Dialysis Technician Job Profile

A dialysis technician (DT) is a person who is technically proficient to operate a dialysis machine. DTs are also referred to as hemodialysis technicians or nephrology technicians. DTs work with patients who require this sort of service, monitor their medical care and prepare dialysis reports.

For patients with dysfunctional kidneys, dialysis is one of the most important processes to remove all toxic wastes from their bloodstream. Such patients depend on dialysis until kidney transplantation or for the rest of their lives.

Work Environment

DTs normally work in hospitals, doctors' offices, public dialysis centers and home dialysis programs.

Duties

  • Set up the dialysis equipment by attaching the dialyzer and tubes to the machine. Put the machine through a test run with saline before providing treatment to patients with kidney failure.
  • Prepare the dialysate mixture as per the formula's precise instructions.
  • Connect the machine to a patient's forearm or catheter site so that the circulation of blood starts with the help of a dialyzer. Insure the machine is in correct working order by checking the pressure, conductivity and temperature.
  • Record a patient's weight, temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate and pulse rate in both pre-dialysis and post-dialysis stages to cover all the necessary ground.
  • Recheck the venous and arterial pressure on the equipment; this is paramount. Calculate the removal and replacement of fluids and contrast this with the standard procedure.
  • After dialysis, keep the patient under observation for a short period for any adverse reactions.
  • Act as a contact between the neurologist and the outpatients coming for their daily dialysis.
  • Attend to minor problems of the dialysis equipment and attempt to rectify them.
  • Clean and maintain the dialysis equipment by the use of an antiseptic solution.

Educational and Other Requirements

  • A high school diploma and training from a dialysis technology program are sufficient to become a DT.
  • The training has to be completed from a school accredited by the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology. The courses should cover subjects like the dialysis process, artificial kidneys, technical assessments, fluid oversight, monitoring dialysis equipment and other hemodialysis issues.
  • You can become a certified DT after six months of experience.
  • Direct handling of patients is required on a daily basis; a DT should have a stable physical and emotional stature to offer and provide support to the patients.

Income

A DT's income is mainly influenced by geographical location, experience, education and types of facilities where he or she works. For newly employed DTs, the hourly wage is in the range of $7 to $16. The annual median salary of DTs on the national level has been tabulated to be around $29,438. But for the most experienced ones, it is around $33,369.

Small medical facilities and doctors' offices pay less than do large medical care centers or multi-specialty hospitals. Major hospitals in a few states offer a package of benefits to DTs beyond their basic salary.

Career Advancement

Those with an associate's or bachelor's degree have the opportunity for quicker career advancement. They can easily get promoted to become chief technicians after a few years of experience.

Job Prospects

DTs' opportunities are expected to grow appreciably like other health care occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates all health care-related positions should increase 21 percent overall from 2006 to 2016.