Hemodialysis nurses handle the dialysis equipment that cleans the blood of patients whose kidneys are working improperly, according to DegreeDirectory.org. Nurses with hemodialysis training take care of patients before, during and after dialysis. Training programs for registered nurses teach them the medical background and technical skills they need to work with these individuals.
Several schools offer hemodialysis training certification programs for registered nurses who have a current license. Training can include classroom instruction as well as observation, laboratory practice and supervised clinical externships with patients who have end-stage renal failure. Some schools, such as Dialysis4Career in New York, also offer online training programs for nurses. Courses typically last several weeks. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses--the largest specialty nursing organization in the world--approves hemodialysis continuing education programs.
Training programs prepare nurses to additionally pursue the title of certified hemodialysis nurse. The BONENT (Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology) Certified Hemodialysis Nurse examination measures nursing proficiency in four areas: dialysis and related issues, supervision/administration, environmental control and professional development. Registered nurses with a valid license and one year of experience in an end-stage renal disease facility are eligible to take the 150-question exam. Applicants must submit two letters of reference in the field.
Students at the nephrology nurse-owned Dialysis Training Institute in California take classes on topics such as hemodialysis clinical skills, regulatory compliance, renal replacement therapy essentials, medical management of dialysis patients and professional development. Other classes in hemodialysis training programs teach illness and injury prevention, renal anatomy and physiology, and manifestation of renal failure. Students also might study phlebotomy, obtaining vital signs, emergency situations, infection control, treatment options for kidney patients and the basic chemistry of body fluids and electrolytes.
Registered nurses who have been trained in hemodialysis can choose to work in hospitals, outpatient facilities and clinics. They also can work in the private residences of patients who perform dialysis at home.
The demand for hemodialysis nurses is strong because of the growing population of diabetes and hypertension patients, according to the Hemodialysis Training School in California. Renal dialysis nurses earned a median salary of $65,538 in late 2009, according to Salary.com.