Kidney Dialysis Jobs

Published: 10th September 2009
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Kidney dialysis is the medical means of providing artificial renal replacement therapy for loss of kidney function due to renal failure. This means the kidneys cease to function adequately which produces abnormal fluid levels in the human body. Acute renal failure occurs when a patient has suddenly but temporarily lost their kidney function. Chronic renal failure occurs when a patient has permanently lost their kidney function.

Healthy kidneys maintain the human body's balance of water and minerals (potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sulfate). Kidney dialysis is basically an imperfect treatment to replace the functions of the kidneys by removing waste and fluids. The dialysis solution has levels of minerals like potassium which are similar to the body's natural concentration in healthy blood. The patient's blood is circulated through the dialysis equipment where their blood is filtered, cleansed and returned to the patient's body.

Symptoms of kidney failure include high levels of urea in the blood which results in vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, weight loss, nighttime urination, foamy or bubbly urine, more or less frequent urination, blood in urine, pressure or difficulty urinating, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and darkening of the skin. If there is a build-up of phosphates in the body, the patient may experience itching and muscle cramps. A build-up of potassium may have symptoms of abnormal heart rhythms and muscle paralysis. Excess fluid retention results in swelling of the legs, ankles, feet, face, hands and shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs.

Salaries for kidney dialysis technicians in the United States are an average of $30,719 per year. Some technicians make less at around $28,148 per year and others bring in a higher income of approximately $34,635 per year.

Kidney dialysis technicians work with patients whose kidneys no longer function properly. They operate the dialysis equipment to remove fluids, wastes and salts from the patient's blood while keeping safe levels of minerals in the patient's body. During the four hours a patient is typically on the dialysis equipment, the technician monitors both the patient and the machine. They are responsible for keeping the patient comfortable and the dialysis equipment in good working condition.

A dialysis technician must have a high school diploma plus additional training at a community college, vocational school, or a dialysis training center. After successfully completing the program, the dialysis technician will be issued a certificate. Courses in both science and health are also useful to the student wanting to become a dialysis technician. Mechanical ability is another skill which is essential to the position.

Dialysis technicians usually work a 40-hour work week typically in a hospital environment. They must be conscientious employees who can remain calm in emergency situations. They also need to posses empathy to work with patients who are experiencing certain emotional stress and need to be shown understanding and encouragement.

To learn more about careers in dialysis visit the travel dialysis nurse jobs page for more information and how to apply for a job.

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