The kidneys are the organs that our bodies use to filter toxins and wastes from our blood. If these organs are not functioning properly, it could have devastating results. Nephrology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the kidneys and the health problems associated with them.
Nephrology has experienced a great deal of growth since the 1970’s, and it continues to grow today. Because of this, more and more positions are opening up for skilled and qualified nephrology nurses.
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What is a Nephrology Nurse?
A nephrology nurse is a nursing professional that focus on kidney health. They treat and care for patients that are suffering from kidney problems as well as those that are at risk of developing kidney problems. Some of the medical problems that nephrology nurses may encounter include polycystic kidney disease, renal cysts, obstructions, and kidney stones,
Since there may be a number of factors that affect the health of the kidneys, nephrology nurses will typically work with all different types of patients, including children and adults. If you’re looking to pursue a career in nephrology nursing, keep in mind that you can also specialize even further. You can specialize in areas such as pediatric nephrology, for instance, or in specific kidney disease treatments, such as dialysis or transplantation.
As a nephrology nurse, you should also be prepared to stay on top of new developments in your area of expertise. You can often do this by regularly reading niche medical journals and attending conferences and seminars. In doing so, you’ll be able to offer your employers and patients a higher degree of service.
What do Nephrology Nurses Do?
Nephrology nurses play an important part in assessing, diagnosing, educating, and treating patients who have developed or are at risk of developing kidney related problems.
Patient assessment often involves careful examination of the patient and his or her medical history. Nephrology nurses will often make the initial patient assessment, which typically entails performing a complete medical assessment and discussing symptoms with the patient. They may also assist with diagnostic procedures, such as internal imaging, as well as examine patients’ medical histories.
These nursing professionals also help educate patients on a number of different areas. For instance, they may be called upon to help patients better understand their conditions and how they can manage them. These nurses may dole out advice to patients on everything from nutrition to treatment options and beyond.
Nephrology nurses also care for and treat patients suffering from kidney problems. This may include administering medication and assisting with dialysis. For many patients in the later stages of kidney disease, dialysis is a necessary procedure for prolonging life. Nephrology nurses that specialize in dialysis will hook kidney patients up to dialysis machines, which artificially filter the blood. Patients with severe kidney disease may also require kidney transplants, which nephrology nurses might also assist with.
Since some kidney diseases are brought on or exacerbated indirectly by other health problems, nephrology nurses must also be familiar with these health problems and may be required to treat them as well. Some of these health problems may include diabetes, high blood pressure, and substance abuse.
Where do Nephrology Nurses Work?
As a nephrology nurse, you will often be able to find employment in physicians’ office, hospitals, clinics, and similar medical facilities. Some home care agencies may also need nephrology nurses to help with home bound patients in need of kidney care such as dialysis.
How do I Become a Nephrology Nurse?
The first step toward becoming a nephrology nurse is to become a registered nurse (RN). To do this, you must earn your nursing diploma or degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Below is the educational path for a Nephrologyl Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)
|Educational Track||School Programs||Average Education Length||Choosing Online or Campus|
|Earn a Bachelors Degree||View Programs||4 Years||Online or Campus|
|Earn a MSN Degree||View Programs||2 Additional Years||Online or Campus|
|Earn a PHD or DNP||View Programs||2-4 Additional Years||Online or Campus|
Once you’ve become a licensed RN, you can then start gaining the experience required for certification. To become a certified nephrology nurse, you will need to have at least 3,000 hours of experience in a clinical nephrology setting and at least 30 hours of approved continuing education in nephrology.
After you’ve gained the necessary experience and completed the required education, you can then sit for the Certified Nephrology Nurse Certification, which is offered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.