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Acute Dialysis as a New Grad?

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by jannes jannes (New) New

Hi everyone! So I just became licensed a couple months ago, and I would say I'm pretty early in my job application game (less than 20 jobs applied). I applied to DaVita for an acute position just to see what happens (my priority was finding a job in med-surg/telemetry/step down), and I just got a job offer for an acute RN position. I thought it would've been more interesting compared to being in a clinic all day, and that I could learn a lot being in an acute setting. I've read a lot of threads on here talking about the pros and cons of both acute and chronic. Most of them talk about chronic though. 

I know people talk about dialysis being good experience regardless of it being highly specialized. However, I'm still in school trying to get my BSN, and the crazy hours, plus being on-call, is kind of deterring me away from this position. I even asked how often I would need to be on call, and I didn't get a straight forward answer, just the fact that I would need to be as flexible as possible. Plus, the pay isn't as great as I thought it was going to be for an acute position. But I'm from Southern CA, so the job market is already incredibly saturated, and I'm scared that if I decline the offer I won't find a job for another several months. 

Anyone else started as a new grad in my position? Can you just shed some light on what your personal experiences are/were? Even seasoned nurses, can you tell me if this is doable for someone with little to no healthcare experience. 

Hi Jannes,

I'm sorry I can't help much with advice, but I am someone who can understand what you're saying.

I am actually in a very similar situation with you. I recently graduated with my ADN and received my licensure. I was hired at a Davita clinic as well, chronic though, with no previous HC experience. I would have never thought that I would be a dialysis nurse either but it was hard getting my foot in the door without going into an agency or homecare position. I love the people I'm working with but the hours sure are crazy though! Their is a high turnover rate because of those hours. I also agree that the pay isn't the best, most of my other nursing school colleagues are making a few dollars /hr more then me. 

For myself, I just see this job as a means to better opportunity. I am trying to atleast stay for one year, just to gain more experience and hopefully move to the hospital setting. Just do your best and learn as much as you can during your time there! As new grads we don't really get to be too choosey to what we want our first job to be. But don't worry, we will definitely get there!

2 hours ago, Lovelylifestlye said:

Hi Jannes,

I'm sorry I can't help much with advice, but I am someone who can understand what you're saying.

I am actually in a very similar situation with you. I recently graduated with my ADN and received my licensure. I was hired at a Davita clinic as well, chronic though, with no previous HC experience. I would have never thought that I would be a dialysis nurse either but it was hard getting my foot in the door without going into an agency or homecare position. I love the people I'm working with but the hours sure are crazy though! Their is a high turnover rate because of those hours. I also agree that the pay isn't the best, most of my other nursing school colleagues are making a few dollars /hr more then me. 

For myself, I just see this job as a means to better opportunity. I am trying to atleast stay for one year, just to gain more experience and hopefully move to the hospital setting. Just do your best and learn as much as you can during your time there! As new grads we don't really get to be too choosey to what we want our first job to be. But don't worry, we will definitely get there!

You're right. Are you currently in a BSN program right now? Has work-life balance been tough for you?

I think what's also frustrating is that I ultimately want to get into Aesthetics. I found a company that doesn't require acute care experience, and provides a lot of training. So I'm in the process of waiting to hear back from them. And if I were to ever get a job offer with them, I would take it instead of going into acute care.

Chisca, RN

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 37 years experience.

You have to be pretty independent to do acutes as you are called out to do ICU patients. The ICU nurse will still be responsible for patient care but it can be daunting to walk into the ICU setting with no critical care experience. The problem with dialysis, as a nurse, is the lack of any balance between your personal life and the requirements of the job. I frequently have to do 12-16 hour shifts and no one understands that you don't know exactly when you will be home. Clinics at least offer some balance. Acutes offer long hours and lots of call. Pay may be low but you will make up for it by all the overtime. Whether you want it or not.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 10/28/2020 at 4:47 PM, Chisca said:

You have to be pretty independent to do acutes as you are called out to do ICU patients. The ICU nurse will still be responsible for patient care but it can be daunting to walk into the ICU setting with no critical care experience. The problem with dialysis, as a nurse, is the lack of any balance between your personal life and the requirements of the job. I frequently have to do 12-16 hour shifts and no one understands that you don't know exactly when you will be home. Clinics at least offer some balance. Acutes offer long hours and lots of call. Pay may be low but you will make up for it by all the overtime. Whether you want it or not.

Clinics are some better, but not always. I've had nurses/techs out due to CV recently and worked 16 hours on the floor to cover. Hubs wonders why not just get someone else to do it...ummm, yeah, there's tons of staff sitting around waiting for my call 🙄

ETA-RN, ADN, RN

Has 20 years experience.

I'm in the exact same position. New grad, working on BSN, have my part time job as an RT(R). I have more than 350 applications out in socal.

While it's not my goal as a nurse to be a dialysis nurse it IMO it is better than medsurg for me. Having worked in acute care departments for more than 20 years so that doesn't phase me. I think it is very doable.

NJCee, BSN

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 2 years experience.

I graduated last December and rafter a short but enlightening experience as a Correctional Nurse, I went to DaVita Acutes.

I’m probably too late, but here’s my impression.

Acutes: Training is...okay. It’s subjective bc if your preceptor doesn’t teach you by the book, then you learn his/her ways and you’ll think that’s the right way. Basic Training the week long training program is online now bc of COVID, so your preceptor is key- hope they’re good. I didn’t like acutes bc it takes your personal time away. Sometimes it’s two patients a day and with paperwork you’re looking at a good 10 hour day, but if more patients are added on....and if the on call nurse is already overloaded.....your day is now longer. I also disliked being on call. One Sunday every six weeks, but always at least one week a week on call. Hated it! You get paid more on your call days, you get paid to travel to other hospitals....but blah. Also it’s lonely. You barely ever see your “coworkers” and have to sit with patients ranging from 0-10.  I switched to a Chronics after six months. 
 

Chronic: I actually learned more about dialysis, more about proper interventions, dialysis drug importance, diet, and more. In the hospital you clean the blood and could honestly care less about weight- because you use the patients bed and who knows the pillows and sheets added to it. But the training nurses just put whatever was on the bed- now I understand the importance of proper weight. It’s nice to have co workers. The clinic is more busy but you have people who can help you if you say “help me out guys”, instead of floor nurses looking at you like....uhhh nope. The clinic is more “nursing” tasks as well. Putting patients on dialysis machine is mostly done by Techs but nurses can have their patients they put on treatment too- but you also have a lot of other nursing roles. It makes the job of dialysis nurse seem like an important job. I’m glad I did acutes first, bc now in the clinic I appreciate what we do more. Also set schedules are nice and it’s always closed Sunday and holidays 😊 

CN101, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis.

Hello!

I received an offer from DaVita. It’ll be in chronics at a local clinic. 
 

Would any new graduates like to share how their time at Davita is going?

NJCee, BSN

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 2 years experience.

1 hour ago, CN101 said:

Hello!

I received an offer from DaVita. It’ll be in chronics at a local clinic. 
 

Would any new graduates like to share how their time at Davita is going?

I was a new grad DaVita nurse. I stayed for a year then I left. It’s a good job that pays well, but it was super repetitive for me. You will never be afraid to stick a needle in anyone ever again once you get used to this job 😂 I went from using 14, 15, and 16 gauge needles to now using “regular” needles and thinking it’s so simple now.

Work starts early but you get off at a decent hour. Training is long so you’ll feel like the work is easy paced but once you’re in your own you’ll see how it can get tough- the toughness is only when you have multiple patients to take off when you have others waiting to sit down. The job is nothing to fear. You’ll learn a lot!!

CN101, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis.

On 2/8/2021 at 7:01 PM, NJCee said:

I was a new grad DaVita nurse. I stayed for a year then I left. It’s a good job that pays well, but it was super repetitive for me. You will never be afraid to stick a needle in anyone ever again once you get used to this job 😂 I went from using 14, 15, and 16 gauge needles to now using “regular” needles and thinking it’s so simple now.

Work starts early but you get off at a decent hour. Training is long so you’ll feel like the work is easy paced but once you’re in your own you’ll see how it can get tough- the toughness is only when you have multiple patients to take off when you have others waiting to sit down. The job is nothing to fear. You’ll learn a lot!!

Hello,

I just wanted to reach out to you and thank you so much for responding to my question. I ended up accepting the position. I am very excited to start. Thank you again for your insight.