What makes a good dialysis nurse?

  1. I am lookng for a new job and am considering applying for a position as a dialysis nurse. I am wondering, what qualities make a good dialysis nurse? A little bit about me. I graduated in Dec 05 and have been working in acute care at a pediatric hospital. My strengths are patient and family relationships, maturity (I am an older, new nurse),and attention to detail. Things I dislike: running around all night without a bathroom break, illegible handwriting by MD's, and management that is out of touch with what really happens on the floor. I'm joking a little about the first two. It is really the management that is driving me out of here for reasons I don't care to go into -- that would be a whole other thread. What I want to know is what qualities make a good dialysis nurse? I don't want to waste my time or the resources of a dialysis clinic by going through orientation and then not having a good fit.
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    About Room2Move

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 19


  3. by   DeLana_RN

    it's difficult to say whether or not you would like dialysis; people seem to either love it or hate it with little in between. Could you arrange to shadow a nurse in a clinic after applying for a job? Or, better yet, a nurse in a hospital inpatient/acute dialysis unit? Since you're currently in a hospital, this might be the best place for you to look.

    I'll be honest with you, the pace in an outpatient clinic is very fast, especially at "turnover" (when the first shift of patients needs to be taken off the machine, the machines set up again, and the next shift of patients put on); this can last 2 hours or so, and you would usually have one turnover during your work shift. That's why I would recommend spending a day with a nurse there, just to get a feel for it.

    It's good that you're not a new grad (I wouldn't recommend dialysis for new grads, although some companies do hire them; you really need some nursing experience to feel comfortable). Also, attention to detail is important, and patient/family relationships are crucial; you will become very close to your patients as you will see them up to 3 times a week! This can be good or not so good with some of them

    As for management - yes, this is probably the most important aspect, but no more so than in any other nursing setting. Good leadership makes all the difference. Try to get a feel for this in your interview; but most likely, you may just have to take the chance (we'll never now until we've been on the job for a while).

    I would encourage you to look into dialysis, it can be a very rewarding specialty. But do ask lots of questions during your interview (In a clinic: What kind of training will I get? Will I be expected to take call for acutes?).

    Good luck!

  4. by   Room2Move

    Thanks for taking time to write a thoughtful reply. This is great information for anyone considering becoming a dialysis nurse. Should I decide to go forward with this, I will definitely ask to shadow a dialysis nurse at the clinic.
  5. by   Farkinott
    I agree with DeLana. It's hard to tell if anyone will like renal work. Two qualities/skills are a must though. You need good assessment skills and need to be a skilled observer.