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What is a Nephrology Nurse?

A nephrology nurse is one who is a kidney health professional. Their role is to attend to patients that suffer from kidney problems and complications as well as those medically assessed to be at higher risks of developing kidney problems. As such, a nephrology nurse may encounter an array of kidney complications, among them being polycystic kidney disease, renal cysts, obstructions, and kidney stones.

Since kidney complications are often the result of numerous factors, nephrology nurses tend to work with different patient groups ranging from children to adults.Pursuing a career in nursing nephrology also sets you up for further specialization in such areas as pediatric nephrology, or in specific treatment options for kidney complications, such as dialysis or transplantation.
To be efficient in your role as nephrology nurse, you need to stay abreast with the latest developments in your specific area of expertise. The most effective way to stay updated is to regularly read niche medical journals and attend or participate in as many as possible conferences and seminars. By so doing, you will benefit from a wide pool of knowledge that you will be able to replicate at your place of work for the benefit of your employer and patients, the latter by delivering better service.

What do Nephrology Nurses Do?

The scope of work for nephrology nurses entails, among others, assessing, educating, and treating patients who have developed or have been assessed to be at higher risks of developing kidney complications.

Often, the process of patient assessment involves careful examination alongside a review of the patient’s medical history. The initial assessment, which basically requires the specialist to conduct a complete medical assessment of the patient alongside discussing the symptoms with the patient is often done by a nephrology nurse. Note that the nurse may also assist with conducting certain diagnostic procedures, such as internal imaging, or the examination of the patient’s medical history.

Being professionals, nephrology nurses can also help in providing vital patient education on an array of issues. For instance, they may be called upon to help patients develop better understanding of their conditions by providing in-depth information, including the possible means of managing the problem. Specifically, they may be integral in advising patients on a wide range of issues, from treatment options to nutrition requirements.

For nephrology nurses, the scope of their work includes providing care and treatment to patients suffering from kidney complications, and which may include administering medication and assisting with the dialysis process. For patients whose kidney complication is in the latter stages, dialysis is a necessary procedure when the goal is to prolong the patient’s life. To accomplish the dialysis process, nephrology nurses specialized in the same will hook up the patient to a dialysis machine, which helps by artificially filtering the patient’s blood. Also, since severe cases of kidney complications may require transplants, nephrology nurses, given their specialization, can be of assistance as well.

Also, since certain kidney diseases are the result of or indirectly exacerbated by other health problems, it is necessary for nephrology nurses to familiarize themselves with such health problems and, where possible, provide the appropriate treatment intervention. Some of these health problems may include diabetes, high blood pressure, and substance abuse.

Where do Nephrology Nurses Work?

A number of employment opportunities are available for qualified nephrology nurse, these include employment in physicians’ office, hospitals, clinics, and similar medical facilities. Also, some home care agencies may require the services of a nephrology nurse if a home bound patientis in need ofspecialized kidney care such as dialysis.

How do I Become a Nephrology Nurse?

Your journey to becoming a nephrology nurse must begin by you first becoming a registered nurse (RN). To be a registered nurse, one must earn a diploma or degree in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Nephrology Nurse Organizations

American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA)
American Society of Nephrology (ASN)
Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technologists (CANNT)
The American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

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