Physical Requirements Working in Dialysis

  1. Hi,
    I would appreciate any information on what the physical requirements are working in dialysis. Do you do a lot of heavy lifting? bending? turning, twisting? (I had a back injury and am no longer able to work on the surgical unit, I was on.) I would still like to be involved in direct patient care and I have been seriously considering retraining in dialysis but wanted to see if it would be some I could physically do.
    Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it! :spin:
  2. Visit CanadianNurse97 profile page

    About CanadianNurse97

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 2


  3. by   Lacie
    I have really bad knees (3 surgerys) and a lousy back. I work chronic dialysis and if you cant stand on your feet for hours on end then it may not be a good match. You really dont get to sit very often, if ever to be honest. I work at least 8 hours before getting my first break. We stand for bedside charting, meds, etc. I do alot of bending as I cant rely on my knees to squat such as changing out bi-cart. Fortunately I havent had to lift anything much larger than the dialysate containers about the weight of a gallon of milk. Lifting is what tears me up as I have also had a bad break of my arm years ago and still suffer even rolling up a car window. The physical aspects work for me as I can tolerate being on my feet. It's bending, standing in one place, kneeling, and lifting activities that get me. As long as I'm moving I'm fine it's when I stop that it hits me.
  4. by   CanadianNurse97
    Thank you so much for your reply, I truly appreciate your help!!!
  5. by   DeLana_RN
    I worked in chronic dialysis for 5 1/2 years and have to agree with pp regarding the physical requirements there. In addition, however, you may well be required to also transfer pts from w/c to dialysis chair, as many patients come from NH and have various disabilities. Our unit had a Hoyer lift for those pts who could not help at all with their transfer. I have to add that in my clinic RNs had to take their own patients (usually 2 per shift) in addition to supervising PCTs; of course, you would get help if needed, but also help your coworkers with difficult transfers. Miraculously, I avoided getting a chronic back injury, but came close (pulled muscles that healed) several times.

    I currently work in a hospital inpatient/acute unit. We dialyze our pts in beds or occasionally on stretchers, but often have to transfer them from w/c or stretcher to bed. Our physical requirements are similar to those of med/surg or ICU nurses, although our ratio is 1:1 or 1:2. I currently have a foot injury which would make it very difficult to work in a chronic unit because of the walking and standing requirements; fortunately, in my hospital unit I can sit down much of the time (when monitoring pts) and don't have to walk nearly as much.

    HTH. Good luck to you,

  6. by   nursedandy
    In our dialysis unit, inspite of the body mechanics 5 of us have back problem already including one who underwent back surgery. 4 had steroid shoots on their wrist to relieve pain(carpal tunnel?). Dialysis is really physical
  7. by   NeosynephRN
    It may also differ slightly depending on the unit that you work in. In my unit we did not have to change bicarts, or haul around jugs of dialysate, as we had a central delivery system. We did move patients to and from the chairs, but we had two different kinds of lifts and the majority of our patients (outpatient) could transefer independently. I am not saying that it is not a physically demanding job, but I think in a unit like I was in, the physical labor was minimal, compared to some of the others.
  8. by   mama smurf
    Hi, im over in England so dont really know if dialysis is operated in the same way over there but over here we have what we call satellite units (where i work) these are small units away from the main hospital in the community setting. there are usually 10 dialysis positions and 2 shifts per day. as it is on an out patient basis-a nurse led unit, patients have to be independent apart from needing dialysis. so it is not physically demanding at all-this type of unit would be perfect for you if you have them over there