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What Are the Job Duties of an Acute Dialysis RN?
RNs who specialize in acute dialysis work in the hospital rather than in freestanding centers.
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Registered nurses often are trained in the use of dialysis machines for patients with kidney failure, which also is called renal failure. Dialysis, which artificially removes toxins and waste products from the blood, can be a lifesaving procedure for these patients. RNs might work with chronic dialysis patients, who have end-stage renal failure and receive dialysis on a regular basis, or with acute dialysis patients — patients with other serious diseases who experience sudden kidney failure. Acute dialysis nursing involves a great deal of teaching, as well as the knowledge to safely prepare dialysis solutions and carry out the dialysis process.
Registered nurses who work in acute dialysis receive on-the-job training from their employer after graduation from an accredited nursing school. Paths to an RN license include a two-year degree, called an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, a three-year diploma degree or completion of a four-year bachelor of nursing program. After graduation, a graduate nurse must pass the nursing boards examination to receive a nursing license.
An acute dialysis RN talks to the dialysis patient and/or his family, explains the dialysis procedure, answers their questions and addresses any concerns. She prepares the dialysate solution, checks the dialysis port and accesses the site, sets the limits on the dialysis machinery, obtains permission for the procedure, administers any medications and identifies the patient correctly. An acute dialysis RN also watches the patients carefully for complications during the procedure, ensures that the proper amount of solution infuses and keeps records of the procedure.
Places of Employment
Acute dialysis RNs generally work in the hospital, performing dialysis on hospitalized patients, although they might be employed by dialysis centers rather than the hospital itself. Patients who need dialysis include patients with serious disorders that cause a sudden shutdown of the kidneys along with other organs. Severe infections, severe trauma, burns, poisons, medication reactions and other disorders that reduce blood flow to the kidneys can all cause the kidneys to fail suddenly, according to MayoClinic.com. Chronic dialysis patients whose conditions worsen or who enter the hospital for care also receive dialysis from the acute dialysis RN.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospital-based RNs make a mean annual salary of $69,810. Acute dialysis RN salaries vary, depending on where you live, but can range from an average of $75,121 in Atlanta, Georgia, to $93,915 in Los Angeles, California, the Salary Expert.com website reports. Acute dialysis RNs might have an irregular schedule, which varies according to the number of patients needing dialysis in the hospital.
About the Author
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley Dummies series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.