Dialysis Nursing not for me?

Posted

So I am a new grad with previous medical experience as an EMT, scribe and caregiver. I graduated in March right before quarantine started. All the hospitals went on hiring freezes in my area and long story short I ended up getting a nursing position at a dialysis clinic in my area. I was open to this new opportunity but after just 4 short months of training, I HATE it here. At first I was really interested in dialysis and I still enjoy the patient interactions and the medicine behind it but the nursing is so repetitive and there is a considerable lack of team work between the nurses and techs at my clinic. The whole clinic is over worked and understaffed and the management keeps telling me its because of Covid but many of the employees are telling me that it was like this before Covid...

Have any of you guys noticed the same issues after working in dialysis? I keep hearing either you love it or hate it and I beginning to realize that I just might really hate it. 

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 20 years experience. 3,667 Posts

It's OK if you find it's not for you. Dialysis isn't everybody's cup of tea. I came to dialysis fairly recently and find I am liking it.  I do keep in mind the fact that every single nurse and PCT I've worked with has made it  pretty clear that I won't really feel comfortable until about the one year mark and I certainly believe it.  

I came from a long background in LTC and their are some similarities. I enjoy getting to know the patients and dialysis offers that. It's pretty much the same people in those chairs every time. Difference is instead of dealing with the shall we say more challenging patients for 12 hours it's at most 5 hours. Plus unlike LTC there are some limits to the more challenging behavior which seems to be actually enforced. 

Also unlike the world of LTC The patients are there because they want to be there, or at least know they have to be there for a life sustaining treatment. Patients are for the most part pleasant and appreciate what we do for them.

I am also seeing staffing challenges, especially on the tech side.  At least a few times a week there is a nurse or two picking up shifts as a tech. This differs from LTC a bit, in that world the staff would just work short until it was a desperate situation before a nurse would be asked to work as a CNA. It's a pleasant experience for me to work in a setting where I know just working short isn't treated as an option.  If that is what is happening to you I'd say you are working in the wrong clinic. 

There is a fair amount of repetition to the work which I also like, but then at this point in my career I prefer a somewhat predictable day to chaos and surprises! There's enough of the unexpected to keep me on my toes though. 

 

e19xx

e19xx, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis (currently). Previously MedSurg. Has 7 years experience. 12 Posts

The people you work with really does make a difference in your day!! I was lucky enough to have colleagues that are very supportive & helpful ? All the nurses, health care aides, housekeeping, and transport communicate with each other so well that things gets done smoothly & in a timely manner (majority of the time). 

I've only been a dialysis nurse for a few months but I'm 10000000% happier now compared to when I used to work in MedSurg. I love dialysis because where I work . . .

  • Sundays off! (jk we have to work 1 Sunday a year only because we have to make up for the fact that there's no dialysis on Christmas & New Years)
  • Speaking of which, Christmas & New Years off every year
  • No on call 
  • It's fairly routine ...although some people might not like this & love the chaos / the rush. I used to like it too but it burns you out SO QUICK. I was always exhausted & wanted to cry at times from all the stress. 
  • A busy day in dialysis is 1000000x better than a busy day in medsurg
  • Really get to know the patients (majority of our patients are outpatient and chronic) 
  • I don't get anxious 
  • I come home feeling accomplished (I don't stress out anymore about what task I didn't get to do during a shift b/c everything actually gets done) 
  • Less patients to juggle. The most I've juggled at a time is 3. If I work a day shift (0730-1530), I put on 3 patients for AM & then have 1 patient for MIDS til the end of my shift. If it's an evening shift (1530-2330), I start by taking over 1 patient from MIDS til their end of treatment, then put on 3 for EVE. 
  • Very rarely do we need to change a patient because they're independent and a lot of them can't void anymore
  • No running around between rooms juggling 48294 different tasks
  • Better hours (we have 8 hour and 12 hour positions available) 
  • There's opportunity to move up (home hemo, PD, vascular nurse, educator, charge nurse) 

Hopefully it's something you can still love but if not, I'm sure you'll find an area that you'll feel right at home in! 

mairearney

mairearney

3 Posts

On 12/4/2020 at 4:53 AM, e19xx said:

The people you work with really does make a difference in your day!! I was lucky enough to have colleagues that are very supportive & helpful ? All the nurses, health care aides, housekeeping, and transport communicate with each other so well that things gets done smoothly & in a timely manner (majority of the time). 

I've only been a dialysis nurse for a few months but I'm 10000000% happier now compared to when I used to work in MedSurg. I love dialysis because where I work . . .

  • Sundays off! (jk we have to work 1 Sunday a year only because we have to make up for the fact that there's no dialysis on Christmas & New Years)
  • Speaking of which, Christmas & New Years off every year
  • No on call 
  • It's fairly routine ...although some people might not like this & love the chaos / the rush. I used to like it too but it burns you out SO QUICK. I was always exhausted & wanted to cry at times from all the stress. 
  • A busy day in dialysis is 1000000x better than a busy day in medsurg
  • Really get to know the patients (majority of our patients are outpatient and chronic) 
  • I don't get anxious 
  • I come home feeling accomplished (I don't stress out anymore about what task I didn't get to do during a shift b/c everything actually gets done) 
  • Less patients to juggle. The most I've juggled at a time is 3. If I work a day shift (0730-1530), I put on 3 patients for AM & then have 1 patient for MIDS til the end of my shift. If it's an evening shift (1530-2330), I start by taking over 1 patient from MIDS til their end of treatment, then put on 3 for EVE. 
  • Very rarely do we need to change a patient because they're independent and a lot of them can't void anymore
  • No running around between rooms juggling 48294 different tasks
  • Better hours (we have 8 hour and 12 hour positions available) 
  • There's opportunity to move up (home hemo, PD, vascular nurse, educator, charge nurse) 

Hopefully it's something you can still love but if not, I'm sure you'll find an area that you'll feel right at home in! 

Do you work in a hospital?

e19xx

e19xx, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis (currently). Previously MedSurg. Has 7 years experience. 12 Posts

On 1/27/2021 at 10:51 AM, mairearney said:

Do you work in a hospital?

I do! But it’s not a big trauma hospital compared to the other ones we have in the city. 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,957 Posts

They say dialysis is either something we hate or love. I disagree. I feel neither. I like it well enough and don't want to go back to the hospital, but love it?  I don't know if I CAN love nursing anymore after all these years. I love looking forward to retirement and spending time doing  hobbies and especially, seeing grandbabies.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,560 Posts

On 2/5/2021 at 10:11 PM, SmilingBluEyes said:

They say dialysis is either something we hate or love. I disagree. I feel neither. I like it well enough and don't want to go back to the hospital, but love it?  I don't know if I CAN love nursing anymore after all these years. I love looking forward to retirement and spending time doing  hobbies and especially, seeing grandbabies.

I couldn't have said it better myself! Especially the grandbabies part

e19xx

e19xx, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis (currently). Previously MedSurg. Has 7 years experience. 12 Posts

On 2/5/2021 at 9:11 PM, SmilingBluEyes said:

They say dialysis is either something we hate or love. I disagree. I feel neither. I like it well enough and don't want to go back to the hospital, but love it?  I don't know if I CAN love nursing anymore after all these years. I love looking forward to retirement and spending time doing  hobbies and especially, seeing grandbabies.

Ah yes. When I was doing the course & talking to people who were already working there, some people have said they don't really like it because they miss the action from having more acute pts and practicing their skills. Some days I feel it can be repetitive & get bored when there's too much down time, but I can't imagine working in med surg until I retire. Dialysis allows me to have a healthy work-life balance & I feel so much happier after I changed to this specialty. 

DialysisRN1973

DialysisRN1973, LPN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3 Posts

13 years ago, I entered dialysis after years in med surge then ICU. I started out in an out patient clinic and since I was the only RN for each scheduled day, I was charge. After my 2 months of training I was immediately placed in my charge role in a 12 chair clinic.  I hated it at first, I remember being so busy and wondered what kind of bad situation had I put myself in...  However, I thought there had been things I disliked about every other nursing job I had ever had and decided to try and stick with it at least a year.  Anyway, dialysis paid better then the hospitals. 

After a year I had acclimated and felt like I really understood dialysis.  One thing I liked about dialysis was you had to have the organizational skills of a med surge nurse but still needed the critical thinking from the ICU  while providing your daily care.  After 13 years, I have gone from outpatient charge, to outpatient clinical mtg for 6 years, and now Acute dialysis where I am credentialed at 4 hospitals.  

As a clinic Mgr, I have hired many RN's. A percentage of them washed out within a few months. I would say many of the RN's that made it to the year point remained in dialysis.  There are many growth opportunities if you grow tired in one setting. Home Therapies, Edited, Management or Education. Also, at least for the time being, Dialysis experience still counts for something when it comes to job promotion vs higher degrees only.

CN101

CN101, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 1 years experience. 196 Posts

This post is almost a year old, but I just wanted to say that I'm going through the exact same thing right now. I hope you were able to find something better! 

sgilligan1818

sgilligan1818

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 8 years experience. 2 Posts

If anyone is interested in exploring career opportunities at Outset Medical let me know. We are transforming dialysis treatment and have some really cool jobs available for nurses. Feel free to email me at sgilligan@outsetmedical.com 

-Sarah

integrativenurse

Has 20 years experience. 47 Posts

On 12/4/2020 at 4:53 AM, e19xx said:

The people you work with really does make a difference in your day!! I was lucky enough to have colleagues that are very supportive & helpful ? All the nurses, health care aides, housekeeping, and transport communicate with each other so well that things gets done smoothly & in a timely manner (majority of the time). 

I've only been a dialysis nurse for a few months but I'm 10000000% happier now compared to when I used to work in MedSurg. I love dialysis because where I work . . .

  • Sundays off! (jk we have to work 1 Sunday a year only because we have to make up for the fact that there's no dialysis on Christmas & New Years)
  • Speaking of which, Christmas & New Years off every year
  • No on call 
  • It's fairly routine ...although some people might not like this & love the chaos / the rush. I used to like it too but it burns you out SO QUICK. I was always exhausted & wanted to cry at times from all the stress. 
  • A busy day in dialysis is 1000000x better than a busy day in medsurg
  • Really get to know the patients (majority of our patients are outpatient and chronic) 
  • I don't get anxious 
  • I come home feeling accomplished (I don't stress out anymore about what task I didn't get to do during a shift b/c everything actually gets done) 
  • Less patients to juggle. The most I've juggled at a time is 3. If I work a day shift (0730-1530), I put on 3 patients for AM & then have 1 patient for MIDS til the end of my shift. If it's an evening shift (1530-2330), I start by taking over 1 patient from MIDS til their end of treatment, then put on 3 for EVE. 
  • Very rarely do we need to change a patient because they're independent and a lot of them can't void anymore
  • No running around between rooms juggling 48294 different tasks
  • Better hours (we have 8 hour and 12 hour positions available) 
  • There's opportunity to move up (home hemo, PD, vascular nurse, educator, charge nurse) 

Hopefully it's something you can still love but if not, I'm sure you'll find an area that you'll feel right at home in! 

What you said except I also work for a hospital so our outfit is basically acute and chronic. We do have on calls though. Generally speaking, dialysis is a better gig than my experience in LTC, Med Surg or ICU based on the positives you listed. The only job I can say I had with equally less stress was family practice. After 16 years in HD, I moved to be a renal CM with no weekends, no holidays, and still no on-call.