1. Thinking of changing my job. Thinking of going from ICu nursing to dialysis. But I do not know anything about dialysis nursing. Anyone out there that can tell me if I am doing the right change. Very nervous of change. Is dialysis nursing interesting or challenging?
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    About new2nursing

    Joined: Jun '03; Posts: 17


  3. by   renerian
    I will watch this thread as it has interested me as well

  4. by   jmtmom
    Hi and Welcome to the Dialysis Board!

    I recently left ICU for dialysis. But I was only in ICU for a year (straight out of nursing school). ICU was okay for me, but it came with some hassles that I didn't want to deal with for years to come. Since I entered the nursing field in my mid 30's, I figured I didn't have a lot of time to fool around. I wanted to find my niche and setttle in. Dialysis nurses would come to our ICU to dialyze patients, and I would talk to them frequently about their jobs. They all expressed happiness, and the speciality peaked my interest. So I took the plunge and took a job in a dialysis clinic. It's been two months now.

    I like it! Less stressful than ICU. Day shift. Same thing over and over again, so you get really educated about the ins and outs of dialysis. However, some people would not like dialysis for these very reasons. If you actually like the stress level of ICU (some people love it), if you prefer midnights and hate getting up early, and if you like to be ready for whatever train wreck comes through the door, you may not like dialysis. It's repetitive. It's different. It takes time to know what you're doing. But the more I learn, the more I like it.

    I guess it all depends on why you are considering leaving the ICU, and what you are looking for.

    Hope this helps.
  5. by   new2nursing
    Thanks for the reply. You are much like me. I also went straight out of school last year into ICU. I like the excitement, but the people I work with are very caddy and talk behind peoples backs and that I wasn't prepared for. For sure it is the uncertainty of wanting ICU for my career, but also this stuff that is pushing me out. I also think It would be better for my family to be home more and not so stressed. I don't feel I am appreciated for my effort and for the same pay I might as well do something easier. I am in my mid forties and really can't stand the caddiness this unit has offered me. I do have this opportunity, to take the dialysis orientation and I think I will do it. Thanks for your input, it has been helpful. Besides why should we become bitter nurses over being stressed out when there are jobs out there such as dialysis that don't push you to the limit. The one thing that I have learned working in this ICU is that these nurses are in their own cliche and do not relate with other nurses from other units, because they think they are better. I guess I don't feel I am any different or smarter that a ward nurse. I just do my best.
  6. by   tizmonster
    Hi, there:

    After you both get about a year's experience in dialysis - I'd love to discuss what you'd like to do in the future in this field. I work with dialysis groups all over the world...and they are always seeking top grade dialysis RN's! I can tell you can virtually go anywhere you would like and do this clinical application. ESRD is on the rise - due to our lifestyles, hypertension, etc. I wish you the very best in this practice...the nurses that prevail in this have to be very heavy critical thinkers - the good news...you enable a lot of folks to have a better life! Good show. I'd like to hear from you when you're ready to explore other options.
  7. by   renerian
    Good thread......

  8. by   jmtmom
    Unfortunately, bad attitudes and caddiness can be found in all areas of nursing, not just the ICU. I've met people who are wonderful and helpful, and I've run into some who act as if you've committed a crime because you're new. Some people just aren't happy, so they insist on making others miserable. So if you leave the ICU and go to dialysis, you will probably still run into these personality conflicts with some of the other nurses.

    It seems that dialysis is something that is fairly easy once you know what you're doing (I only know what I'm doing a little bit). The biggest thing in the beginning is learning how to work the machine, and how to trouble shoot it. You need to learn how to fix problems with the machine (example, air in the blood lines). The next thing is learning how to handle complications with the patients (most often, hypotension and muscle cramping). You need to learn how to put the needles in the patient's arm. As with all areas of nursing, it takes time to become comfortable. I'm told typically six months to a year. They told me the same thing about ICU, and it was true for me. It took me a good six months to feel comfortable, and not scared out of my mind.

    In dialysis, my comfort level is increasing faster than it did in ICU. It's been two months, and I feel pretty good. Still nervous becasue I have lots to learn, but I feel I can handle routine situations.

    If you decide to go into dialysis, I recommend starting in a chronic dialysis clinic (outpatient). You'll have more patients at a time than you would in the hospital dialysis setting, but you will have lots of experienced people around you when you run into trouble. Acute dialysis is inpatient dialysis, where you dialyze patients usually one at a time. Much slower pace that chronic dialysis, but you are alone. You must know your stuff. Also, if you like lots of action, this may bore you to tears. Boring is actually a welcome change for me.

    I plan to do six months to a year of chronic dialysis, then move to acutes.
  9. by   new2nursing
    With your help I have made up my mind. I am going to take the plunge. Tommorrow, I shall take my resume and apply. I am very excited about learning something new. Did you have to take a 9 week orientation. I will. 2 weeks correspondence(self study), then 3 weeks in lab/hosp. setting and 4 weeks buddied with someone. The area I am looking at is the largest hospital in Winnipeg Canada and I would work out of a clinic and hospital outpatient setting. I would be responsible for 1-2 patients per shift. 12 and 8 hour shifts only Days though and no X'mas or New years. I like that part.
    The wages are not too bad either, 22.00 /hr to start.What are yours like in the USA?

    Also Thanks for the job offer Tizmonster, have to see how I grow as a nurse next.
  10. by   renerian
    Good luck......let us know if you get the job!

  11. by   jmtmom

    I had an eight week orientation. Two weeks in the classroom, two weeks in an outpatient clinic (accompanied by the classroom instructor), then four weeks with a preceptor at the outpatient clinic I was hired for. I've been on my own for two weeks now.

    I work for a very large dialysis clinic. There are 42 chairs, and we run three shifts six days per week. 42 patients are split between seven "modules". There is one RN and 1 - 2 techs per module. So the RN is responsible for six patients at a time. It's very busy and very fast paced. But I knew this going in. Even though it was scary to think about, I felt I could benefit from cutting my teeth in a busy clinic. That way smaller clinics that I may work for in the future would be pretty easy for me to handle. They started me out at $19.21 an hour (because I had no dialysis experience, and I'm a new nurse). I know of another nurse who started at $27.00 an hour. But she has many years of nursing experience, and she was going to an acute unit (I hear they pay more than outpatient).

    I'd say that you've landed a fabulous deal! Responsible for 1 - 2 patients. $22.00 to start. I think you will be very happy there once you get the hang of dialysis.

    Let us know how it turns out!
  12. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I've been working in dialysis for 3 months. I like dialysis, but the work load and instability of the pts is overwhelming.
    I never get to take a break and run, run, run, all day. My back and feet really hurt at the end of a shift, and I'm too tired to do much of anything except plop down on the sofa.

    Every unit is different, though. The work loads vary a great deal from unit to unit.
  13. by   new2nursing
    Well, thanks for your input, it makes me feel somewhat at ease knowing what to expect now. Its always good to here someone elses opinion especially those of you who are experienced in this area. JMTMom you have been a great help, because I can relate to you because we are in the similiar situation ironically. Now I just have to wait to see If I get the interview. There is three positions available, depends on how many apply, I guess. Closing date is June 12, so it will probably be the week after that they will be conducting interviews. Now what do you think they will ask at the interview? What did you get asked. Help, me if you can .I did pick up their syllabus to self study ahead.
  14. by   babs_rn
    Originally posted by jmtmom

    There is one RN and 1 - 2 techs per module. So the RN is responsible for six patients at a time. It's very busy and very fast paced.

    You're only responsible for SIX patients per shift?!?!?How cool is THAT?

    In my clinic (3 shifts, MWF) I'm the ONLY RN - I charge and assist a tech with 5 patients while overseeing the rest of the floor (we're a 15 chair clinic), giving all the meds, functioning as clinical coordinator, vascular access coordinator, make rounds with the doc, etc..(and it's really not bad...these are my "light" days). And on tues/thurs I float to a larger one in downtown Atlanta that has 20 chairs where I am charge over the whole place, each tech has four chairs. I have one LPN who assists in the back (for 8-10 chairs) so I deal with assessments on my 8-10 plus I'm ultimately responsible for what happens with her bunch too; put on and take off 4 caths, give meds on all 20, basically run the show clinically (since the adminstrator has a business degree and no clinical background at all); make the necessary referrals and phone calls to ensure "quality patient care" (meaning I call the doc for emergencies and the social worker for patients who want to act out against the staff - it's a WILD clinic) and if the LPN winds up having to take a pod because a tech didn't show, then I'm doing assessments, giving meds, and putting on caths for EVERYBODY but her four. You call having 6 at a time plus 1-2 techs "busy and fast-paced"? GIRL! I am JEALOUS!!

    Last edit by babs_rn on Jun 6, '03