.

Dialysis Nurse Duties

Dialysis nurse duties vary depending on the job but here are some common duties to review.

  • You will oversee the whole process — From the time the patient enters the building to when they leave, you will be the person who administers the treatment from the beginning to the end.
  • You will keep up with their vital signs — Each patient responds to dialysis treatments differently. So, you are responsible for consistently keeping an eye on their vitals. One reason is to make sure their blood pressure doesn’t drop too low, for example. While evaluating how they respond to the treatment, you may have to assist them with medications.
  • You will have to educate beyond treatment — Beyond helping them in the dialysis center or at their home, you should educate your patient about their disease, along with what they can do to help with a successful recovery. 
  • You will usually have long hours — Most dialysis nurses have to get up for work early and stay late. Although it can vary, some positions could require that you be prepared for unique schedules and shifts.
  • You will communicate with your patients — Beyond the health aspect of dialysis treatment, dialysis nurse jobs inevitably require you to talk with your patients verbally and nonverbally. How you communicate with your patients will reflect the experience they will have during treatment. 
  • You will form a relationship with your patients — Since you will be seeing a patient 3 to 4 times per week, for long hours at a clip at that, you will be forming a nurse-patient relationship of some sorts that will never be broken. This can be one of the most rewarding parts of your job. 

Interested in Being a Dialysis Nurse?

If you are interested in a career as a travel dialysis nurse, contact our travel nursing agency New Directions Staffing Services. We can provide individuals with travel, temporary-to-hire, and full-time opportunities in both clinical and administrative jobs within the healthcare industry. Call (888) 654-1110 or visit our website for more information today.

A Day in the Life of a Dialysis Nurse

Do you have a passion for serving others? Are you considering to take a career path by becoming a dialysis nurse? If you answered yes, then you have made the right decision because the field is not only fulfilling but also rewarding.

Besides the satisfaction of helping patients with end-stage renal failure, you enjoy annual perks to the tune of $75,820, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, you’ll have to put in the effort, time, and, more importantly, unwavering zeal to succeed in this field. In this article, we take a peek into the daily life of a dialysis nurse.

A Glimpse of a Typical Day as a Dialysis Nurse

Generally speaking, a certified dialysis nurse is responsible for handling patients with kidney problems. However, a typical day in the life of a nephrology nurse can vary significantly based on the environment, and the patient one is serving. For instance, providing care to patients in chronic, acute, and peritoneal units is not the same. Each unit is unique and requires a different level of effort, commitment, and skill. Similarly, you may be required to work as an educator, advocate, facilitator, mentor, or caregiver, depending on the patient’s condition. Also, the care and support given in-home dialysis, outpatient dialysis, and inpatient hospital dialysis may vary widely.

Overall, the duties and responsibilities of nephrology nurses include:

  • Checking the patient’s symptoms and assessing the severity of their condition
  • Reviewing patients’ lab tests, home activities and medications
  • Educating patients about their condition, treatments and helping them to make lifestyle choices that will aid in recovery
  • Providing dialysis nursing care to patients with kidney diseases
  • Performing dialysis to filter waste products and toxic substances from the blood
  • Maintaining and managing dialysis machines, systems, and equipment.
  • Instructing and counseling patients and their families on dialysis nursing care issues
  • Monitoring patient response to treatment interventions
  • Administering medications as prescribed by physicians or nephrologists
  • Collaborating with the entire nephrology team in delivering care in a considerate, respectful manner
  • Ensuring comfort to patients while executing the above dialysis nurse functions

Working Environment and Conditions

Being in the first line of defense for patients experiencing varying levels of kidney problems, a certified dialysis nurse can spend their day providing care in virtually any place. From the hospital, physician’s office, dialysis unit, nursing home, prison, or even university. Because patients need round-the-clock care, working hours are not limited to day shifts. Sometimes you may have to work at night, over the weekends, or during holidays.

Daily Challenges

Fulfilling as it is, working as a dialysis nurse is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenging psychological and physical task. Perhaps, this is because patients who undergo this procedure often include those with severe disorders that lead to sudden kidney failure. Medication reactions, poisons, burns, severe trauma, severe infections, and other diseases that reduce blood flow to the kidneys can all cause the kidneys to shut down suddenly. They might also be suffering from other health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or psychiatric condition. For that reason, your everyday job will entail providing emotional support to patients without crossing professional boundaries. You’ll also have to maintain appropriate relationships with people related to your patients. On top of that, you’ll have to spend most of your time standing for long periods, walking, or adjusting body position to stoop or bend.

Are You Looking for Dialysis Nurse Jobs?

Are you working to become a dialysis nurse or already one? Choose New Directions to help you along your journey and kick off a fantastic career as a nephrology nurse. Apply with us today!

Source: Glassdoor