Dialysis Nurse Jobs: Career and Education Facts

Dialysis nurses care for patients with kidney disease. See how to get the required education and clinical training in hemodialysis equipment and procedures, as well as licensure and professional certification. Get answers to questions about salary and continuing education. Schools offering Dialysis Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a dialysis nurse, you treat patients with chronic kidney disease. In order to become a dialysis nurse, you must earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. Nurses must be licensed by their state in order to practice nursing, and there are certification options available.

Degree Bachelor's degree in nursing
Certification Requires RN, LVN, or LPN licensure; varies by state; further certification available
Salary $65,207 annually (median salary for dialysis nurses)*

Source: *Payscale

What Type of Work Will I Perform?

Patients you work with may have end-stage renal failure (ESRD) or acute kidney injury, necessitating hospital treatment in an intensive care unit or continued outpatient dialysis therapy. You may gain increasing experience and training in hemodialysis, the use of dialysis machines using dialysate to clean the blood, and nephrology, the study of kidney disease.

What Level of Education Will I Need?

Although nursing degree programs with emphases in hemodialysis or nephrology may not be available, you may need to obtain a bachelor's degree in nursing and receive dialysis training through a nursing residency program. Dialysis nurses obtain general licensure as a registered nurse (RN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) from state nursing boards.

What Type of Certification Will I Need?

Certification in dialysis nursing generally requires RN, LVN or LPN licensure along with two years or 2,000 hours of experience in a dialysis clinic or hospital nephrology department. You can earn the Certified Nephrology Nurse or the Certified Dialysis Nurse credential from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC). NNCC credentials require recertification every three years through documented experience, continuing education credits or re-examination.

The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) issues the Certified Hemodialysis Nurse (CHN) and the Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (CPDN) credential. BONENT certifications feature similar eligibility requirements as well as recertification every four years through the accumulation of 40 contact hours in a continuing education program.

What Type of Salary Can I Expect?

According to a survey conducted by PayScale, most respondents in the field of dialysis nursing earned incomes ranging from $45,021-$87,281 per year as of July 2018. Salary.com reported the median salary for dialysis nurses as $75,880. Specialized nursing training and certifications may allow you the opportunity to increase your earning potential. The salary range for most registered nurses surveyed by PayScale was slightly larger than the range for dialysis nurses, ranging from $40,468-$88,640 as of July 2018.

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