Dialysis Travel Nursing
As a traveling nurse, you have the opportunity to specialize just as you would by taking a job in your hometown or current city. Dialysis nursing provides one such specialty that offers an opportunity to work closely with patients and their families while earning competitive pay and working better hours than the typical nursing job.
What Is a Dialysis Traveling Nurse?
Similar to a traveling nurse without a specialty, the traveling dialysis nurse works for a healthcare travel company that provides medical facilities with nurses who specialize in nephrology. A recruiter with the healthcare travel agency places the nurse in assignments at various locations, either in the US or abroad.
The specialty in dialysis nursing means the nurse provides care to patients experiencing end-stage renal disease. The nurse helps patients with kidney diseases and conditions with dialysis treatment that clears their bodies of toxins. This includes hemodialysis, treatment using a machine that cleans the blood, and peritoneal dialysis, a fluid injected directly into the abdominal cavity of the patient. The nurse also provides education on kidney function and self-care that can provide them a better quality of life.
This RN position also performs many of the duties of a nurse hired directly by a medical facility, including patient history review and administering medication. The nurse also prepares the dialysis machine and all related medical products, as well as ensures that they meet proper quality standards. Monitoring the individual during the dialysis treatment, the RN records medical observations and reports needed information to the patient’s physician.
The traveling dialysis nurse may need to supervise the nurse’s aides or technicians during the treatment procedure. This position reports to the department or nephrology unit head or manager. Assignments typically include a clinic setting or intensive care unit, but some dialysis traveling nurses provide in-home care.
How to Become a Dialysis Travel Nurse
You’ll need to first earn your bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse. After amassing at least one year of experience in a dialysis setting, you complete your specialty licensing in nephrology. You can then apply to nurse agencies that place dialysis traveling nurses for a position.
Travel Nurse Pay and Benefits
The specialty of dialysis RN pays well, whether in a permanent setting or traveling. According to Salary.com, US dialysis nurses earn a median salary of $82,354. The range of pay for these positions starts at $74,977 and ranges up to $96,023.
The salary commanded depends on factors including:
● years of experience in nephrology,
● required soft skills.
These positions typically offer better hours than other nursing positions. Dialysis centers typically open their doors for 12 hours per day, but only Monday through Friday, so you get weekends off and don’t need to work nights. As a traveling nurse, the agency that places you also provides a per diem, which covers a portion of your hotel or motel stay and food costs. In-center patients, receive hemodialysis three times per week.
Dialysis Travel Nurse Licenses
While working as a traveling nurse only requires the same licenses and certifications required of a registered nurse working for a medical facility, the nephrology specialty does require added education.
You’ll need to first earn your registered nurse’s license. To do that, you’ll need either a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree from an approved nursing program. Your state of residence’s Board of Nursing approves these programs.
Once you earn the degree, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Becoming a dialysis travel nurse requires at least one year of experience working in a dialysis setting to qualify to take the dialysis nurse certification exam. Some sources recommend you complete two years of work in a nephrology nursing setting before sitting for the nurse’s certification in this specialty. For this qualification, you may either take and pass the Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) exam or the Certified Nephrology Nurse Certification (CNN) exam.
In addition to the RN license and either CDN or CNN certification, you also need other certifications. Each dialysis nurse must earn a certificate in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).
How Long Are the Assignments?
Assignments typically last less than three months. Typical rotations last for 13-weeks. This allows a traveling dialysis nurse to work in four different assignment areas each year, so you can either travel the country or the world while helping care for those in end-stage renal failure.
Why Choose Dialysis Nursing as a Traveling Nurse Specialty?
Most nurses in this specialty cite how rewarding a job it provides. Many facilities have chosen to hire dialysis travel nurses, so many job opportunities exist. Nurses in this specialty work closely with patients and their families since patients undergo dialysis three times per week. It can prove a tough job though since, in the US, each year about 100,000 individuals start dialysis. Within one year, approximately 20 percent of those patients die.
Is There a High Demand for Dialysis Travel Nurses?
In the US, about 37 million individuals received a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease. Of those, more than 726,000 experience end-stage renal condition. Those numbers resulted in the growth in demand for traveling dialysis nurses. Working as a dialysis travel nurse offers many benefits and this nursing specialty remains in high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the next decade, the medical industry’s need for dialysis nurses will grow by 26 percent.
What other skills does a traveling dialysis nurse need?
Besides the college degree, licensing and numerous certifications, a dialysis travel nurse also needs a number of soft skills. As a dialysis travel nurse, you must exhibit compassion for patients, their families, and their friends. The position requires strong critical thinking skills and the ability to think on your feet and make rational, yet quick decisions. You’ll need leadership skills and flexibility because by consistently changing your work location, you’ll need to conform to up to four medical facility’s rules sets per year. That means that way you typically do things may not be the way that the hospital does things.
Can a dialysis travel nurse further specialize?
You certainly can! About half of the American Nephrology Nurses Association choose to work in a chronic hemodialysis setting, while 22 percent focus on peritoneal dialysis and another 34 percent work in acute settings.