Dialysis Assistant Training Programs and Requirements

Dialysis assistants are responsible for setting up, cleaning and maintaining dialysis equipment under the supervision of a physician. Formal educational programs for dialysis assistants aren't commonly available; however, individuals interested in this field might want to consider enrolling in a dialysis technician program, which trains them in dialysis assistant duties, as well as the patient care duties of a dialysis technician.

Dialysis Assistant Training Requirements and Recommendations

Dialysis assistants prepare and maintain dialysis equipment, including the machines that filter salt and excess water from patients' blood due to damaged or failing kidneys. Some dialysis assistants also prepare the water solution, conduct water testing and handle administrative tasks. Most positions in this field only require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED; however, some dialysis assistants may also need to have basic nursing skills and be CPR certified. A dialysis technician certificate program may help individuals receive training to advance in this field.

Education Programs

Vocational schools, community colleges and hospitals offer dialysis technician training programs, which can vary in length from 12 weeks to one year. Depending upon the program, students may receive hands-on dialysis experience in healthcare facilities.

Certificate of Completion for Dialysis Patient Care Technician

A dialysis patient care certificate program typically lasts one semester and provides only classroom instruction. Students learn about patient rights, regulatory agencies, medical problems related to dialysis and treatment modalities. Typical courses include medical terminology, nursing and kidney function.

Certificate of Completion for Renal Dialysis Technician

A 1-year certificate program for renal dialysis technicians prepares students to work with patients dealing with hemodialysis, a type of renal replacement therapy that removes waste and extra fluid and balances electrolytes through an artificial kidney. Students spend time in classroom instruction, labs and clinical settings. Curriculum for this certificate program includes the fundamentals of renal dialysis, hemodialysis and renal failure.

Job Experience

Dialysis assistants can land jobs in hospitals, out-patient facilities and home dialysis programs. Employers may prefer these entry-level applicants to have 1-2 years of dialysis experience, including knowledge of hemodialysis.

Licenses and Certifications

Dialysis assistants are not generally required to be certified; however, certification programs are available for dialysis technicians. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission, for example, offers a certified clinical hemodialysis technician program that requires completing a training program for hemodialysis patient care with classroom and clinical experience. It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of six months or 1,000 hours of clinical experience prior to taking the examination.

Workshops and Seminars

Several professional organizations sponsor annual dialysis conferences that feature keynote speakers regarding chronic kidney diseases, clinical trials and nephrology. These 3-4 day conferences allow attendees to network with other industry members and ask questions of top experts. National associations, such as the National Kidney Foundation, also host 3-5 day clinical meetings for renal healthcare professionals, which includes dialysis assistants. Participants learn about evolving concepts about kidney disease and participate in practical workshops and symposia.

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