People who have serious kidney problems, where their kidneys no longer function properly, rely on dialysis to do what their kidneys cannot. A dialysis nurse provides her patients with a higher quality of life by administering the procedure of dialysis.
Dialysis nurses work in the larger field of nephrology nursing, and they have a highly detailed knowledge of many diseases of the kidneys. These nursing professionals medicate, support, and monitor patients who are on dialysis. They also educate them on kidney diseases and the lifestyle choices that will make it easier to keep their disease under control.
The majority of dialysis nurses are RNs or advanced practice nurses, or APRNs, who work in one hospital or may work in several. The career of dialysis nurse allows you to not just make a major difference in your patients’ lives. You also are able to work more regular business hours, and you often have more chances to advance into a higher role.
Where Dialysis Nurses Work
Dialysis procedures are done in hospitals, clinics or even in the homes of patients. You can work in any of these places. One of the major benefits of this field, wherever you work, is that the working hours often are more regular than many other specialties of nursing.
Patients who are in need of this procedure usually are on a fixed schedule of treatment in the daytime hours. But if you are working in a hospital, you may need to do dialysis in an emergency, which can be at any time. That type of schedule usually means you will get higher pay and you will get important life-saving experience at the same time.
Dialysis nurses also can work in:
Home health care agencies
As a dialysis nurse, you can eventually have the opportunity to advance and to take on many job titles, including:
You also may be able to move into a variety of academic, executive and research roles in dialysis nursing.
Job Opportunities & Salary Outlook in Dialysis Nursing
The US Department of Labor states that the general field of nursing will grow quickly by 2020, with a 26% increase in nursing jobs.
It is anticipated that there will be a major increase in demand for dialysis nurses for several reasons:
Kidney disease is a common ailment in the US. About 10% of the population is affected, according to the CDC.
High blood pressure and diabetes are very common, and are a major cause for kidney problems. The US population is growing older, so it is likely there will be more demand for these types of nurses.
Even though kidney transplants are more successful today, dialysis is still the most frequent method of treatment for kidney disease.
Depending upon where you live and your level of experience, you can expect to earn $45,000 to $95,000 in dialysis nursing.
Indeed.com states that the average salary in this field is $68,000:
Dialysis Nurse Requirements
If you wish to specialize in this field, you need to be either an RN or an advanced practice nurse. You will need to take classes in nephrology, pharmacology and nutrition, among others. Be sure that any university program that you are considering offers classes specifically for the field of dialysis nursing. You can work in the field of dialysis nursing with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Earning your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) will give you more opportunities for advancement.
Like all RNs, you will need to be certified before you can practice as a dialysis nurse. You must complete your state approved training program and pass the NCLEX exam for nurses.