Hemodialysis nurses care for patients with kidney failure. Their work involves managing the three-time-a-week dialysis procedure needed by patients with renal problems, according to DaVita, a provider of dialysis services for patients with chronic kidney diseases. A registered hemodialysis nurse typically earns $88,000 annually on average in the United States, based on 2010 compensation estimates from Indeed.com. This specialization in nursing pays well, about $18,000 more each year than a general nurse may garner annually. The average income also varies with the nurse’s education, workplace, geography and level of responsibilities.
Dialysis medical centers hire nurses who graduated either with a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) or with a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Although these two approaches lead to the profession of nursing, the choice impacts how much a hemodialysis nurse will earn in mid-career. The BSN boosts the average annual income of a BSN hemodialysis nurse $6,000 above that of an ADN hemodialysis nurse, according to information from Indeed.com. This is why the American Nursing Association strongly encourages nursing students to choose a BSN program.
Fresenius and DaVita represent the two largest employers of hemodialysis registered nurses (RNs) in the United States. Together, these two companies care for 63 percent of the 370,000 patients who must receive hemodialysis treatment, according to Fresenius 2008 Corporate report. A staff RN working at Fresenius earns $89,000 annually on average, based on Indeed’s estimates. Dialysis nurses working in the hospital acute setting of the nephrology intensive care centers earn $87,000 on average. In contrast, employers who provide hemodialysis services in the home setting pay their hemodialysis nurses about $82,000 per year on average.
States on the East and West Coasts pay the highest compensations, according to Indeed.com. Hemodialysis nurses working in New York state enjoy an annual income of $104,000 on average. In New York City, annual compensations rise to $110,000 on average. Their Californian colleagues garner annual incomes of $90,000. In San Francisco, a hemodialysis nurse averages $105,000 annually. In contrast, her counterpart in Louisiana earns $69,000 per year.
Dialysis centers assign different levels of responsibilities to their registered nurses. Entry-level RNs, who shadow experienced nurses, typically receive first-year salaries in the low $60,000s, according to Indeed.com. Nurses in mid-career garner incomes around $88,000. Charge nurses, in leadership roles, earn about $92,000 in annual income. They assess patients' conditions, develop the dialysis treatment with required medication and supervise nurses who provide direct care to the patients. Dialysis clinical educators--who are registered nurses responsible for training other nurses about equipment, protocol and patient care--receive incomes averaging $81,000 per year.
Employers add perks to the standard compensations to attract nurse applicants and to encourage retention. For instance, in addition to medical coverage, Fresenius pays matching funds for nurses who place money in 401K retirement plans, reimburses for tuitions and pays short and long-term disability insurance. DaVita offers competitive benefits in addition to promoting jobs with flexible work hours. DaVita may also offer sign-on bonuses in geographical locations with a shortage of hemodialysis nurses.