Certified dialysis technicians handle duties relating to kidney dialysis, a process that eliminates waste and excess liquid from a person's blood when their kidneys are unable to perform that function. Certified dialysis technicians work in close contact with people who are experiencing various stages of kidney failure or disease, and they typically work in a hospital or kidney dialysis clinic. During dialysis treatments, a certified dialysis technician operates dialysis equipment by following proper dialysis procedures while being observed by a registered nurse. Additionally, certified dialysis technicians report and make suggestions to doctors regarding patient treatment.
In most cases, dialysis is a routine care procedure that is preformed at a non-emergency level; however, emergencies do happen, so it is important that a certified dialysis technician be calm, quick, efficient, and organized. Medical terminology and techniques are required, as a certified dialysis technician uses both frequently throughout the work day. They are expected to observe and report any abnormalities or issues to the patient's doctor. Aside from overseeing dialysis treatments, a certified dialysis technician is responsible for drawing blood and other lab samples if needed, keeping records of treatments and medications, assisting registered nurses with dialysis treatment procedures, patient care, stocking the dialysis station, complying with national and state cleanliness and safety regulations, and upkeep of dialysis treatment equipment.
To become a certified dialysis technician, a high school diploma or equivalent is generally required, although higher education is preferred. Additionally, dialysis certification is required - in most cases within 18 to 24 months before job application; this requires the successful completion of a certified dialysis technician program, such as the National Dialysis Technician Certification Exam. The majority of employers also require other certifications, including CPR certification, certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification, emergency medical technician (EMT) certification, and basic life support (BLS) certification. Because of the evolving nature of medical treatments, attendance at courses and workshops relating to the field is often required for current certified dialysis technicians to learn about new skills and technology, as well as brush up on standard procedures.
Certified Dialysis Technician Tasks
- Start equipment and observe gauges and equipment operation to detect malfunctions and to ensure equipment is operating to prescribed standards.
- Disinfect and sterilize equipment using sterilizers, aerators, and washers.
- Interview patients to measure their vital signs and weight before and after dialysis.
- Maintain records of inventory and equipment usage.
- Explain treatment procedures, in-home treatments and physicians' instructions to patients.