What Are the Responsibilities of a Dialysis Nurse?

Dialysis nurses help patients who suffer from kidney conditions, assisting with dialysis procedures. Continue reading to learn more about becoming a dialysis nurse. Schools offering Dialysis Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

As a nurse in this area, you'll assist with patient care during the dialysis process, as well as complete assessments before, during, and after the procedure, help coordinate patient care, and manage other personnel. You might set up equipment, prepare patients, and start the administration of treatment. Your duties can also include handling any paperwork involved.

You'll work with patients of all ages, including the elderly and children, who are at varying stages of kidney disease. Patients also might suffer from other health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or psychiatric conditions. You might have to help patients deal with the psychological effects of having kidney disease and needing dialysis. You might work in a dialysis clinic, doctors' office, outpatient center, patient's home, or hospital.

Important Facts About Dialysis Nurses

Median Salary (2019) $67,576*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)**
Key Skills Critical thinking, compassion, attention to detail, organization, physical stamina, emotional stability, clear communication
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants, EMTs, paramedics, dental hygienists, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Licensing

To become a dialysis nurse, also known as a nephrology nurse, you'll need to complete a diploma program or an associate's or bachelor's degree program in nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), all states will require you to become a registered nurse. Licensing requires passing a national exam and meeting any additional state requirements.

You might need to complete clinical study in nephrology or additional schooling or training in this area. You can opt to complete a master's degree program in nursing to become an advanced practice nurse and gain specialized training in nephrology.

Once you begin working, you might be required to complete continuing education in nephrology. Typically, states require continuing education to maintain licensure. Continuing education in the area of nephrology is available through organizations like the American Nephrology Nurses' Association.


The BLS notes that some employers might prefer or require you to be certified. You can obtain certification in nephrology through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC, www.nncc-exam.org). Becoming a Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) through the NNCC requires you to be a registered nurse with at least 2,000 hours of nursing experience in nephrology in the past two years and at least 15 hours of nephrology continuing education in the past two years.

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