With kidney disease on the rise, the need for dialysis nurses is increasing as well. Whether you’re caring for chronic dialysis patients in a hospital or treating those with acute kidney failure, you can make a big difference in improving their quality of life.
Find out what it takes to become a dialysis travel nurse.
When a person’s kidneys fail, he needs either a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment. Most patients rely on dialysis because the waiting list for kidney transplants is long. Patients generally need to receive dialysis treatment several times a week, which allows nurses to develop close relationships with patients and their families.
Physicians will administer dialysis, but nurses monitor blood tests to see if dialysis is working and teach patients about medication. They ensure the patients also understand how to stay healthy outside dialysis treatment. A dialysis nurse’s main job is to help the patient with the treatment plan and to let the doctor know if there are any changes.
Most importantly, nurses need to know about kidney failure and its symptoms so they can help patients avoid kidney failure or treat it early.
Dialysis nurses should be excellent communicators, clearly explaining how dialysis works and how the patient can improve her condition. They also need to communicate clearly with doctors and technicians. Ultimately, dialysis nurses will know their patients better than anyone in the room, so they need to speak for the patient. They also need to maintain a positive outlook and make the experience as pleasant as possible for the patient.
Life as a dialysis nurse
Dialysis nurses work in a variety of settings. Some work in hospitals, some work in dialysis clinics and some work in patients’ homes. In addition, some nurses travel to different dialysis clinics, where they perform slightly different work each day. For example, at-home dialysis nurses spend a lot of time teaching the patient’s family how to help with dialysis therapy. The day-to-day schedule for dialysis depends on where nurses are working.
One nurse might start her day by making sure all of the dialysis machines are safe and clean before patients arrive. She would then check her first patient’s vitals. Throughout the treatment, nurses continue to monitor patients’ vitals. Each treatment takes about four hours. After treatment, the nurse talks with his or her patients about their medications and other information they need to stay healthy.
Ready to become a dialysis nurse? You must first earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX. Once you work two years and complete 2,000 hours in nephrology, you can become a certified nephrology nurse (CNN).
Note: Basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification is required for all nurses RNnetwork places. Travel nurses must also have at least one year of clinical experience.
If you’re already working in this field, there’s an opportunity waiting for you! Check out our open dialysis travel nursing jobs to get started.