Over 10% of the United States population has diabetes. It is a number that continues to increase over the years as a result of many factors. Accordingly, there is a growing need for dialysis nurses to help people who have kidney failure from diabetes and other health care issues.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- What is a dialysis nurse?
- What does a dialysis nurse do?
- Where do dialysis nurses work?
- How do you become a dialysis nurse?
- How much do dialysis nurses make?
What is a dialysis nurse?
Dialysis nurses work with patients experiencing kidney disease. They assist patients as they go through dialysis treatment – a procedure that removes toxins that are typically released by a healthy set of kidneys.
Dialysis nurses monitor their patients and report any changes to the medical team. Though they work primarily with dialysis patients, these nurses work with patients with all kinds of kidney-related medical issues.
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What does a dialysis nurse do?
Dialysis nurses have an essential job to do as healthcare providers. Their patients are often hooked up to the machines for multiple hours, and the nurses must continue monitoring them.
Some of the primary duties of a dialysis nurse include:
- Monitoring and recording patients’ vitals during the dialysis period
- Educating patients, families, and caregivers about their disease and treatment plan
- Checking that the hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis treatments get administered to the patients properly
- Notifying other medical staff in the case of adverse reactions
- Designing a treatment plan for each patient
- Gathering bloodwork and other laboratory tests
- Administering medications as needed
Where do dialysis nurses work?
Dialysis nurses work in a couple of different settings, though they are limited to working where there is dialysis treatment. Some of the locations include:
- Dialysis clinics
- Outpatient clinics
Some dialysis nurses can also travel to patient’s houses to administer dialysis for patients without access to hospitals or clinics.
How do you become a dialysis nurse?
Becoming a dialysis nurse takes about three to six years. In many ways, the path is like other nursing types. However, there are a few ways that it diverges.
Earn a nursing degree:
The first step toward becoming a dialysis nurse involves receiving a nursing degree. You can earn two degree types that will qualify you to become a registered nurse: an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You can receive your associate degree in two years at a community college. Your bachelor’s degree will take about four years at a college or university.
Become an RN:
After you graduate from your nursing program, you’re ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam. This is a standardized test that will determine whether you receive your RN license. The test goes over eight areas of care. These include:
- Management of Care/Coordinated Care
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Adaptation
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
- Reduction of Risk Potential
- Safety and Infection Control
The test has a base cost of about $200 if you wish to work within the U.S. The RN exam has a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265. RNs have six hours to pass the exam.
After receiving your RN license, it’s essential to gain bedside experience as a medical-surgical nurse, preferably nephrology nursing. Not many nurses get hired directly after they receive their registered nursing degree. Having bedside knowledge is essential.
Some of the qualifications that overlap for both certifications include:
- Having at least 2,000 hours of experience caring for dialysis patients
- Completing at least 20 hours of continuing education credits at an accredited organization
How much do dialysis nurses make?
Dialysis nurses’ salary depends on location, education, and experience. However, they typically make around what an RN makes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dialysis nurses make approximately 80,010.
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