Dialysis Interview for LPN...HELP

  1. I am excited and also very nervous about an upcoming interview I have with a Dialysis Clinic. Yes, I have read several posts here but still can't get a general idea about what it is truly like working as a Dialysis nurse, particularly an LPN. I have only been an LPN for 2 years and wonder if I'm stepping into fire? I am also very excited about this interview and want to see what this job has to offer. So, can anyone tell me what I may be getting myself into? What is minimum amount of training I should expect? I know it is very busy and involves an extroidinary amount of critical thinking...from the previous posts I've read. I also am very interested in Dialysis as well. I would be taking a pay cut but I am so ready to get out of the long term care setting I am currently working at.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   skittlebear
    anyone?
  4. by   GeauxNursing
    I'm an LVN at a chronic dialysis unit. I take a 4-patient assignment everyday. I am responsible for machine setup, pre-and post- pt assessment, hooking pts up to the machine, monitoring vitals, d/Cing tx, then setting up for another shift x3 every day.
    I work my butt off all day. 12+ hour shifts. Davita and FMC will train you fully, at least 10 weeks of classroom and shadowing and on-the-floor training with a preceptor. (At least at Davita)
    I was a PCT for 4 years before I got my license so it was an easy transition for me. For outsiders, esp. new nurses it can be a lot to take in.
    This isn't a "nurse's station" nurse job, you WORK. And no offense to anyone, y'all know what I mean.
    some of my duties:
    hauling heavy bicarb jugs around
    lifting and/or repositioning pts who can't do it themselves
    keeping track of scheduled labs for all pts
    paging the doc when someone spikes a fever or has chest pain or a clotted access
    making appts for pts with whichever doc/consult their nephrologists deem necessary
    continuous education about diet and fluid restriction to ppl who don't understand, can't hear, can't speak english, or just don't care.
    document, document, document!
    adhere to VERY strict infection control policies
    sticking new fistulas and grafts with needles, while trying to keep the pt still, while explaining how important it is to NOT MOVE your arm! please
    mixing bicarb, keeping up with daily water checks
    managing pt complaints about their neighbor in the chair whose TV is too loud,
    managing pt's family complaints
    managing pts family
    giving IV meds and antibiotics
    calculating fluid goal, keeping in mind docs order, pts tendency to drop BP or cramp, the 2 bottles of water hiding in pts bag, etc.
    troubleshooting the dialysis machine. high TMP?? What?? No, there is NO BLOOD LEAK! haha
    boxing up large bags of biohazard waste
    sitting in one position for 20 minutes with cramped up fingers trying to get pt to stop bleeding.

    it's cool. But I don't think I'm a lifer. I'll be out after I finish RN bridge.
  5. by   ThinkerBelleRN
    wow! i was actually considering this field for the main reason that i hate graveyard shifts... All that being said im starting to have second thoughts on specializing in dialysis.
  6. by   nossawja
    I just graduated LPN school and got my license. I've worked as a tech for four years. Its everything Geaux said it is, but I love it! I work in a relatively small unit with only 7 chairs, but I love getting to know the patients. Its similar to LTC in that you see the same patients every day. I know that I'll be staying with dialysis after my RN program.
  7. by   GeauxNursing
    7 chairs??? wow, I would love that! I work at a 20-chair, and a 12-chair. Do you mean you only have 7 pts, or you only have 7 chairs?
    Don't get me wrong, I like my job a lot. I just can't see spending many many years where I am.
    Oh, we run 3 shifts. I go in at 0430 to open up, and leave around 1630 if I'm not the closer. The closer puts in a 16-hour day.
  8. by   ThinkerBelleRN
    what do you guys like about being a dialysis nurse? and the best thing about it compared to other areas?
  9. by   skittlebear
    Quote from GeauxNursing
    I'm an LVN at a chronic dialysis unit. I take a 4-patient assignment everyday. I am responsible for machine setup, pre-and post- pt assessment, hooking pts up to the machine, monitoring vitals, d/Cing tx, then setting up for another shift x3 every day.
    I work my butt off all day. 12+ hour shifts. Davita and FMC will train you fully, at least 10 weeks of classroom and shadowing and on-the-floor training with a preceptor. (At least at Davita)
    I was a PCT for 4 years before I got my license so it was an easy transition for me. For outsiders, esp. new nurses it can be a lot to take in.
    This isn't a "nurse's station" nurse job, you WORK. And no offense to anyone, y'all know what I mean.
    some of my duties:
    hauling heavy bicarb jugs around
    lifting and/or repositioning pts who can't do it themselves
    keeping track of scheduled labs for all pts
    paging the doc when someone spikes a fever or has chest pain or a clotted access
    making appts for pts with whichever doc/consult their nephrologists deem necessary
    continuous education about diet and fluid restriction to ppl who don't understand, can't hear, can't speak english, or just don't care.
    document, document, document!
    adhere to VERY strict infection control policies
    sticking new fistulas and grafts with needles, while trying to keep the pt still, while explaining how important it is to NOT MOVE your arm! please
    mixing bicarb, keeping up with daily water checks
    managing pt complaints about their neighbor in the chair whose TV is too loud,
    managing pt's family complaints
    managing pts family
    giving IV meds and antibiotics
    calculating fluid goal, keeping in mind docs order, pts tendency to drop BP or cramp, the 2 bottles of water hiding in pts bag, etc.
    troubleshooting the dialysis machine. high TMP?? What?? No, there is NO BLOOD LEAK! haha
    boxing up large bags of biohazard waste
    sitting in one position for 20 minutes with cramped up fingers trying to get pt to stop bleeding.

    it's cool. But I don't think I'm a lifer. I'll be out after I finish RN bridge.
    Wow! Thanks so much for the details of your day! It makes me tired even reading it, lol. My interview went great, but I am having second thoughts. I actually told the guy I'd have to think about it after he offered me the position. It just seemed so overwhelming as he took me back to the room where all the patients sat in their chairs dialyzing. Everyone was so busy and the Dialysis machines looked so intimidating! He never gave me a nurse to patient ratio when I asked. He basically said everyone works together...? I know you would be busy, I don't know if I could stay in one crowded room all day. I was so hoping it would be for me!
  10. by   GeauxNursing
    well you never know til you try! Like I said, the big companies will train, train, train, til you know every single thing there is to know! And you always have the support of the team you're working with.
  11. by   sissib
    Dialysis is all this and more. Especially LPN. You will need your nursing skills and tech skills too. I too was LPN only 2 years when I went to dialysis and I do not regret one day I spend there. Sure there will be days from ____, but those are everywhere. To me this is rewarding and hope I can do this for as long as my career lasts. One other PLUS is it is a VERY specific skill and you will be able to find a job everywhere you go, including lots of travel nursing opps.
    My friend is in Hawaii now for her second time. She is begging me to start traveling with her. This is also as close to intensive care that an LPN can get, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Good luck in whatever your choice is!

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