When most of us think of dialysis treatments, we conjure up images of a bleak and depressing environment where legions of incredibly sick patients are just biding their time while their blood is being filtered through machines. While some of that may have been true in days past, dialysis treatment is not normally as terrible as most of us make it out to be. Thanks to dedicated dialysis nurses, technicians and modern facilities, today's dialysis is at least palatable for patients.
A recent editorial in a Kenosha, Wisconsin newspaper summed up modern dialysis nicely by noting that patients sometimes choose the treatments despite being given other options. The nurse who wrote the editorial has been in dialysis for nearly 40 years, so she's seen everything during her career. She's quick to point out that many of her patients actually look forward to their treatments because it is the only time they get out of the house. For them, it is as much a social event as it is a therapeutic one.
Great Nurses Make the Difference
One of the things the Wisconsin nurse made very evident is that great dialysis nurses are one of the factors that make a big difference. It's one thing to go in for a regular treatment only to work with nurses and technicians who act as though patients are just numbers on a chart. It's another thing to work with nurses who treat patients as though they really care and are really interested in their lives. Like any nursing specialty, dialysis nurses who take a genuine interest in their patients make a big difference in their lives.
The typical dialysis procedure takes between three and four hours, time that is passed by the patient in a number of ways. It is these long periods of time where dialysis nurses are able to build relationships with patients through great conversation, a few jokes and laughs and even a listening ear when a patient is having a bad day. Yet for the patient working with nurses who are distant, regular treatments can be excruciating both mentally and emotionally. That's why it's so important to have caring and dedicated dialysis nurses.
An Ongoing Shortage
As the number of dialysis patients in the United States continues to increase, the shortage of qualified dialysis nurses becomes more pronounced. In every field of the medical industry there are shortages of qualified workers, but dialysis is suffering disproportionately because of its perceived negative reputation. Currently there are dialysis positions available in large metropolitan areas and small rural areas alike. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for dialysis nurses looks very bright heading into the next decade.
Those considering a dialysis career would do well to be certified as a technician and begin working right away. If you're interested, you can then continue your education and earn your nursing degree to become a dialysis nurse.
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