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What is it like to work as a dialysis nurse?

Dialysis nurses save lives every day by supporting patients who are facing kidney failure. These highly specialized nurses aren’t just caregivers – they’re also educators, helping patients learn how to best care for themselves and their kidneys. This may include educating patients about effectively managing high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are common causes of chronic kidney disease.

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the National Kidney Foundation, one in seven adults in the U.S. has chronic kidney disease. Further, the Foundation notes that more people die from chronic kidney disease than from breast or prostate cancer.

While kidney disease is more common among older adults – which means a higher incidence rate as our population ages – children can also develop kidney disease. In children, kidney failure can be the result of any condition that causes an obstruction or blockage of blood and/or oxygen to the kidneys, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia notes. Whether these young patients are going through dialysis or awaiting a transplant, they may be treated by a pediatric dialysis nurse, yet another form of specialization among dialysis nurses.

What exactly is dialysis? 

At the most basic level, dialysis is the process of detoxifying a patients’ blood, with the hope of restoring proper kidney function. There are two primary types of dialysis – hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Under both treatment models, dialysis nurses play a vital role in overseeing treatment, supporting patients and serving as an educational resource.

Where do dialysis nurses work?

While many dialysis nurses work in hospitals or outpatient treatment centers, some also work in nursing homes or hospice facilities. The latter group of nurses often specialize in geriatric dialysis and are exceptionally adept at serving the aging population.

How do I become a dialysis nurse?

Dialysis nurses work in the field of nephrology, a specialized form of medicine focused on the kidneys. They are both licensed RNs and hold a certification in dialysis or nephrology. While obtaining this specialized certification means extra studying and course work, knowing you are helping to save patients’ lives every day is incredibly rewarding.

As the U.S. population continues to age, the prevalence of chronic kidney disease and demand for dialysis nurses will continue to rise. Whether you are a practicing dialysis nurse or in the process of pursuing your certification, know that every day you go to work, you are helping to save the life of an individual battling chronic kidney disease.

As a trusted provider of nurses throughout New York, we are always looking for local dialysis nurses to join our talent pool. Thornbury Nursing Services is currently seeking highly specialized nurses. If you’re always willing to go the extra mile to make patients comfortable, please reach out!
646-779-7960Reach Alicia on

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