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Dialysis Technician

Dialysis Technician

Dialysis Technician

The kidneys are some of the most underrated organs in the body. They keep us hydrated and safe from many toxins by regularly filtering our blood. Yet many Americans no longer have functioning kidneys, and in the absence of a transplant, they require dialysis (artificial blood filtering) to live and function properly and healthily. A dialysis technician is responsible for operating a dialysis machine, which acts as an artificial kidney for these patients.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree/Certification Requirement: Approved training program

Vital Skills/Knowledge: Sanitization/hygiene, patient interaction, equipment operation

Average Starting Salary: around $20,000 a year

Job Description

Dialysis technicians are responsible for monitoring and assisting patients before, during, and after dialysis. The typical dialysis patient comes in three or more times a week, so it is important for their technicians to help make the experience as comfortable as possible. Having one’s blood filtered by a machine is not particularly fun, so the best technicians are willing to talk to and joke with their patients during the process.  During a patient visit, the dialysis technician might be responsible for:

  • Taking patient height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Sanitizing the dialysis machine
  • Monitoring patient vital signs during dialysis
  • Instructing patient in home care procedures

Most dialysis takes place in hospitals or clinics. However, it is typically not scheduled during the nightshift. Being squeamish around blood/needles would make things difficult, so keep this in mind when considering a career as a kidney dialysis technician.

Education

An accredited program will teach students all the necessary skills to become a successful, safe dialysis technician. Some states require licensing — check with your local board or hospital to be sure.

During high school, any courses you can take in biology, anatomy, chemistry, or human health will increase your understanding of kidney failure and the artificial dialysis. Communications classes, from English to Theatre, will make communicating with patients and doctors easier, especially for the naturally shy.

Certification/ Licensing

While not all states require certification to be hired, the CMS (Centers of Medicare and Medicade) require staff working in dialysis units to obtain certification from their state board within 18 months of hire.

Job Outlook: Good

Medical technician jobs on the whole are on the rise. The number of persons requiring dialysis if the US is rising by 3% every year, so capable staff are often in demand. The median salary for a dialysis technician is around $35,000 a year, with more experienced and/or overtime workers earning upwards of $50,000.

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