New to dialysis

  1. I am new to dialysis after working ER for 20 some years, then med surge for a short while then LTC for a short while..I cry almost every day when I leave work. I have now the understanding that six weeks of training will get you even if you think you are a fast learner...nowhere at all. You cannot learn in six weeks what You need to know to be a dialysis nurse.

    1) overflowed our bicarbonate tank once..was terrified I did something major the alarms are really loud people move really fast when those alarms in the water room go
    2) I could not remember how to turn the valves off and on so AS I was filling a bicarbonate tank it was emptying. Had to start that process so my boss took me around the room and made me figure out off and on valves were. Won't forget them ever
    3) I put too much water into the bicarbonate tank as I was trying to multitask and did not pay Geesh wasted two bags bicarbonate...
    4) It took me six weeks to string a machine with some semblance of confidence and I still ask questions and still feel my heart drop to my feet when alarms go off
    5) I can now confidently put a patient on a machine and take them off with only minimal help.
    6) I know it takes up to a year to feel comfortable with dialysis but I am here to tell you that being an ER nurse does not help in this department at all.
    7) I think for this job you have to be younger than my 59 we do tech work as well as nursing work. I come home exhausted but have managed to loose a few pounds from sweating so much and lugging bicarbonate and acid jugs around. Not to mention up and down positions to wash equipment and chairs.
    8) for nurses and techs who have been doing this for a number of them it is so easy . For us newbies and older nurses ( who do not have that faster thought process anymore) it is so very hard to do this job.
    Oh and don't forget about all the times you will get soaking wet washing jugs and lifting the lid on the bicarbonate tank when the sprayer is on.. Facial features are hilarious at those

    But overall they say I am doing fine...they that have so much more experience than myself...yesterday I only texted my hubby once to say can I quit this job yet? And I did not cry when I got home..

    So Happy New Year to all of us.. It has to be better
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    About missvwbugs

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 3


  3. by   RNrerun
    Wow. I was interested in dialysis, but you may have talked me out of it. I was out of nursing for 17 years, and have just returned. I have two part time jobs, but will probably need to go FT for better benefits.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Dialysis is very specialized. It really takes one year to be comfortable in this role. Dont be hard on yourself. Hang in there....
  5. by   DialysisRN12
    RNrerun don't let the other post scare you off. I'm not in any way knocking the nurse who posted that the thread but learning is individual. I was competent with stringing a machine in 3 days. Troubleshooting alarms takes a little longer to master. I've been charge of a 18-chair unit and felt confident and competent.

    I started in one of my company's chronic units, where one nurse always techs, 5.5 months ago. I was already offered a position on our acute team in the middle of October and am now proficient at Apheresis.

    I love dialysis and feel I've found my niche. I empathize with the posters who say they hate dialysis because I feel it's the companies they are working for and not the field of dialysis per se.
  6. by   Ryan RN
    I have a friend who works as a dialysis tech... If he can do it anybody can... I dont see how the RN role is that much more difficult.. SeriouslyYears of experience means nothing... The quality of those years is a different story...With that said... As long as you havent killed anybody, youre doing something right
  7. by   Brookeylea
    Ryan RN. If you think anyone can do it take a back seat. If everyone could do it then the turn over rate would be much lower, but it's not. Be honest. It's hard work and takes dedication. Im a tech working on my RN and started with 4 new hires myself, another tech, and two RNs. Only the two techs are left. Another nurse quit after one day back. Had another quit and go to DaVita for hire up position. It's not essy, it's real hard but rewarding.
  8. by   Ryan RN
    I guess it depends on the person. One unit might fit one better than another. I cant see how a dialysis unit is more crazy than the ER which is where im coming from. With that said, ill crap my pants in a pediatric or maternity unit.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    You are right Ryan - my experience is ER and although Im not a dialysis RN but rather an APN, yep dialysis is not nearly as choatic as level one trauma center not by a long shot. The pts can be impatient about their times but in the grand scheme of things, most of these pts do not work, do not do anything else so waiting 10-15 minutes is not a big deal - certainly not life or death like it can be in the ER.
  10. by   cajunito
    I just started with Davita this past week.... So far,so good. It seems maybe a little overwhelming at 1st, but I consider myself fortunate because I have an excellent trainer, and I know things will come together as I move along in the process. Sure,the hours are long,and there is much to learn.. But just about every other nurse I have met doing this is happy to be away from the hospital grind. Time management is crucial, just as in most areas of nursing. It's soo nice to work around people who are happy about their work,for a change!
  11. by   cn2007rn
    I work in home dialysis and love it, love the relationships I have created w/ pt, knowing when something is going on with your pt since you know them so well. I am not a big fan of on-call, but everything else I really like. I like training new pt's and convincing them they can do this at home, and when they can, it feels very fulfilling that I taught them. I never thought dialysis would be my niche but I really like it and plan to do this for a while. Good luck w/ your new career move! Glad I made the move to dialysis!
  12. by   workingmomRN
    I have been in dialysis since 2000, started with Fresenius then went to Davita. I have worked in some great clinics & 1 particular clinic that was an absolute hellhole. It is hard work, but I like the relationships that we develop with our patients. I do remember that the first year I wanted to quit every day, but I was not determined to let it get the best of me. And I have been here ever since. Just hang in there, it really does get better!
  13. by   Lucky724
    Is is true that 12 hr shifts are more like 14-16 on a regular basis at the two larger companies?
  14. by   just keep swimming
    Quote from Ryan RN
    I have a friend who works as a dialysis tech... If he can do it anybody can... I dont see how the RN role is that much more difficult.. SeriouslyYears of experience means nothing... The quality of those years is a different story...With that said... As long as you havent killed anybody, youre doing something right
    I think you are very wrong. I have been in dialysis for 9 years, 2 as a PCT and the rest as a nurse. I am charge in a 24 chair inner city unit with patients who have no primary care and multiple comorbidities. Not anyone could do this job. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing and the learning never stops as long as you want to learn.

    I have worked with many nurses and PCTs who couldn't hack it! The role of an RN in dialysis is a lot more complicated than you think...please do not put down a specialty until you have tried it.

    Trauma, you are right, it may not be as chaotic as a level 1 trauma center; however the backround stuff that RNs do in dialysis can be very in depth. And, at least where I work, there is no one to turn to if there are complications or emergencies. I don't have a team or a doctor there with me when I run a code. Assessment skills are crucial because a doctor is not coming right behind me to verify what I find. Then add on top of all of that the need for good management skills because you are managing a whole team of PCTs....the list goes on!

    I guess it is possible to do the minimum to make sure your patients "just survive" but if you want to be a good nurse, there is a lot more to do than just that....think nephrology, cardiology, endocrinology wrapped up into one job.

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