What Does a Dialysis Nurse Do? Exploring Nephrology Nursing

illustration of a dialysis nurse caring for a dialysis patient
March 2, 2021 0 Comments

illustration of a dialysis nurse caring for a dialysis patient


Changing into a nurse actually looks like a rock-solid profession alternative. There’s regular demand, good incomes potential and a whole lot of attention-grabbing nursing specialties to doubtlessly focus your work in. Whereas it’s straightforward sufficient to seek out details about working within the emergency division or the intensive care unit, you need to ensure you discover all your choices, together with area of interest specialties like nephrology.

A nephrology nurse (typically referred to as “renal nurse”) works with sufferers who’ve kidney illness, together with helping in dialysis therapies and even kidney transplants. However what does a dialysis nurse do all day? there needs to be extra to being a renal nurse than this transient description!

On this article, we’re exploring this essential nursing specialty, together with the number of job duties you might encounter, what it takes to grow to be a licensed dialysis nurse and the advantages and challenges of this nursing profession.

What’s a nephrology nurse?

The nephrology specialty pertains to the kidneys, so these nurses deal with treating sufferers who’ve (or are at excessive danger for creating) kidney illness. Kidneys filter waste and further fluid from the physique. When the kidneys aren’t working correctly, nephrology specialists step in to deal with sufferers.

Kidney illness can have an effect on individuals at any age, so nephrology nurses should be comfy working with youngsters, the aged and everybody in between. Not all kidney illness is similar, both. Some are uncommon hereditary illnesses whereas others might be introduced on later in life by infections or different circumstances. Nephrology nurses have a scope of information that enables them to look after this large number of sufferers.

Treating sufferers within the nephrology discipline doesn’t essentially imply therapeutic them and sending them on their means. Kidney points are sometimes persistent, lifelong circumstances that sufferers should study to navigate of their day by day lives. “The nurse’s position is to assist sufferers handle their lives—succeed at college or work, socialize, keep relationships, or take pleasure in hobbies—whereas successfully coping with their well being points,” based on the American Nephrology Nurses Affiliation (ANNA).1

What do nephrology nurses do?

A nephrology nurse’s job duties can differ fairly a bit relying on their care setting and their particular position. Nephrology nurses have many job titles accessible to them, similar to dialysis nurse, nurse supervisor, vascular entry coordinator and organ restoration coordinator.

With that in thoughts, listed here are a number of the job duties of the commonest nephrology nurse subspecialties.

Dialysis nursing

Dialysis is a life-saving process for sufferers with end-stage kidney illness. When the kidneys cease functioning as they need to, dialysis clears the waste and maintains balanced chemical substances within the physique. Dialysis nurses oversee this course of, which entails a man-made kidney (hemodialysis) or an stomach catheter that enables blood to be cleaned contained in the physique (peritoneal dialysis).

Nurses oversee each side of this course of together with:

  • Verifying that the dialyzer and different gear are working correctly
  • Discussing affected person considerations or adjustments in well being and holding correct information
  • Offering affected person schooling
  • Making ready and inserting vascular entry and/or catheter

Kidney transplant nurses / transplant coordinators

Sufferers with kidney failure usually have to endure dialysis their whole lives—until they obtain a kidney transplant.

Kidney transplant nurses, typically referred to as transplant coordinators, play a big half in ensuring sufferers receiving this life-saving therapy. A few of their job duties might embrace:

  • Educating sufferers and their households in regards to the transplant process and aftercare
  • Making ready the affected person for surgical procedure
  • Making ready the working room to make sure a secure and sterile setting
  • Offering look after the affected person after surgical procedure, together with wound dressing and monitoring for indicators of an infection or different issues

The place does a nephrology nurse work?

There are various work environments for nephrology nurses to select from. ANNA shares that renal nurses are wanted wherever sufferers expertise kidney issues, from clinics and hospitals to inpatient or outpatient amenities—and even sufferers’ properties!1

Residence dialysis permits sufferers extra flexibility and independence as they (or their care companion) carry out their very own dialysis therapies at house. Residence dialysis nurses prepare their sufferers in performing this complicated job, together with being a useful resource accessible to reply questions and supply assist.

On this setting, nurses additionally act as a care coordinator. They work as a part of a workforce to ensure that sufferers obtain therapies as essential, there’s a backup plan in case of emergency and the remainder of the affected person’s care workforce stays knowledgeable of their situation.

Nurses working in a hospital setting, however, usually tend to work with acute kidney circumstances. These are kidney issues that come up instantly, usually as a result of an accident or damage. A day within the lifetime of an acute nephrology nurse might embrace offering pressing dialysis to only a few sufferers a day as they get better.2

What are the advantages and challenges of being a nephrology nurse?

Each nursing specialty comes with its personal set of distinctive rewards and challenges. One of many advantages that units nephrology nursing aside is that long-term sufferers are extra widespread. This provides nephrology nurses the chance to get to know and develop a extra supportive relationship with their sufferers, particularly in settings like house dialysis the place they could additionally get to know sufferers’ households.

Nevertheless, this rewarding side of nephrology nursing will also be a part of what makes it difficult. With no true treatment for kidney illness, nurses have to be ready in case their sufferers worsen over time. They don’t all the time get to expertise the achievement of seeing a affected person get higher—their purpose is to assist sufferers keep their well being as greatest they will.

How do you grow to be a nephrology nurse?

For those who suppose it seems like nephrology nurses want numerous specialised information, you’re proper. This specialty could appear intimidating, however there are alternatives for dialysis and nephology nurses at each the licensed sensible nurse and registered nurse credential degree—although there could also be extra alternatives for RNs on this specialty total.

That stated, to get began in nephrology nursing, you’ll want to finish both a RN or LPN nursing program, cross the suitable NCLEX licensure examination and meet another state necessities wanted to follow as a nurse. When you’ve achieved this milestone, you must have a transparent path to begin making use of for dialysis and nephrology-related nursing roles.

Moreover, registered nurses might need to think about pursuing an optionally available skilled certification on this discipline. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Fee presents a wide range of choices doubtlessly value your consideration.

Do you have got what it takes to be a nephrology nurse?

Now you realize the reply to “What does a dialysis nurse do?”—in addition to all the opposite particulars a couple of specialty as a nephrology nurse.

If this nursing discipline sounds proper up your alley, there’s no time like the current to get began. Begin planning your subsequent steps in our article, “Methods to Turn into a Nurse: A Newbie’s Information.”

1American Nephology Nurses Affiliation, The Nephrology Nursing Specialty – Background Data [accessed December, 2020] https://www.annanurse.org/professional-development/follow/scope-of-practice/background-information
2American Nephrology Nurses Affiliation, A Day Within the Life: Acute Dialysis Nurse, [accessed December, 2020] https://www.annanurse.org/obtain/reference/follow/acuteDay.pdf

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