Career Profile: Nephrology Nurse

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nephrology nurse

A nephrology nurse specialises in treating patients who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). With the massive increase in the number of patients with CKD, there’s growing demand for qualified and experienced nephrology nurses.

Duties and responsibilities

Nephrology nurses work with patients of all ages, from young children to geriatrics, who may be suffering from kidney problems. Most nurses work in the dialysis unit of a medical facility, where their primary responsibility is to provide care to patients with CKD. In addition to primary care, a nephrology nurse also performs a broad range of duties, including:

  • Identifying any risk factors in patients.
  • Assessing a patient’s situation and creating a personalised treatment plan along with other healthcare professionals.
  • Being responsible for dialysis treatment, from initiating the procedure to using the equipment and termination of the session.
  • Providing care to patients after they’ve undergone a renal transplant.
  • Educating patients and their families with regards to care that needs to be taken at home.
  • Co-ordinating with other health teams to provide care for patients.
  • Helping patients through their process of rehabilitation.

Education, training and qualifications

The first step to becoming a nephrology nurse is to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree. This degree usually takes three years of full-time study. Once you complete it, you will be eligible to apply to the NMBA (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia) so that your name can be entered into the register. Registered nurses can then apply for a programme in Nephrology Nursing; this is a professional program that takes 18 months of full-time study to complete.

The course curriculum of a nephrology nursing programme will include subjects such as concepts of renal transplants, nutrition, pharmacology, anatomy and psychology amongst others. The course will usually combine theoretical aspects of the field along with clinical training in CKD aspects.

Working life

Nurses in this area may have shifts that vary from 8 to 12 hours a day. Some nurses even have to be on call 24/7, especially those who are working in acute haemodialysis settings.

Salaries for nephrology nurses vary based on the territory they work in as well as other factors such as the kind of medical facility. The Australian Nursing Federation acts as the National Union for all nurses, so this federation ensures that nurses receive awards and compensation packages that are competitive to the industry standard.

Nephrology nurses work in diverse healthcare settings and have a lot of job opportunities. Besides out-patient centres and inpatient centres for dialysis, a nurse can also work in transplant centres, with the government or provide home care to patients.

Since there is a tremendous shortage of nephrology nurses in the country, this is the perfect time to enter this field. Job opportunities in this sector are growing rapidly with no indication that it is likely to decrease anytime soon.

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