What is the dialysis technician job description? There are six important responsibilities for a dialysis technicians on the clinical floor. Let’s discuss more about it below.
Dialysis Current Statistics
One in 10 adults age 20 or older in the U.S. have Kidney Disease, and many others are at risk and don’t even know it. This number increases at an alarming rate every single day. Eventually, people that have kidney disease progresses to End Stage Renal Disease or as most people call it, kidney failure. When this happens, there are only two treatments available: Transplant or Dialysis.
Getting a transplant takes 7-10 years all over the country with the time range increasing over time. While waiting for the transplant, people with renal failure has to start dialysis. Dialysis takes the place of the failed kidneys by replicating the various functions of the organ.
The most common form of dialysis is called Hemodialysis. Hemodialysis usually takes place in outpatient dialysis centers wherein there are several hemodialysis machines, several chairs for patients, and a staff of Dialysis Technicians and Dialysis Nurses. The staff work as a team in providing dialysis services for patients and ensuring that the patients are monitored for their whole dialysis treatment.
So what exactly is the dialysis technician job description?
A dialysis technician is responsible for:
1. The setting up of dialysis machines before treatment.
2. Cannulating the vascular access of patients.
3. Connecting patients to the dialysis machines and adhering to the dialysis prescription.
4. Monitoring of vital signs.
5. Attending to the patients needs.
6. Reporting to the dialysis nurses for medical interventions during complications.
A treatment day is very hectic as several patients come and go in shifts per their schedule. A dialysis technician will be assigned to a “pod” of 4-5 machines. They will be responsible for all patients that are assigned to those machines. As the first shift of 4-5 patients come on, the dialysis technician will be putting them on one by one (usually with 15 minute intervals), patient will run for their prescribed treatment time (2-6 hours), then the dialysis technician will be taking them off, prepare the machine for the next patient, then so on and so forth. This will go on depending on how many shifts of patients the clinic has assigned them to.
Depending on the size of the clinic, there may be several dialysis technicians working at the same time. This is where the magic happens. A good team working together will be able to make the “change-over” of patients from shift to shift very fluid and smooth. This makes the usual rampant and hectic pace of change-overs be calm and collected. That is why teamwork is encouraged as this makes the job a lot easier. After all it is part of their job description. As with any job, a stressed dialysis technician will tend to make mistakes which no one wants to happen. This is where the dialysis nurse steps in. The dialysis nurse acts as the floor manager. They are responsible with coordinating with the dialysis technicians in giving the best quality of care and service possible for the patients. When the dialysis technicians work hand in hand with the dialysis nurse, great teamwork happens and patients are kept safe.
A day of a dialysis technician can be very fulfilling and rewarding. The job gives you the chance to form bonds with patients as they see and be with them very often (3-4x/week). When this happens, the job stops being a job and starts to become something that we’ve always wanted: the ability to help people and be a part of their lives.