What Training do Dialysis Nurses Need?

When a patient’s kidneys fail, he or she needs dialysis to stay alive and healthy. Nurses who specialize in dialysis work in long term kidney care facilities to administer dialysis and care for patients. Dialysis nursing is an exciting specialty that allows nurses to have long term relationships with patients.

What is Dialysis Nursing?

Nurses who have undergone dialysis nurse training have been trained to perform dialysis. This procedure is required when a patient’s kidneys have stopped functioning for a variety of reasons. The kidneys perform a number of crucial functions in the body, the most important of which is acting as a filter to remove waste products and excess water from the blood. When the kidneys can no longer filter the blood, a patient either needs to get a new kidney or undergo dialysis, where a dialysis machine is used to perform kidney functions. A dialysis nurse is trained to do the dialysis.

Dialysis Nurse Job Description

Dialysis nurse training teaches a nurse to do a variety of tasks related to the administration of dialysis treatments. The nurse monitors the health of patients who are undergoing dialysis. This means noting changes in health and keeping track of the progression of kidney disease. Dialysis nurses run the dialysis machines, so they must know how they work and how to use them. In addition, nurses draw blood from patients, change catheter dressings and flush them, and administer medications.

Becoming a Nurse

The first step in dialysis nurse training is to get a nursing degree. There are several different types of nursing degrees. An associate’s degree usually can be completed in two years and will prepare a nurse to become a Registered Nurse (RN), which is a nurse licensed to practice. However, more and more medical facilities are looking for RNs that have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, which is a 4-year degree. The BSN requires more classwork and often internships that allow the RN to begin specializing in a particular area of nursing.

Licensing and Certification

Once the nursing degree has been completed, the next step in dialysis nurse training is taking the licensing exam. This exam, called the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN exam, is a 6-hour computerized exam offered at regular intervals at a dedicated testing site. This exam must be passed before a nurse can begin working. After licensing, the nurse can be employed in a dialysis clinic. A further step to take in this specialty is to sit for another exam to get the Certified Dialysis Nurse credential, given by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.

Salaries and Settings

Dialysis nurses work primarily in dialysis clinics, which may be in hospitals or in separate facilities. Nurses who have undergone dialysis nurse training are in high demand because of their technical skills and the increasing number of people who suffer from kidney problems. Because of this, dialysis nurses may work long hours and have a lot of patients. However, this is reflected in their salary potential. The median salary for dialysis nurses in the United States is $70,000 per year, with a range of $50,000-$90,000.

Dialysis nurses are in high demand and their earning potential reflects this. If you are thinking of a career in nursing, check out dialysis nurse training as an exciting and lucrative option!