National Nephrology Nurses Week 2017

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    Its National Nephrology Nurses Week. Do you know what nephrology nurses do? Have you ever considered joining their ranks?

    National Nephrology Nurses Week 2017

    What do nephrology nurses do? Well, like all nurses, the jobs are varied. Here are some of the more usual ones:

    Office nurse in a nephrology practice. From Renal and Urology News: "Today, of more than 400 fellowship positions across the nation, some 40% remain unfilled when match results are announced in December of each year. More than half of training programs have had at least one unfilled position." These nephrology offices are very busy and its the nephrology nurses that keep the offices running smoothly. There continues to be a need for nephrologists and nephrology nurses as our population ages and we overcome some of the formerly deadly renal diseases.

    Dialysis nurses. They can work in an outpatient dialysis unit, home dialysis office, peritoneal dialysis unit or in the hospital with the acute population. Everyone knows our patients are getting sicker. Now, since Medicare reimburses for outpatient dialysis for the acute kidney injury patient, patients that formerly dialyzed in the inpatient setting are out in the community. Dialysis nurses now care for patients with left ventricular assist devices, central lines for inotropes and trachs. These patient can be quite unstable while on dialysis. Most dialysis nurses have a critical care background and top notch assessment skills. A recent article describes the day to day duties of a dialysis nurse.

    Pediatric nephrology nurses are a mainstay for peds nephrologists. Several disease processes can cause an infant or child to develop life-threatening renal disease. Some are reversible while sadly others are not. These children's care is entrusted in the hands of the pediatric nephrology nurse. Here is an article about how they spend their days. This author states that peds nephrology nursing can even be fun.

    Transplant coordinators work either in an office, or in the hospital making rounds on transplant patients who might be hospitalized for a different reason. They do a lot of teaching for new transplant recipients about their meds, what to call the doctor for and generally how to take care of their brand new organ. They also are responsible for some case management duties.

    There are jobs for advanced practice nurses too in nephrology. Again, the job varies. Some APRNs do dialysis rounding. Medicare which covers most US dialysis patients has a bundled payment system where nephrology practices get paid a set amount for seeing the patients while they are on dialysis. The highest value is set on 4 visits per month. One of these visits is usually the physician but the other 3 are most often done by an APRN or PA. Other duties include chronic kidney disease education. It is always better to forestall end stage renal disease if possible and one of the proven ways is to educate patients. APRNs also round in the hospital on already-established patients, new consults, and emergency department patients.

    What are some of the reasons more patients are seeing nephrologists? The big reasons in the US are hypertension and diabetes. All nurses should be teaching their patients to care for themselves, be proactive and keep their high blood pressure and diabetes in check.

    I've been a nephrology APRN for 11 years now. I have been so very fortunate to work with some of the finest nurses in the US. The nurses are our first line of care for our patients. Their assessment skills are what we base our treatment options on when they call us. Its important that a two way street of trust exists between the nurse and APRN. Our patient's lives depend on it.

    Happy Nephrology Nurses Week! You are the best....
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 15, '18
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  3. by   renaltech2bsn
    Dialysis tech here working towards my BSN! Love my nurses and love my job! Happy Nephrology Nurses Week! ❤️
  4. by   Bumex
    Solid article TraumaRUs. As you know, I too am a Nephro APRN. We all need to do our parts with managing a patients' BP and blood sugar as so many of our CKD patients and ESRD patients start as having one or both disease processes that are in an uncontrolled state. Happy Nephrology Nurses week!