How to Become a Dialysis Nurse

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A dialysis nurse is sometimes referred to as a nephrology nurse, a urology nurse or a renal nurse. Dialysis nurses learn to operate dialysis equipment that filters waste products from a patient's body when the kidneys can no longer perform this necessary function themselves.

Things You'll Need

  • Passing score on a Certified Dialysis Nurse Exam
  • Nursing Certification
  • Graduate from an accredited nursing school. Nursing schools have various degree programs. An Associate degree in nursing takes about 2 years to complete, some hospitals provide a 3-year nursing diploma program, and 4-year nursing programs at a university will earn you a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or a BSN.

  • Consider an online degree or another distance-learning alternative. If you do choose this route, though, it is important to verify accreditation before beginning the program.

  • Pass your state's nurse certification exam. To become a dialysis nurse, you may also be required to pass a Certified Dialysis Nurse Examination, or CDN exam. Contact the state board of nursing where you live to learn your state's requirements.

  • Study diseases of the kidneys and other related conditions like diabetes that you will encounter everyday once you become a dialysis nurse.

  • Utilize all available resources to find an excellent job as a dialysis nurse once you've graduated nursing school. Nurseoptions.com is a good resource to help you find dialysis nursing jobs and can answer some common questions about the field, including salary requirements (see Resources below).

  • Prepare yourself for a hectic work environment. Modern medical practices have led to an extremely high demand for dialysis procedures and technology with a shortage of nurses available to provide care. Both in-patient and outpatient dialysis nurses can expect to deal with many patients everyday.

  • Become familiar with maintenance of dialysis machinery. The dialysis nurse or technician is often required to perform general maintenance and repair of the dialysis equipment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider becoming a dialysis nursing technician as an alternative. A dialysis technician is not a registered nurse, therefore there is less school involved and less cost. The dialysis technician provides basic patient care and operates the dialysis equipment.
  • There is high demand and low supply of dialysis nurses. This is one of the busiest areas in nursing. While this is a good sign for a job seeker, know that you can expect long hours with often difficult patients.

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