May be interviewing for a dialysis job, HELP!

  1. I just graduated from LPN school. Haven't even taken my NCLEX-PN yet, I'm that new. Anyway, I just talked with HR from a nearby medical center & she is recommending me to various managers for LPN jobs. I don't want to work in the hospital setting. Anyway, one of the positions she has in mind for me is dialysis nursing. I know nothing, well, next to nothing, of what an LPN at a dialysis center does. Can you please help me to understand what I would do and what is involved in dialysis nursing so I have some idea when I interview?

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    About midcom

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 435; Likes: 87


  3. by   penem10
    The description of LPN's vary from state to state and unit to unit. But the majority cannulate the fistulas and grafts, initiate dialysis, terminate dialysis. In our state, NY, they cannot access caths unless they have proper competency. They adminster meds and do the nursing care plans.
  4. by   midcom
    Thank you! I found the job posting online & it didn't help much except that it stated the nurse would have to complete the IV certification within 2 years of being hired. Here in Iowa, & possibly elsewhere, LPNs can complete an IV certification but not until they have worked over 2,000 hours.
  5. by   midcom
    I just wanted to update for anyone who might be interested. I had my interview today & was quite impressed & kind of excited to be considered for the position. I am a brand new grad so that will put me at a disadvantage in the hiring process. This is an outpatient dialysis clinic but attached to the local hospital. The LPNs normally work with the chronic patients but are ocassionally rotated to the dialysis unit at the hospital when they need extra help.
    I have very little experience caring for kidney patients, mostly just on skilled after they came back from dialysis. I asked if I could come in & job shadow & watch what goes on so I can decide if it is something I'd like to do. I'd hate to be hired not knowing what I was in store for & then quit because it wasn't what I was expecting. I'm shadowing on Friday so I'll know more then.
    Oh, I also interviewed for a clinic job in gastroenterology. they both sound interesting but for different reasons.
  6. by   DeLana_RN
    Thanks for the update, sounds like it went well. Let us know what you think after your shadowing experience.

    Good luck!

  7. by   midcom
    I spent 5 hours job shadowing on Friday and found it really interesting. I don't think it would be too difficult to learn to do the various procedures and the staff were all very friendly. Unfortunately, I may have to turn the job down if it's offered to me. I don't think I can handle being on my feet for 10 hours and from what I saw, the nurses have very little opportunity to sit at all. They were constantly busy. Thank you for your help.
  8. by   BellaCerraRN
    It is a very busy job. In the unit I worked there were 2 shifts of nurses. One started at 4:15 and the other at 7:00 so at about 7:30 the first shift got a 30 min break, then at 12:00 lunch and again at about 3:00 another 15-20 min break. We were on our feet the entire time we were on the floor but it wasn't that bad. I thought I would die too at first but it got to be bearable.
  9. by   nurseangel47
    I did dialysis nursing for about a year and half and in my younger days as a nurse. It is difficult in that the populace of patients never feel good, ever. They are chronically tired, drained, achy, whiny, noncompliant, etc but to that I will add that if I had to be a dialysis patient, I would be the same. They are mostly diabetic/blood pressures out of control for so many years that they've shut down their kidneys on their own, so to speak. There are some who were victims of other causes of renal failure, though, so bear in mind I'm not slamming dialysis pts. In fact, I myself have those precursing factors not being treated very aggressively at the moment due to no insurance so I may yet end up in renal failure myself some day! I would choose, no. I'd rather not, thank you very much.
    It is very hard on your joints. Especially your back. LOTS of backbreaking bending over the pts. arm or shoulder area, depending on if they have a temporary cath in place while shunt or fistula is maturing. It takes a certain finesse and lots practice but it is doable in so far as the cannulation. Some of the shunts being worn out after every other day usage. They crash on you a lot, too. B/P just plummets and they must be revived/resuscitated. There's a lot of teaching potential, encouragement to improve their diet if they're willing to learn, to be able to better live with renal failure.
    I learned valuable nursing skills, so it is definitely something to consider when weighing the two offers you've had.
    If your back can take the constant bending over and holding that position for 3-5 minutes without pulling you into a constant pretzel, then go for it. Also, if you shadow at the dialysis clinic, ask them to let you observe all or most of the day. There is a thing in dialysis called "switchover" that occurs around 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. in which they take off of machines, switch over to the next group of dialysis pts. The company I worked with wouldn't let me observe this when I shadowed with them. It was too chaotic to the observer, they said, and didn't want it to scare me off!
    Just a thought.
    I've also done gastro in a clinic. Much kinder to your physical body, in my opinion. And just as interesting. IV skills, assessment, intervention, are used constantly. Might be a better option if your body is as aging from overuse in general as mine is.
  10. by   midcom
    Thank you all, especially nurseangel47. Much of what you described, I saw while shadowing. I did get to see the changover but theirs was staggered so it wasn't so chaotic. I, unfortunately, feel that my body wouldn't handle the physical stresses of the job and decided to turn down the job if it was offered to me. However, I didn't have to do that as I suspect that it has been filled &, despite the assurrance that she'd call either way, the nurse who was hiring did not call me. Actually, I felt that it really woud be a mistake to hire a new, inexperienced LPN. In our state, at least, we are not allowed to get IV certified until we have 2080 hours of experience. Since this job is 32 hours a week, it would be well over a year before I could get certified so for that long someone else would have to do that for me. Much smarter to hire an experienced nurse.
    Thanks again,
  11. by   BellaCerraRN
    It's good that you decided it wasn't the job for you before you took it, but don't be so hard or unsure of yourself. You are a trained nurse, just not an experienced one. You probably know a lot more than you think!

    As for not being IV certified, being IV certified and being able to cannulate are two different things I believe. After all, techs can cannulate but couldn't start an IV. I'm not sure, so don't quote me on that, but it makes sense!

    Good luck in finding the job that's right for you!!!