dialysis straight out of school?

  1. Is there anyone out there who will advocate going straight into dialysis nursing as a new grad? (ADN). I know there are a million of you who insist that it can't be done without Med/Surg experience, but I'd REALLY like to hear some success stories if anyone out there has gone straight into the specialty. I'm an older student about to graduate in May. It's not that I don't want to "bother" getting med/surg experience, but I find during clinicals that I can't stand getting pulled in so many different directions. I want to learn something really well and be great at it. I took my patient down today for dialysis and started talking to the nurse. She told me that they do hire new grads and that it takes about 6 months to learn the job and be comfortable with it. I was shocked! I had no idea. Well if this particular company has a hx of hiring new grads then some (hopefully most) must succeed at dialysis nursing without the med/surg experience. I'm very interested in the field and like I said I really want to focus on a specialized area of nursing and excel at it. Thanks for any info! (and those that are totally against it need not respond...I know you're out there-LOL!)
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    About AlwaysTired

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 29; Likes: 21


  3. by   traumaRUs
    I'm an APN in two dialysis units and think it could be done.
  4. by   DeLana_RN
    Hi, there,

    I'm not against it, I just think that it will be easier for a new grad to have some previous acute care experience. That said, if you can find a good hospital dialysis unit (I would not recommend an outpatient clinic) that is willing to train you, then I think you have a good chance at succeeding. One of my colleagues started as a new grad and is certainly holding her own. (She just needs some help with some unfamiliar general hospital nursing procedues, but to be honest, so do I - even after a year in med/surg 8 years ago).

    If you're older and "mature", then you are also more likely to know what really interests you (so a lack of "general nursing experience", which might limit your options later, would not be such a great concern). My response to a 20-year-old in another thread was partially due to her age (and the possibility that she would want to pursue another area of nursing later).

    Best of luck to you!


    P.S. I have to agree with you, med/surg can be a nightmare I learned a lot, but at what price... You will probably find the pace of dialysis, if you can find a good unit (and don't mind call ), to be much better.
    Last edit by DeLana_RN on Feb 15, '07
  5. by   nobodys_angel
    hi.. im a new grad and i just got hired in dialysis.. i can say i really like it.. at first, some people told meh too that i need experience in the ICU or the medsurg unit.. but still, i went straight to dialysis since i'm willing to learn.. and tadaa!!, i find it enjoying and rewarding.. i read dialysis books so that i can be more confident and i can prove myself even though i dont have any other experience..

    well, what i can say is, if you really like something, and you're willing to learn, you'll make it..:spin:
  6. by   AlwaysTired
    Thanks everyone! I'm really encouraged by what I'm hearing and excited to pursue a career in dialysis after graduation. Does anyone have any books/resource material to recommend? Some of my strongest skills are assessments and venipuncture (having worked in the lab at our local Health Dept for years; btw I'm an LPN). I plan on studying the disease process and labs very heavily before going for an interview in order to be well prepared. Anything else to focus on as a beginner? Thanks again!!
  7. by   DeLana_RN
    Well you are certainly not the typical new (RN) grad then... and with your background, going straight into dialysis would certainly not be a problem.

    As for books, I once had one (that a had lent to new coworker who quit without notice and never returned it ), so I don't know if I remember this correctly: "Hemodialysis for Nurses and Dialysis Technicians". It's a thin volume that nevertheless explains the basics very well and would prepare you for an interview (and help during your training as well).

    If you want to go more in depth, the "ANNA Core Curriculum for Nephrology Nursing" is a good text.

    And of course, study your A&P book - especially renal physiology, fluid & electrolyte balance. Pathophysiology of hypertension and diabetes, and med management would also be helpful.

    Good luck!

    Last edit by DeLana_RN on Feb 17, '07
  8. by   cat and dog
    Do I need to be trained and get a certification for hemodialysis before I can get a job as a hemodialysis RN?
  9. by   DeLana_RN
    Most companies will train you, both on the job and by sending you to courses for the theory. In my case (in 1999), 8 weeks training included 2 weeks ouf of town classroom instruction.

    Of course they will usually prefer nurses with dialysis experience, but this is something you learn on the job and not in a course you can take (I know there are such courses, but I wouldn't waste my money).


    Last edit by DeLana_RN on Mar 22, '07
  10. by   Farkinott
    I precept new grads a couple of times a year. It doesn't matter whether you have 5 minutes experience or 10 yrs dialysis is a whole new field. I embrace new grads as well as oder nurses that have decided on a job change. If u are keen and willing to learn then u will do well.
  11. by   Lacie
    I just came back from a week of "dialysis" classes and there were several new grads at the program. After spending several days and interacting two of those new grads expressed they had been employed 3 months now with this particular dialysis company. Both after completing the classes determined they needed to get some additional experience in the hospital setting as they had spoke to others and felt down the road being only exposed to dialysis may hurt them in the future if they decided it wasnt exactly thier niche so to speak. My advice was to try to pick up something per diem at least outside of dialysis to get the addition experience they may need down the road if they decide to pursue other areas of nursing. I'm an experienced RN and finding dialysis really not to be too difficult but you are limited in what you do particularly in the chronic settings in relation to exposure to other nursing experiences. As a new grad I went straight into critical care and later took the opportunity to try several other areas such as cardiac, burns, trauma. I dont regret it. Now I'm doing dialysis and it's actually much easier on my body and my mind to be honest. But I'm glad I had the other exposures as it has helped when relating to other illnesses my clients may have.
  12. by   GIRN
    I'm an older grad and went right into a specialty as you're wanting to. I love it! I don't have the experience to fall back on and find myself asking experienced nurses for their opinion a lot. But I'm learning from them and it's definitely do-able. I wish I could go back in time and work on a floor to gain that experience but I can't so I'll learn vicariously from other nurses that HAVE got that experience. There are trade-offs...I have to live with that feeling of insecurity when I encounter something I haven't dealt with before but I love what I do. Luckily, I work with wonderful nurses that are willing to share their knowledge. Good luck to you!