A dialysis technician works with patients whose kidneys function poorly, if at all, and the machines they use remove salt, extra water, and waste from the patient's blood. They also monitor the treatment to maintain safe levels of specified chemicals for the patient. The technician prepares patients for dialysis, performs certain necessary procedures when the treatment is completed, and submits post-treatment reports. While ensuring that the machine is working properly, they also help to make the patient feel comfortable during dialysis.
Dialysis technicians are also involved in the protocols for evaluating medical equipment and preparing educational material for patients and staff. They are usually supervised by a physician or nurse in a clinic, hospital, or home-dialysis setting.
- A dialysis technician's working conditions - Every state has credentialing requirements for this position, and salary levels vary by training, geographic location, experience, and work setting. Technicians generally works 40 hours a week and they must be prepared to stay calm during an emergency while offering their patients encouragement and understanding.
- Educational requirements for a dialysis technician - A high school diploma is required to begin training, mechanical ability is considered to be essential. Many vocational schools, community colleges, and technical institutions throughout the United States offer a state-approved program that leads to certification as a dialysis technician. Previous courses in health and science are helpful, along with work experience in a hospital as a volunteer or part-time employee. Combined with supervised clinical training, areas of study include anatomy, aseptic techniques, phlebotomy, physiology, and equipment operation.
It is also helpful to take some courses that will help you to handle the social and psychological issues you will encounter because every patient's case is serious, and every patient's medical history is different. Dialysis patients are generally treated three times weekly with each treatment lasting approximately four hours, and you should also be able to explain the procedure in a way that makes sense to them so that they will know what to do between treatments.
- Career path for a dialysis technician - Experience and further education can lead to career advancement, and a technician who works in a large dialysis unit may become chief technician or train to become a biomedical equipment technician. Today, the employment outlook for diagnostic technicians is quite good because the field is growing at a steady pace and qualified workers are in demand.
For more information, visit the National Association of Nephrology Technicians/Technologists at dialysistech.org or the National Kidney Foundation at kidney.org.