With one Filipino diagnosed with kidney failure per hour and a 10-15% increase every year of Filipinos needing kidney transplants and dialysis, there is a higher demand for dialysis nurses nowadays. Various organizations and institutions are offering training for nurses who are interested in the role.
The kidney is considered as one of the vital organs of our body. Its job is to filter toxins and waste materials from our blood. These wastes and toxins came from the medications we are taking, food, and other vital processes of the body. Basically, when the kidneys are damaged, these waste materials stay inside the body and result in various health diseases and multi-organ failure.
How Dialysis Works
There are two types of dialysis. The first type is hemodialysis, a therapy in which a machine acts as an artificial kidney and cleans the patient’s blood. An access (either fistula or graft) is being inserted by the doctor through surgery which serves as an entrance. Another type is peritoneal dialysis. This type utilizes the patient’s peritoneal membrane. A peritoneal catheter is implanted. Since the membrane is permeable, it will allow waste materials to pass and the large blood cells to stay.
Requirements to be a Dialysis Nurse
In the Philippines, applicants for training should be a registered nurse with 6 months -1 year of experience in bedside care. They are also required to have certificates in Basic Life Support (BLS) and IV Therapy. Training duration varies from institution to institution.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Dialysis Nurse
- Secure blood works. By looking at certain blood values (e.g. creatinine, urea, electrolytes, etc.), the doctor and the nurse will be able to determine if the therapy is effective.
- Provide care before and after therapy to patients both or either (depending on the assignment) at home and the hemodialysis unit. These include addressing the patient’s concerns as well as cleaning and dressing permanent and temporary catheters.
- Checking the patient’s vital signs before, during, and after dialysis.
- Knowing how to operate the dialysis machine, readying dialysis equipment, priming dialyzer and bloodlines, and cannulating accesses.
- Overseeing the entire dialysis therapy and monitoring the patient’s response to it, as well as notifying physicians in case of adverse dialysis reactions.
- Conduct health teaching about managing the disease. These include the type of food the patient eats, the level of activity needed, and medications.
- Collaborate with the transplant center and help patients follow-up their cases.
- In-home dialysis, demonstrate the method to the primary caretaker and let them have a return demonstration after to promote independence.
- Educate family and patients about signs and symptoms to watch out for that may indicate abnormalities such as chilling.
- Communicate with respect. Also, influence the patient’s view through positive leadership. Oftentimes, patients are depressed because of their health status. They can benefit from the nurse’s positive outlook that even if they can’t return to their pre-disease state, there are alternatives to help them increase the quality of their lives.