A dialysis technician can have multiple roles. Each of which requires a lot of skill. Technicians can reprocess dialyzers, maintain and repair equipment, monitor water treatment, participate in quality improvement, and monitor the patients’ vascular accesses. However, one aspect of this occupation that needs to be prioritized is direct patient care. Dialysis facilities located in hospitals and out-patient centers usually employ skilled technicians. In any given setting, the certified dialysis technician is mainly responsible for performing and monitoring the actual dialysis treatment. The nurse, meanwhile, takes care of the overall care of the patient, administering the necessary medications in the process. The dialysis technician works under the direct supervision of the nurse, who makes the final decisions and provides guidance whenever necessary. The dialysis technician makes sure that the normal parameters are maintained, and should ask for assistance from the nurse when the patient’s condition becomes unstable. Registered nurses and dialysis technicians work hand in hand to achieve common goals. They are both important members of the patient care team and would have a difficult time functioning independently. The skills looked for employers are primarily learned by aspiring dialysis technicians through on the job training. The scientific principles of dialysis, the process of the dialysis treatment, and how to respond to the physical and emotional needs of people undergoing dialysis treatments are vital theories and skills that need to be learned in a short span of time. Since more and more people are seeking a career in the health field, getting hired as a dialysis technician has become more difficult. That’s unless you have the skills employers are looking for.
The Top 8 Skills Every Dialysis Technician Should Have
- Multi-Tasking – Even though technicians work under the supervision of registered nurses, they should still be able to adhere to high standards of patient care. But in order for that to happen, they should be able to multi-task. From administering local anesthesia, to inserting needles, to responding to alarms, to preparing machines, to readjusting treatment parameters, to responding to complications etc, a good dialysis technician multi-tasks with a smile on his face. Just think that the patients deserve quality of care, and make it look effortless.
- Critical Thinking – Making good decisions is a key requirement for the job. Patients depend on hemodialysis to live. Make that count. Every decision you make can mean the difference between life and death. Being a dialysis technician isn’t just like working at a corporate office, where if you mess up, the worst thing that could happen is just lose your job. In this profession, mistakes don’t just draw lawsuits, they can have far graver consequences such as the death of a patient. Like nurses, dialysis technicians eat swift decisions for breakfast every day. From responding appropriately to dialysis-related emergencies such as hypotensive episodes to initiating cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a cardiac arrest, critical thinking is a pillar of good dialysis technicians everywhere.
- Customer Service – Technicians have to deal with patients from all walks of life. While this occupation is very different from retail, they still share some of the same challenges. No, technicians don’t have to calm irritated shoppers or angry clients down. However, they need to put huge focus on satisfying customer service. At any given day, a dialysis technician can handle irritated patients, sleepless parents, uneasy relatives, busy doctors, and other members of the healthcare staff. Unlike doctors, or even nurses, dialysis technicians are always on the ground, providing direct patient care. They know how the facility is run. Since technicians spend most of their time dealing with patients on a more personal level, they are ideal for fielding questions, soothing tempers, and calming anxieties.
- Good Technical Skills – Dialysis technicians are required to work with sophisticated dialysis machines on a day-to-day basis. They should be mechanically inclined or work on their mechanical skills for them to succeed. A dialysis technician is mainly responsible when a machine malfunctions while filtering a patient’s blood. He should know what to do to fix the problem before it does any negative effect on the patient. Learning and mastering the dialysis machine is probably one of the most significant role that a dialysis technician can do.
- Have a Keen Eye for Detail – In order for dialysis machines to function properly, a dialysis technician should pay close attention to detail. It’s impossible to provide the best possible care to your patient if you have a poorly-functioning machine. Ignoring minor technical details could cause serious drawbacks for the patient’s health in the long run. Every detail matters. Be attentive. Complications can arise anytime. The complications brought about by dialysis can be mild or severe. Even the minutest change beyond the patient’s normal demeanor can possibly signify a very serious complication. Due to the dizzying effect of drawing blood from the patient’s body, hemodialysis can increase the risk of falls. At all times, when the patient attempts to ambulate, the dialysis technician should conduct a thorough physical examination, and measure and document vital signs. Any abnormalities should be reported immediately. When the patient looks “off” in any way, let the patient relax and assist him back to his chair or bed. Complications and injuries can be prevented as long as the dialysis technician is vigilant.
- Interpersonal Skills – It’s true that dialysis technicians work on a one-on-one level. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to work on their communication skills. They should feel comfortable talking to people of all backgrounds, ages and genders. Dialysis is a life-sustaining measure. Some patients may feel better than others. For this reason, a skilled dialysis technician should be able to communicate effectively with patients of all health contrasts, from the fairly healthy to the very sick. Providing non-judgmental comfort and long-term patient care is key. It is very important for a dialysis technician to know how to make the patient feel comfortable. Though you can’t expect patients to open up entirely to you, making them feel safe and secure will give you a better chance of offering sound medical advice. However, never give advice in the form of reprimand. There’s a big difference between offering advice and insisting. Just offer your insights, and ideas as if they were another point of view. By doing so, you’ll make the patient feel more comfortable, increasing the chances for your words to be considered. Patients experience different emotions. Be sensitive.
- Teamwork – A dialysis technician is only as effective as the team that guides him. Technicians are part of a team of health care professionals. Providing care, as cliché as it may sound, is a team sport, and great dialysis technicians work well together. They support each other, and help every member of the team whenever they can. One technician’s dilemma is another technician’s opportunity to pick up his game and help out. Like any good team, success is based on open communication, trust, and mutual respect. Besides, you all have one common goal: the patient’s condition.
- Commitment and Dedication – Never discriminate against any patient on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or age in treatment. You will not last long in this profession if you don’t have the dedication to care for others. It takes a lot to become a good dialysis technician. There’s really no other field more hands-on than healthcare. Be extremely grateful for the opportunity that you were given to improve the human condition, and to work alongside colleagues with a similar commitment and passion. Only a truly dedicated individual will succeed in a profession that is founded upon caring for people. The patients’ well-being is your highest priority, and everyone involved in their care should make sure that they receive the attention, support and compassion that they deserve. Fulfill the necessary task of delivering on your promise and providing the patient with the most compassionate care possible. Your dedication of becoming a dialysis technician alone will already have a great impact on patient care.