What is Dialysis Nursing?
Dialysis nursing is a nursing subspecialty under the field of nephrology nursing. A dialysis nurse focuses on the condition of the renal system and kidneys, including hemodialysis, which is a type of machine used to clean the blood, and peritoneal dialysis, a special fluid that’s injected into a patient’s abdominal cavity. They help to monitor and ensure wastes are flushed out and impurities are cleansed, especially in patients whose kidneys are not working properly. These nurses also help to educate both the patient and his or her family in how to deal with the disease and maintain a healthier lifestyle. They work in clinic settings, intensive care units and in patients’ homes.
What Is a Dialysis Travel Nurse?
Instead of working directly for a facility, a dialysis travel nurse works for a healthcare travel company, typically through a recruiter who helps to set the nurse up on an assignment in various locations, usually for 13-week periods.
An increasing number of facilities are hiring dialysis travel nurses, with the need for just about every type of nurse growing at a much faster rate than the national average for all careers. If you’d like to work in the healthcare industry and enjoy the flexibility that travel nursing brings, taking assignments in different areas throughout the country, you might want to think about becoming a dialysis travel nurse.
The Benefits of Being a Dialysis Travel Nurse
Being a dialysis nurse can be very rewarding. If you ask any one of the hundreds of thousands of patients who receive dialysis regularly, they’ll tell you what a difference dialysis nurses make in their lives. People who have renal failure often have a long list of challenges to face but having a highly-skilled nurse who knows them well can make dealing with it a lot easier.
In addition to working in a very satisfying job, dialysis travel nurses have the opportunity to earn higher salaries, explore the country, get low-cost or free housing and many other perks.
Typical Salary for Dialysis Travel Nurses
The average salary for a non-traveling dialysis nurse if $76,710. Dialysis travel nurses make an average of $96,000, depending on location in addition to other benefits, such as paid housing or a housing stipend, free travel and health insurance. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for dialysis nurses will grow at 26% over the next decade, meaning whether you’re a traditional dialysis RN working for a hospital or you decide to become a dialysis travel nurse, you’re unlikely to have much difficulty in finding a job.
How to Become a Dialysis Travel Nurse
- Become a Licensed Registered Nurse
A Dialysis travel nurse must first become a licensed Registered Nurse. To become a licensed RN you must graduate from a two year (Associate’s degree) or four year (bachelor’s degree) nursing program approved by your state Board of Nursing. Then the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) must be taken and passed.
- Gain Experience As a Registered Nurse
Once the NCLEX-RN has been passed, you may begin working as a Registered Nurse. To become a dialysis travel nurse, a minimum of one year of experience working in a Dialysis setting is required– two years of experience is ideal. Relevant experience in nephrology nursing is required to qualify for the dialysis nurse certification exam.
- Obtain Credentials and Certifications
Dialysis nurses will need to be certified in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). After relevant experience has been obtained, you may be eligible to sit for the Certified Nephrology Nurse Certification (CNN) exam and/or the Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) exam.
- Compare Travel Nursing Companies
Once the required licenses, certifications and relevant experience are obtained, a nurse is eligible to become a travel Dialysis nurse. There are hundreds of travel nursing companies with Dialysis positions. A nurse should speak with several companies and compare what each company offers. Factors to consider when comparing travel nurse companies are: housing (agency based vs. stipend), benefits (medical, dental, 401k, completion bonus), salary (hourly wage, allowances, overtime), guaranteed hours policy, and travel nursing destinations (availability of jobs in the geographic location the nurse wants to work).
- Choose a Travel Nursing Company & Accept A Position
After comparing travel nursing companies and what each has to offer, the nurse will decide on a position and will be offered a contract. The travel nursing contract must be read carefully and fully understood. The nurse must ensure all questions are answered before signing the contract and accepting the position.