How to Become a Dialysis Nurse

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How to Become a Dialysis Nurse. A dialysis nurse is sometimes referred to as a nephrology nurse, a urology nurse or a renal nurse. Dialysis nurses learn to operate dialysis equipment that filters waste products from a patient's body when the kidneys can no longer perform this necessary function themselves.

Graduate from an accredited nursing school. Nursing schools have various degree programs. An Associate degree in nursing takes about 2 years to complete, some hospitals provide a 3-year nursing diploma program, and 4-year nursing programs at a university will earn you a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or a BSN.

Consider an online degree or another distance-learning alternative. If you do choose this route, though, it is important to verify accreditation before beginning the program.

Pass your state's nurse certification exam. To become a dialysis nurse, you may also be required to pass a Certified Dialysis Nurse Examination, or CDN exam. Contact the state board of nursing where you live to learn your state's requirements.

Study diseases of the kidneys and other related conditions like diabetes that you will encounter everyday once you become a dialysis nurse.

Utilize all available resources to find an excellent job as a dialysis nurse once you've graduated nursing school. Nurseoptions.com is a good resource to help you find dialysis nursing jobs and can answer some common questions about the field, including salary requirements (see Resources below).

Prepare yourself for a hectic work environment. Modern medical practices have led to an extremely high demand for dialysis procedures and technology with a shortage of nurses available to provide care. Both in-patient and outpatient dialysis nurses can expect to deal with many patients everyday.

Become familiar with maintenance of dialysis machinery. The dialysis nurse or technician is often required to perform general maintenance and repair of the dialysis equipment.


Consider becoming a dialysis nursing technician as an alternative. A dialysis technician is not a registered nurse, therefore there is less school involved and less cost. The dialysis technician provides basic patient care and operates the dialysis equipment.


There is high demand and low supply of dialysis nurses. This is one of the busiest areas in nursing. While this is a good sign for a job seeker, know that you can expect long hours with often difficult patients.

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