What is Dialysis Nursing?
Dialysis Nursing is the treatment of people with renal failure. This means that dialysis nurses help patients whose kidneys are no longer functioning well without assistance continue to lead full lives.
What is Dialysis?
Dialysis is a treatment for patients whose kidneys are not functioning well enough without medical intervention. Those patients include people whose kidney functioning is generally at least 85 to 90 percent below expected standards.
Without dialysis, these patients might suffer full kidney failure, which is inevitably fatal. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are the two types of dialysis, for both of which Dialysis Nurses provide guidance, aid, and care for patients.
How do Dialysis Nurses Help Patients?
Dialysis nurses provide care for dialysis patients by ensuring that the session is safe and effective. They also help make the process efficient, allowing dialysis patients to lose as little time as possible to the medical visit.
Dialysis nurses monitor patient vital statistics, and overall condition before the procedure begins, during dialysis, and after completion. In addition, they remain in close contact with the patient’s doctor and other healthcare workers, providing updates and consultation as needed. Those healthcare workers may include varied technicians, doctors, nutritionists, social workers, and other nurses.
These nurses work with patients to ensure that they fully understand their condition and care. They explain treatment options and provide insight into disease management, medications, life changes, and self-care. Dialysis nurses work very closely with their patients and develop close bonds of trust, playing a significant role in each patient’s overall morale and outlook.
When a patient undergoes a kidney transplant, the dialysis nurse ensures the body does not show signs of rejection of the new kidney or infection following surgery. In addition, dialysis nurses guide patients through caring for themselves at home. Also, they check in on patients at home to make sure they are well and are following all medical recommendations and taking their prescriptions.
Where Does a Dialysis Nurse Work?
These days, there are many different settings in which dialysis nurses may work. Of course, hospitals are very commonly the setting for this nursing field. However, outpatient dialysis centers, transplant program offices, home health care agencies, hospice, nursing homes, and palliative care agencies are also potential workplaces.
As part of a dialysis nursing career, work hours may vary from one setting to another. Hospitals offer around-the-clock care for patients so that dialysis nurses may work varied shifts and holidays in those settings. Home care is a setting that cares for patients at their convenience. So, the same may be applicable for home care agency-employed dialysis nurses. About one-fifth of nurses in this fieldwork part-time.
Dialysis Nursing Environmental Conditions
Dialysis nursing in any typical environment takes place within generally well-lit clinical environments. However, the care environment may be different at a patient’s home. In addition, nurses in this field are very mobile daily. Daily activities include bending, stretching, stooping, and lifting. So, dialysis nurses should be comfortable with a high level of physical activity.
Because needles, blood, and body fluids are part of the day-to-day work of a dialysis nurse’s career, they must be well aware of safety precautions and follow those accordingly. This is very important to protect oneself and others from injury or infection.
What Education Do You Need for a Dialysis Nursing Degree?
Dialysis care nurses must be licensed registered nurses. Or they must be advanced practice nurses. To reach the level of an RN, an associate or bachelor’s nursing degree is required. Advanced practice nursing requires a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s or doctorate in nursing.
Two to four years of nursing training is necessary for dialysis nursing candidates, including clinical training. In addition, it is essential to gain expertise in dialysis care through courses such as nutrition, nephrology, and pharmacology.
How do you Choose a Nursing School and Training Program?
Accreditation is critical in the selection of a nursing program. Check to ensure the school has accreditation. It should be from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. On those two agencies’ websites, one may find a list of accredited schools.
For hands-on training or practical experience, newly certified RNs complete a residency program. These programs develop skills applicable to this specific nursing career field. After completing a degree, nurses must also attend annual training sessions called continuing medical education.
After about 3000 hours of work experience in dialysis nursing, a nurse can become a Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN). Nurses earn this designation with 30 hours of documented field development and an exam. Additionally, this certification provides a competitive advantage in the career field. It shows a nurse’s qualifications, experience, and knowledge within the area. The certifying agency is the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.
What Personality Types are Best Suited for Dialysis and Nephrology Nursing?
The best candidates for dialysis nursing roles have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Empathy is essential in this role because dialysis is a difficult life change. Patients need the support of the nursing profession as part of a united family and medical team.
The ability to endure emotionally strenuous situations is essential. Also, these nurses need physical stamina to endure long shifts. Additionally, this career requires optimum health and endurance. So, dialysis nurses should be in good health and care for themselves.
What is the Advancement Outlook?
Beyond the potential for specialization in population care, such as for children through pediatrics, aging adults through geriatrics, and other such fields of focus, dialysis nurses often strive toward becoming nurse managers or organ recovery or transplant coordinators. These are natural progressions for dialysis nurses who wish to continue evolving within their occupation. In addition, teaching, research, consulting, nephrology case management, and advanced practice nursing are additional nursing career opportunities.
Regardless of the direction of one’s career after gaining a nursing degree and becoming a dialysis nurse, the role is vital to other healthcare providers, patients, and families. This is a rewarding career field with solid opportunities for continued education, growth, and career advancement.