Question pertaining to dialysis nursing . . .

  1. I posted this on the dialysis nursing board, but there doesn't seem to be much activity there, and I really would like some opinions regarding this . . .

    First of all, is outpatient/chronic dialysis nursing considered a critical care specialty? If so, is there any nurse out there who finds this news to them? (as I did). Has anyone heard of critical care nurses not being able to "hack it" in dialysis? And, would anyone not recommend this type of nursing to someone without a critical care background?

    I am speaking strictly of outpatient/chronic dialysis.

    Thanks for your input!

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    About Jolly

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 24; Likes: 1


  3. by   mintyRN
    Hi Jolly,
    I was in dailysis for 7 yrs in both acute and chronic settings. I also was told it was a critical care specialty. Critical care experience is very desirable in the acute setting, as the majority of patients are unstable or in ICU. As far as chronic, a strong background in med/surg is very helpful. I started out in chronic as a new grad, and I made it through, only because of experienced helpful nurses by my side. I enjoyed chronic, you get to know the patients well, you spend a lot of time teaching and interacting with patients which I loved. The patients can be very complicated and demanding though. I grew bored of the routine after 3 yrs put on, take off (kind of like an assembly line) and went to acutes. I got burned out for good working in the inpatient setting. Too much stress and long, long hrs due to taking call for emergency cases. As far as critical care nurses not cutting it, that's simply not true. It just depends on the individual. You either love or hate dialysis. I look back on my dialysis yrs with fondness, but I doubt I'll ever go back. Good luck.
  4. by   Jolly
    Thanks Minty! That was very helpful.

  5. by   RNinICU
    Dialysis is considered a critical care specialty in my area too. Many of our ICU nurses have cross-trained for dialysis, and we do our own inpatient treatment on patients in ICU. The dialysis team handles all other inpatient treatments throughout the hospital. As far as ICU nurses not being able to hack dialysis, that is simply not true. I find doing the same thing every day boring, and would not want to do it every day. After the intensity of critical care, dialysis is just too tame.
  6. by   yvonne b
    i am a dialysis nurse, and also with 30 years icu experiance. i have worked around the dialysis machine and never with it. iwanted that experiance before i retired. i love every minute of it. i work acute in the hospital, and i do icu patients so i bring my icu knowledge with me. i train new dialysis nurses, who are terrified of the different tech machines in icu. so while i'm traning i also teach them about the different machines, meds and vasopressors being used. i'm still close to retirement but i found i love dialysis nursing, so i'll be here awhile.
  7. by   AmyLiz
    I've never thought (or heard) of dialysis nursing being considered critical care, but I guess I can see how they can say that. I'm a nursing student, but have been working as a dialysis technician for 2 years in a chronic setting. It's a great job and I have gained so much knowledge/experience from's really helped me while I've been in nursing school. I have been hoping to go into critical care after I graduate & with the experience I've gained through initiating & dc'ing tx, monitoring pts & constantly looking for possible complications, I think working in dialysis will really help me in the long run.
  8. by   jnette
    Hi Jolly... in the sense that dialysis is LIFESUPPORT for these patients, whether outpt./chronic or in the acute setting, then yes, it could well be seen as critical care.

    However, critical care background is by no means essential in an outpatient/chronic setting.

    I started in dialysis as a tech, and while working there, persued my RN, much as AmyLiz is doing above.
    Have been in dialysis going on ten years now, and have loved every minute of it. Just when you think things are getting "routine", something changes with another new challenge.