Dialysis Nurses are specially trained and educated to remove toxins and excess water of patients with kidney disease. They operate a hemodialysis machine that extracts blood from the patient, cleans it and return into the body. Their responsibilities include overseeing the dialysis treatment from start to finish, monitoring patient vital signs, communicating procedure details with patients and concerned doctors, reviewing the patients’ lab work, assessing the effectiveness of procedures, educating patients and the public about kidney problems, providing emotional support to patients and their family members etc.
Dialysis nurses work in varieties of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, transplant facilities, outpatient treatment centers, long-term care facilities, home health care agencies, hospice and palliative care services so on so forth. Since dialysis patients need round-the-clock care, nurses in these settings usually work in rotating shifts, covering all 24 hours. They may also be on phone call.
Dialysis Nurses must be a licensed RN (registered nurse) in their state of employment. To qualify for this position, the aspiring candidates must earn a two-year associate or a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. Common course includes human anatomy, nephrology, pharmacology, nutrition, microbiology, physiology and psychology. However, the employers often prefer the candidates with clinical experience of caring dialysis patients.
Certification and Licensure
Since the practice of a Dialysis Nurse must be licensed in USA, the aspiring candidates have to complete an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). These professionals can obtain exam-based certification from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.
Apart from clinical knowledge, Dialysis Nurses possess various traits, such as strong analytical skills, a good deal of patience, high medical ethics, detail oriented , sympathetic to patients, ability to remain calm under pressure, self-management skills, willingness to work as a part of team, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills , management and organization abilities, computer skills etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Dialysis Nurse remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 19% during 2012-2022. The average annual salary of a Dialysis Nurse was $65,470 in May 2012.