Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure. Dialysis machines perform the work of the kidneys, removing waste, fluids and salt from the blood. Patients undergoing hemodialysis can expect to receive treatment three times each week, and each treatment can take between three and five hours to complete. Hemodialysis technicians provide direct care to patients undergoing this lifesaving procedure.
Patient and Equipment Preparation
Hemodialysis technicians prepare patients for the dialysis procedure. Preparation includes positioning the patient and taking his vital signs and blood samples to determine his physical condition and the level of waste in his blood. The technician explains the procedure and answers any questions the patient may have about the procedure or the equipment. To prepare the patient for the dialysis needle, technicians clean the area with antiseptic. The technician is responsible for the hemodialysis equipment and must ensure it conforms to safety standards before beginning the procedure. Some positions require the technician to test the facility's water treatment systems. Once the preparation work is completed, the hemodialysis technician inserts the needle and then connects and starts the dialysis equipment at the appropriate rate and settings.
During the Procedure
During the hemodialysis procedure, technicians monitor the patient and the equipment for adverse reactions. Dialysis technicians check the patient's vital signs throughout the procedure and report to the registered nurse or physician supervising the procedure. The technician must monitor the dialysis equipment regularly throughout the procedure and respond to alerts on the machine. Hemodialysis technicians also update the patient’s records during the procedure and note their physical condition.
After the dialysis procedure, technicians discontinue the treatment, check the patient's vital signs and take additional blood samples. Technicians then clean the dialysis machines, chairs and other equipment according to the facility's safety and sanitation standards. In preparation of additional patients, hemodialysis technicians restock supplies.
Hemodialysis Technician Education Requirements
National certification is a requirement to work as a hemodialysis technician. To qualify for the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician examination, applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma and complete an approved training program. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician certification. The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology offers the Certified Hemodialysis Technician certification, which requires the applicant to have a high school diploma and experience in nephrology patient care to qualify for a certification examination. Applicants to the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology without experience in the field can qualify for the examination after completing an approved training program.
- Mayo Clinic: Hemodialysis What You Can Expect
- Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission: CCHT Eligibility Criteria
- Horizon Healthcare Staffing: Dialysis Technician Job In New York
- Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology: Examinations
- Mayo School of Health Sciences: Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician
Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.