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In order to be tested for certification, you typically must possess a valid high school diploma or its equivalent, and have one year of current, full-time experience in dialysis patient care or successfully complete an accredited dialysis course. If you do not have a high school diploma, some employers may allow you to substitute at least four years of dialysis patient care experience in place of this requirement. Once obtained, certification must be renewed every four years in most places.
In order to ensure all dialysis technicians abide by the same standards of patient care and safety, a dialysis technician certification is now required in some places, including many states in the U.S. In the U.S., three organizations, the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT), the National Nephrology Certification Organization, and Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offer certification. Similar board-certification organizations exist in other countries.
Dialysis technicians operate machines called dialyzers that remove excess fluids and wastes from the blood of people whose kidneys are no longer able to perform those functions. A dialysis technician is responsible for monitoring and recording the temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and weight of the patient before, during, and after the dialysis procedure. Patients who receive dialysis treatment usually require three, four-hour sessions at a treatment facility each week. Technicians must be able to respond to both the physical and emotional needs of patients undergoing these treatments.
Dialysis technicians are not only employed in hospital and outpatient facilities; they are also needed in home dialysis programs as well. The duties of a technician are very important, because he or she is principally responsible for carrying out the actual dialysis treatment. The technician must have an understanding of the process and scientific principles of the dialysis treatment. He or she must also maintain and monitor the machinery used in these treatments and keep accurate records of each session. A technician works under the direct supervision of a registered nurse, who is responsible for the overall condition of the patient during the treatment. Patients who receive dialysis treatment usually require three four-hour sessions at a treatment facility each week.
Earning your dialysis technician certification can help demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in this profession; it may also help to improve your employment prospects in the years to come. More and more people are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease each year. The demand for certified professionals is expected to increase steadily. This growing demand is mainly due to an increase in kidney disease caused by an aging population.