Acute Dialysis Technician
An acute dialysis technician plays a vital role in providing life-sustaining dialysis treatments to patients with acute kidney failure or those who require dialysis temporarily due to a medical emergency. Acute dialysis technicians work primarily in hospital settings, assisting in delivering urgent hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis treatments under the supervision of registered nurses and nephrologists. Here’s everything you need to know about the job of an acute dialysis technician:
Education and Certification
- High school diploma or GED is required.
- Completion of a dialysis technician training program, which typically takes 1-2 years, depending on the program.
- Certification as a Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) or Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) is required in most states and preferred by many employers.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Setting up and preparing the dialysis machine: Acute dialysis technicians are responsible for assembling and setting up the dialysis machine before each treatment session, ensuring that all components are properly connected and functioning.
- Preparing the dialyzer and dialysis solution: Technicians prepare the dialyzer (artificial kidney) and mix the dialysis solution according to the patient’s prescription.
- Checking patient’s vital signs: Before starting the treatment, the technician checks the patient’s vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, and records them in the patient’s chart.
- Cannulation: The technician is responsible for inserting needles into the patient’s access site (fistula, graft, or catheter) and connecting the patient to the dialysis machine.
- Monitoring patients during treatment: Throughout the dialysis session, the technician monitors the patient’s vital signs and the functioning of the dialysis machine, making adjustments as necessary to ensure a safe and effective treatment.
- Administering prescribed medications: The technician may administer medications prescribed by the nephrologist during the dialysis treatment, such as heparin or electrolytes.
- Maintaining patient records: Acute dialysis technicians are responsible for accurately documenting patient information, treatment details, and any observations or issues that arise during the treatment.
- Cleaning and sterilizing equipment: After each treatment, the technician thoroughly cleans and sterilizes the dialysis machine, dialyzer, and blood tubing to ensure proper functioning and prevent infections.
- Ensuring safety and compliance: Technicians must follow strict safety and infection control protocols, as well as comply with regulatory requirements related to patient care and equipment maintenance.
- Collaborating with the healthcare team: Acute dialysis technicians work closely with the patient’s healthcare team, including nephrologists, nurses, and other healthcare providers, to ensure the patient receives the best possible care.
- Acute dialysis technicians primarily work in hospital settings, providing urgent dialysis treatments to patients with acute kidney failure or other medical emergencies.
- The work schedule may include shifts during the day, evening, or weekend, as well as on-call hours, as acute dialysis treatments are often needed on short notice.
Acute dialysis technicians primarily work in hospital settings, providing urgent dialysis treatments to patients with acute kidney failure or other medical emergencies.
The work schedule may include shifts during the day, evening, or weekend, as well as on-call hours, as acute dialysis treatments are often needed on short notice.
Skills and Qualities
Strong technical skills to operate and maintain complex dialysis equipment.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to work with patients and healthcare team members.
Attention to detail and accuracy in documentation and patient care.
Ability to work well under pressure and manage multiple tasks.
Empathy and compassion for patients dealing with kidney failure and the challenges of long-term dialysis treatment.
Acute dialysis technicians can advance their careers by obtaining additional certifications, specializing in a specific area of dialysis (e.g., home hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or pediatric dialysis), or pursuing further education to become a dialysis nurse or another healthcare professional.