Are you interested in caring for and helping patients who have kidney disease? A career as a dialysis nurse may be the right fit for you.
Dialysis nurses are specially trained in the care of patients with kidney disease. They are responsible for ensuring that each dialysis session for each of the patients in their care is safe and efficient. Those who suffer from kidney disease or kidney failure depend on dialysis to remove toxins and excess water, the work that their kidneys can no longer do, and dialysis nurses must have comprehensive knowledge of kidney disease in order to support, treat and monitor their patients throughout dialysis. In addition, it will be their job to educate their patients on kidney disease, answer any questions that patients may have regarding their condition, as well as instruct them in any changes in their lifestyle that are required for them to manage their disease.
Due to the complexity of kidney disease, dialysis nurses work closely with a number of medical and health professionals, including physicians, dietitians, social workers and technicians. They can work in acute and chronic care settings such as hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and even patients’ homes.
Once a registered nurse obtains licensure, he or she will need to obtain recent experience in nephrology nursing. There are residency programs offered for registered nurses who want to undergo clinical training in dialysis. Those who want to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in dialysis can choose between a nephrology nurse practitioner program or a nephrology clinical nurse specialist program; both graduate programs can take from two to three years to complete and culminate in either a Master’s Degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree.
Important Qualities for a Dialysis Nurse
Detail Oriented – It is imperative that dialysis nurses adhere strictly to protocols when administering dialysis.
– Dialysis nurses are also responsible for teaching patients, regardless of the age, as well as their families, about their patient’s disease, help them manage their disease, and motivate them to take care of themselves.
– These skills will not only be necessary for operating complex machinery, but also enable them to work with the various types of required intravenous lines.
– Dialysis nurses must closely monitor their patients throughout the dialysis and report their observations to other health professionals, especially in cases when there are changes in the patients’ condition. They must be able to manage several chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure at once.
– As dialysis nurses spend a lot of time with their patients, they must be able to support their patients without becoming overwhelmed.
Dialysis Nursing Licenses, Certifications and Registrations
All registered nurses are required to obtain licensing before they can work in the healthcare industry. Requirements for licensing may vary from one state to another; however, all RNs must graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN.
Some registered nurses who work in dialysis choose to become certified through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.
Certifications include Certified Nephrology Nurse, Certified Dialysis Nurse, and Certified Nephrology Nurse Practitioner. In order to qualify for the certification exam, registered nurses must have 2,000 hours or more of recent experience in nephrology nursing. They must also complete 15 contact hours of continuing education in the field of nephrology nursing.