How To Become Dialysis Nurse

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

You will find in depth information regarding the training and employability of a dialysis nurse. It comes with plenty of related links to reputable sites, aimed at making your search for the facts easier. You’ll also find that there are 5 great reasons why you should train to become a dialysis nurse, as well as the average dialysis nurse salary and what do dialysis nurses do. Every detail has been included so that you have all the information needed to make an informed choice.

With more than 19 million Americans living with some form of kidney disease, including more than 600,000 who are on dialysis for end stage renal disease alone, why would someone want to become a dialysis nurse? For starters, the average starting salary for a dialysis nurse is an impressive $45,000.00. But, there are other reasons as well.

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How To Become Dialysis Nurse

The internet offers you the right information on how to become dialysis nurse in germany, how long does it take to become a dialysis nurse. We have assembled the best and latest information from the following article. Read on to know more.

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How To Become Dialysis Nurse

To become a Dialysis Nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Attend Nursing SchoolYou’ll need to earn either an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program in order to take the first steps to become a registered nurse. ADN-prepared nurses may want to take the additional step of completing their BSN degree.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RNBecome a Registered Nurse by passing the NCLEX examination.
  3. Gain Experience at the BedsidePrior to becoming a dialysis nurse, you’ll likely need to have a minimum of two years of medical surgical experience, preferably nephrology nursing. New graduates are rarely hired directly into a dialysis nursing position.
  4. Earn Your CertificationThe Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers two certifications for Dialysis/Nephrology Nurses.Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN)

How to Become a Certified Dialysis Nurse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 15% (37 million people) are estimated to have Chronic Kidney Disease. Dialysis nurses provide care to those patients, as well as to patients that are experiencing any other kind of kidney-related issues.

what do dialysis nurses do?

What is a Dialysis Nurse?

Dialysis nurses specialize in aiding patients with kidney-related medical problems. Patients need dialysis nurses when their kidneys fail to filter out waste and unwanted fluids from their blood. Dialysis specifically refers to the process of manually cleaning a patient’s blood. A nephrology nurse performs similar tasks as dialysis nurses, although they may perform other kidney-related responsibilities as well, like helping with transplant surgeries.

What Does a Dialysis Nurse Do?

Dialysis nurses are specially trained nurses who support patients that require dialysis. Dialysis is for those patients that suffer from kidney failure and depend on it to do the work of filtering and excreting waste when their kidneys no longer can. 

Their duties include:

  • Educating patients, families, and caregivers about their disease and treatment plan
  • Overseeing the dialysis treatment from start to finish including priming the dialyzer and bloodlines
  • Recording patients’ medical information and vital signs
  • Managing multiple dialysis patients throughout treatment
  • Identifying irregular dialysis reactions and notifying appropriate medical team members
  • Providing pre- and post-procedure care to patients within the Hemodialysis Unit
  • Preparing and updating nursing care plans
  • Helping patients follow-up with their transplant centers
  • Developing a training plan for each patient
  • Evaluating the patients’ ability to perform their dialysis treatment
  • Letting the medical team know about any changes to the patients’ conditions
  • Collecting bloodwork and other laboratory tests as ordered
  • Following up with patients after dialysis
  • Scheduling dialysis treatments
  • Working with the Dialysis Technicians to ensure that dialysis machines and equipment are set up correctly
  • Evaluating patients’ reaction to dialysis treatment and medications
  • Administering medications during treatment

dialysis nurse training online

Dialysis Nurse Requirements

Dialysis nurses must graduate from a college or university that offers an accredited nursing school. It takes 1 to 4 years to earn a diploma or a degree in nursing and an additional 1 to 2 years to earn a masters degree in nursing. The option to complete the degree through a traditional on campus college or an online nursing program is available. Accelerated and advanced nursing programs are also available as an education option.

Dialysis nurses are required to be registered nurses so they must take the NCLEX-RN before seeking certification to become dialysis nurses. Dialysis nursing or nephrology nursing requires additional certification to earn the specialized nursing credential.

The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers nurses three different areas of certification to become dialysis nurses, including:

  • Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) for registered nurses with a minimum of 2000 hours or related experience in a dialysis care center.
  • Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) for registered nurses with at least 2 years of work-related experience in a nephrology care center and a bachelors degree in nursing.
  • Certified Nephrology Nurse- Nurse Practitioner (CNN-NP) for registered nurses with masters degrees in nursing and at least 2000 hours of experience working in a dialysis care center.
  • Each state has requirements for certification and degrees so it is a good idea to contact the board of nursing in the state of practice to determine the specific requirements.

Dialysis Nurse Requirements

Dialysis nurses must graduate from a college or university that offers an accredited nursing school. It takes 1 to 4 years to earn a diploma or a degree in nursing and an additional 1 to 2 years to earn a masters degree in nursing. The option to complete the degree through a traditional on campus college or an online nursing program is available. Accelerated and advanced nursing programs are also available as an education option.

Dialysis nurses are required to be registered nurses so they must take the NCLEX-RN before seeking certification to become dialysis nurses. Dialysis nursing or nephrology nursing requires additional certification to earn the specialized nursing credential.

The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers nurses three different areas of certification to become dialysis nurses, including:

  • Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) for registered nurses with a minimum of 2000 hours or related experience in a dialysis care center.
  • Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) for registered nurses with at least 2 years of work-related experience in a nephrology care center and a bachelors degree in nursing.
  • Certified Nephrology Nurse- Nurse Practitioner (CNN-NP) for registered nurses with masters degrees in nursing and at least 2000 hours of experience working in a dialysis care center.
  • Each state has requirements for certification and degrees so it is a good idea to contact the board of nursing in the state of practice to determine the specific requirements.

Requirements for Becoming a Dialysis Nurse?

To become a Dialysis Nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Attend Nursing School: You’ll need to earn either an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program in order to take the first steps to become a registered nurse. ADN-prepared nurses may want to take the additional step of completing their BSN degree.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN: Become a Registered Nurse by passing the NCLEX examination.
  3. Gain Experience at the Bedside: Prior to becoming a dialysis nurse, you’ll likely need to have a minimum of two years of medical surgical experience, preferably nephrology nursing. New graduates are rarely hired directly into a dialysis nursing position.
  4. Earn Your Certification: The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers two certifications for Dialysis/Nephrology Nurses. Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN)

dialysis nurse salary

A dialysis nursing salary depends greatly on the location, education, experience, and certification. The median annual salaries for dialysis nurses are $69,381 with many opportunities to make additional wages. An entry-level position for dialysis nurses can earn nurses $50,000 annually. With 1 to 4 years of experience, they can expect to make minimum annual salaries of $52,000. Dialysis nurses with 5 to 9 years of experience can earn annual wages of $60,000. With 10 to 19 years of nursing experience, dialysis nurses can earn annual wages of $68,000 or more. 20 years or more of dialysis nursing experience can provide high wages of $80,000 or more annually.

Resources for becoming a dialysis nurse

  • Nurse Journal has a list of more than 70 grants currently available to support aspiring nurses.
  • The Bureau of Health Workforce also offers many scholarship opportunities for nurses
  • Johnson & Johnson maintains yet another list of potential financial aid sources
  • After graduation and licensure, dialysis nurses can choose voluntary certification through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission. There are many certification paths, such as becoming a Certified Nephrology Nurse or Certified Dialysis Nurse. This requires many steps, including more than 2,000 hours of experience through a residency program.
  • Required continued educational credits can include courses in anatomy, renal failure, biochemistry and an in-depth understanding of the urinary system.

Training and Certification

First, each dialysis nurse must earn their RN licensure by completing a nursing degree with a certain number of clinical hours, working in supervised, healthcare settings. The required number of clinical hours depends on the state. RNs also need to pass the national council licensure examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN).

Nurses who want to specialize in nephrology can also earn certification in the field. Although not required by law, employers may prefer candidates with this extra qualification. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Committee (NNCC) offers two certifications for registered nurses: the certified nephrology nurse (CNN) and the certified dialysis nurse (CDN). An RN with at least 2,000 hours of experience providing services to nephrology patients may apply for the CDN certification.

The CNN certification requires that each candidate holds 3,000 hours of experience with nephrology patients. A quarter of these hours must include home hemodialysis, home peritoneal dialysis, acute kidney injury, kidney replacement therapy, or apheresis.

Career Outlook for a Dialysis Nurse

Dialysis nursing is one of the most in-demand specialty fields of nursing because of the high number of kidney failure patients in the United States.

  • Approximately 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease
  • More than 726,000 have end-stage renal disease. More than 100,000 people start dialysis annually per Health and Human Services. 

Interestingly, dialysis nurse retention is an ongoing problem, especially at outpatient dialysis specialty centers. One of the main reasons is because they are typically underpaid as compared to other nursing specialties. Treating chronically ill patients can also be difficult for many nurses. 

According to the BLS, in 2018, there were 3,059,800 Registered Nurses in the United States. By 2028, there will be a need for additional 371,500 nurses, which is an expected growth of 12%. With the aging population, this number is expected to be even higher.

Best educational programs for becoming a dialysis nurse

U.S. News & World Report ranks the best nursing schools in the nation. The top five are:

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Duke University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Emory University
  • Columbia University

Top programs are great, but they’re also expensive. You should at least consider them as you pursue a master’s degree, which can qualify you for higher-paying, advanced practice nursing positions like a nurse practitioner. If you are not interested in advancing to the master’s level, however, you might be better served at a state university, most of which offer excellent, affordable nursing programs.

When considering educational programs, make sure the school is accredited through the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Some offer smaller class sizes, others offer online classes. Finally, inquire about the pass rate of the licensure exam. You want to make sure all your hard work pays off.

Dialysis nursing provides many opportunities for growth and advancement, both in education and experience. Some nurses start their specialized careers here, while others transfer to nephrology or travel nursing after years in hospice programs or geriatric nursing. Whatever your path, you’ll know that you are making a difference in the lives of patients who need support as they manage a challenging condition.

pros and cons of dialysis nursing

TOP CONS OF BEING A DIALYSIS NURSE

(The following are the top 10 disadvantages of being a dialysis nurse.)

1. You may find yourself working long hours

As a dialysis nurse, you may find yourself working long hours. This can be in the form of 12 hours shifts or 10 hours shifts if you are not lucky enough to get a job that is 8 hours a day. Having these long shifts will lead to you leaving early for work and not getting home till later in the evening. This can be challenging for some people, especially if you have a family at home.

2. You will be on your feet all day.

One of the top disadvantages of being a dialysis nurse is all the standing and walking that you will be doing daily. As a dialysis nurse, you will find yourself on your feet for most of those long hours you will be working. This will be a bit of a labor-intensive job. So, if you are up for the challenge of a workout at work, feel free to apply.

3. There will not be much variety to your day.

As a dialysis nurse, you will find that your day-to-day activities will pretty much be the same every day. There will be no variety to your day. You will be doing the same thing day after day.

4. Exposed to pathogens.

When working as a dialysis nurse, you will have to access a patient’s vasculature system in order to perform dialysis. At any point, you could be exposed to a patient’s bodily fluids placing you at risk for being exposed to numerous pathogens. You also should keep in mind that if a patient has a contagious disease, you may be exposed to it.

5. You may have to be on call.

If you happen to work in an acute dialysis center, you will have to be on call at times. This call will include nights, weekends, and holidays. When taking a call, you need to keep in mind that you will still be working your average workweek on top of this.

6. You may experience burnout.

Let’s face it when a patient is receiving dialysis, it is because they may be extremely ill. For some people, facing such ill patients every day may cause burnout over time. Some of these patients may go on to transplant and recover, but unfortunately, some will die. This is something that can take an emotional toll on you, making burnout one of the biggest disadvantages of being a dialysis nurse.

7. You will need to complete nursing school.

The first step in becoming a dialysis nurse is that you will first need to become a nurse. This is accomplished by either completing your associate’s degree in nursing or your bachelor’s degree in nursing. This will require time and money. After you complete your degree, you will need onsite training and experience to be able to call yourself a dialysis nurse.

8. Experience is essential.

So, if you are under the impression that you would be hired into a dialysis setting right after graduation, you are very much mistaken. New graduates are rarely employed in this field. Most institutions will require that you have gained a least 2 years of experience in medical-surgical nursing, preferably in nephrology before even being considered for a dialysis nurse position.

9. Legal responsibility

As a dialysis nurse, you are responsible for the care that you provide to your patients. You are also responsible for the care that you delegate to the dialysis technician. Having this responsibility can set you up for legal implications should an issue arise. As an extra caveat to this, you are also responsible for knowing your scope within your state and what you can and cannot delegate. Each state is different.

10. You may be placed in some ethical dilemmas.

Ethical dilemmas arise in the healthcare environment on a regular basis as with the dilemma of weighing the pros and cons of being a dialysis nurse. Is dialysis always appropriate for a patient? This question has appeared many times in many different ways. Is it ethically right to perform dialysis on certain patients? The outcome of these situations may place you into some emotional turmoil. You may or may not agree with certain decisions that are made regarding a patient’s care. Whether you can withstand an ethical dilemma is a very personal decision that only you will be able to make.

TOP PROS OF BEING A DIALYSIS NURSE

(The following are the top 10 advantages of being a dialysis nurse.)

1. There are so many different settings you can work in.

One of the top pros of being a dialysis nurse is that you can work in a variety of settings. Some of the settings that you could choose from are an outpatient dialysis center, a nursing home, home care, and inpatient units, to name a few. The fact that you have so many settings to choose from means that you will have options if you feel that one is not a good fit for you.

2. You could travel the country.

If you enjoy traveling the country and you also need to work to pay your bills, why not have the best of both worlds. Choosing to pursue a career as a travel dialysis nurse may be something worth thinking about and can become one of the advantages of being a dialysis nurse. Most travel dialysis nursing jobs will require that you have at least a years’ worth of experience, but if you think about it, a year goes by in the blink of an eye.

3. Weekends off sound great

I know we talked about the different settings that you could work in earlier, but one, in particular, will give you the luxury of weekends off. If you work in the world of chronic dialysis, then you will end up having weekends and holidays off. That is not a bad gig.

4. You can become certified.

Certification is just another notch on the belt for those nurses who specialize in a particular area. As a certified dialysis nurse, you are seen as an expert in the field. The main goal of certification in this field is to promote patient safety and improve the quality of care provided to nephrology patients.

5. You will make a pretty good living.

One of the biggest advantages of being a dialysis nurse is the salary you could be earning. One of the things that a dialysis nurse’s salary will depend on is their level of experience. Entry-level dialysis nurses can expect to be making around $65,000 a year. If you have experience as a dialysis nurse, you can expect to earn somewhere about $80,000 a year.

6. There is a positive job growth outlook.

If you are considering a career as a dialysis nurse, you can expect a faster than average career job growth. It is predicted that between 2019 to 2029 that a career as a dialysis nurse is expected to grow 7%, making job growth one of the pros of being a dialysis nurse. This means that you should have little trouble finding employment in this field.

7. Short work week

Although working long hours is clearly not for everybody, if it really does not bother you, this can be a great advantage. If your workday consists of 12 or more hour shifts, you can find yourself working as little as 3-4 days a week. That sounds much better than a 5 day work week.

8. Flexibility

When a person is considering the pros and cons of being a dialysis nurse, you need to think about work-life balance. As a dialysis nurse, you can have a good amount of flexibility when it comes to your work schedule. Working 12 hours shifts or longer can set you up for having some extended time off without using vacation time if you plan your schedule just right. Not only will you have a shorter week, as previously discussed, but you will also be able to plan your everyday life on your days off.

9. You are helping your patients feel their best

As a dialysis nurse, you are performing an essential function of the human body for your patients. When a patient’s kidneys are no longer functioning, they become ill-feeling and run down. One of the advantages of being a dialysis nurse is that you can restore your patients to a healthier state and make them feel so much better by cleaning their blood for them. That has to be a great feeling helping your patients.

10. You will foster relationships with your patients.

Many patients who are on dialysis will be coming for treatment multiple times a week. You will develop and foster relationships with these patients and their families. These patients and their families will grow a trusting bond with you. You will be helping to not only physically improve their lives but also emotionally.

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