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Dialysis Technician Certification

Congratulations on starting your career as a Dialysis Technician!

The need for dialysis technicians is increasing as the baby boomers in the United States grow older. You have picked an exciting time to get involved in this growing field and will find that employment opportunities as a dialysis technician are high.

The requirements to become a Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) vary slightly from state to state but overall every state must comply with the regulations set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2008.

Click on your state below to get started and learn more.


How Dialysis Technician Central Helps You


Dialysis Technician

Dialysis technicians operate machines that remove waste and excess fluids from the blood of patients whose kidneys can no longer preform these functions.  Dialysis technicians are also referred to as renal dialysis technicians, hemodialysis technicians, patient care technicians (PCT), or nephrology technicians. They work under the supervision of physicians and licensed nurses, primarily in End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) clinics (a.k.a. dialysis centers) and hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allow you to start working as a dialysis technician as long as you have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. The follow on requirement to this is you must become certified within 18 months of being hired. Most states leave this process up to the individual clinics to manage. The dialysis centers work with technicians to ensure they receive the right amount of classroom (dietetic) and practical training. Several states require that you are identified as a trainee while working prior to your certification; most states meet this requirement by having name badges or by having your trainer declare you are a trainee when you interact with a patient. Read more of what dialysis technicians do here.

Why Dialysis Technician Central

At Dialysis Technician Central we provide the highest quality content that gives you insight on the dialysis technician field. Our goal is to prepare you to become an empathetic dialysis technician. In many of the states’ laws, where they specify the training requirements for dialysis technicians, you will find they specifically include “understanding the patient” as a top priority. America is very mindful of health care and the quality of service patients receive. Now more than ever you must know your patients and provide the highest quality care.

Here you will find information on what dialysis technicians actually do, what exams you need to take and what to study for them, as well as a set of articles written from the patient’s perspective so you can learn what they are going through and can see just how helpful you will be in the lives of others. This sets us apart because we understand renal failure is a life threatening condition which greatly impacts the lives of those who have it and their loved ones. We want to promote better patient-care giver relationships by increasing your awareness of living with renal failure so you can provide more empathetic care.

Use our search to help find what you are looking for or browse through our archive of articles. If there is a topic you wish to explore and find it is not yet covered, drop us a line and let us know. We strive to meet your needs and provide the content you will find most useful.

Summary

Have you ever thought of pursuing a career in the medical field, yet uncertain of which area to choose? Consider a career as a Dialysis Technician. Unfortunately, there are many people suffering from kidney failure (or renal failure). The kidneys serve the important function of filtering unwanted waste and fluid from the blood. When the kidneys fail to perform, the resulting symptoms can be horrendous. Dialysis is the process in which patients suffering from renal failure (or other kidney diseases) can have the excess waste and fluid removed. A Dialysis Technician is there to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible so that the patient can be as comfortable as possible.

A few of the duties of a Dialysis Technician include the following:

  • Set up and operate the hemodialysis machine in preparation for dialysis treatment
  • Mix dialysate according to the formula
  • Escorts patient from waiting room and positions the patient comfortably on the lounge chair next to the hemodialysis machine
  • Resolves patient’s anxieties by explaining the process of dialysis and how the machine operates
  • Monitors patient and machine to ensure that all is running smoothly
  • Records patient’s weight, blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and respiration rate

There are numerous opportunities for a Dialysis Technician to help patients during such a trying time in their lives. While the career itself is a noble profession, it can be quite difficult to find accurate information pertaining to what is necessary to become a Dialysis Technician: enter Dialysis Technician Central. We are here to help you find the right information, resources, and schools that will set you on the course to reaching your goal. The certification and various requirements differ from state to state. At Dialysis Technician Central, we provide all the information you need for each state. We also provide amazing resources that will help you succeed during your studies, as well as information on the top schools in your particular area.

With so much differing information out there, we are dedicated to giving you all that you need to make your goal of becoming a Dialysis Technician a reality. We love the field and it is our wish to share that love and passion with you by making your journey through school, certification, and your future career as a Dialysis Technician as simple and rewarding as possible.

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Thoughts from Someone with ESRD

Please allow me to introduce myself.  Some of these articles you are reading, I wrote with firsthand knowledge of the topics—because I was a dialysis patient.   I was on in-center hemodialysis for years before receiving a cadaveric kidney transplant.

Years ago, after some tests, my doctors told me that I had stage 4 chronic kidney disease.  And soon after that, my disease progressed to end stage renal disease (ESRD), chronic renal failure.

I had no family members who could qualify as living kidney donors.  My doctors recommended that I prepare for regular dialysis treatments as soon as possible, and that I apply at a hospital to be put on the waiting list for a cadaveric kidney transplant.  And so began my life on hemodialysis.

At first I found my new life on hemodialysis to be very stressful.  My emotional state was poor to begin with.  I was still trying to process how ESRD might affect my life from then on.  Evidently the disease had made me more irritable and had also impaired my memory and ability to concentrate.   The constant severe itching kept me from getting a good night’s sleep, which further worsened my physical and psychological condition.  Yet suddenly I had to learn and do a lot of things quickly:  Take new medications; eat a renal diet; get a temporary access; go for regular hemodialysis treatments; get a permanent access.  My emotions were raw, and at times I despaired.

But as time went on, the treatments began to make me feel better both mentally and physically.  That “mental fog” I had been in for so long began to clear.  I thought better of myself, and I gradually got used to this new regimen.  In time, I even appreciated how it was helping me.

Other dialysis patients have experienced the same thing.  They found the first months to be difficult; but as their condition improved, they began to appreciate how dialysis was helping them:

“I feel physically better and have more appetite now that I am on dialysis.”

“At first the PD [peritoneal dialysis] cycler was hard to sleep with.  Now it is hard to sleep without.”

But I still wanted to ensure that I was getting the best health care possible.   I had a very good medical team treating me.  But they could not possibly know everything, especially since the field of medicine is advancing so rapidly.   

And so I decided to do research on my own.   I was determined to master this disease.  I started learning as much as I could about kidney disease and about hemodialysis, the mode of dialysis I had chosen.  I reviewed each of my monthly blood tests, and charted my progress with Microsoft Excel.

I found that understanding the nature of the challenge confronting me was a big help.  Knowledge really is power.  And it helped me stay in control of my situation.  Other dialysis patients have realized that too:

“Information is the best way to overcome the fears of dialysis treatment.”

“It [dialysis] hasn’t changed, but I understand now how things work around there.”

“The more you educate yourself, the more likely you’ll…make good decisions about your healthcare.”

Health literacy is the ability of a patient to read and understand medical information, to help him make informed medical decisions.  One scientific study has shown that patients with higher health literacy had better treatment outcomes.  And the value of health literacy is not limited to ESRD.   Other studies have shown how health literacy improves treatment outcomes for patients with diabetes, which many ESRD patients suffer from.

Have you started dialysis?  Then just as it was with me, your first source of information will be your treatment team:  Your nephrologist, other doctors, nurses, dialysis technicians and social workers.  If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask.   That’s what I did.  But don’t limit yourself to what they are telling you.  Do research on your own.  Explore as many options as possible.

At first, as a new dialysis patient, your illness and your anxiety about it may make it hard for you to understand or remember all this information.  So take copious notes.  Or when you’re talking with a member of your treatment team, ask a loved one or friend to accompany you and take notes for you.  Or if your treatment team is agreeable, record your conversations with them and play them back at your leisure.

And when it comes to interacting with hospitals, insurance companies, Medicare, and other organizations, do what I did:  Keep careful records of every conversation.  Record the name and telephone number of everyone you spoke with.  Service representatives rotate frequently.  Often the replacement didn’t know that his or her predecessor spoke with me, let alone what we spoke about.  Having a complete history of everyone I talked to helped keep my discussions with them complete and consistent.  

I believe that every patient is unique; what works for some patients may not work for others.  Your symptoms may be more or less severe than mine.  And perhaps you have other health conditions than I do.  Perhaps you also suffer from diabetes, or high blood pressure, or some respiratory ailment.

But I urge you to do what I did:   Take charge of your health.   Ask tough questions.  Get believable, understandable answers.  Get second opinions—or even third opinions. Make sure you understand as much as you can about your health, your treatment, and your prognosis.    Learn on your own.   Learn whether your own current treatments can be further improved or modernized.  Track your progress with charts and careful records.  Ask your family to help whenever they can.

After all, it’s your life.

It’s your life.

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