Dialysis Technician Facts
Dialysis is a medical procedure that acts as an artificial kidney by removing waste from the blood and excess fluids from the body when kidney failure or disease prevents them from do so.
Dialysis technicians, often referred to as patient care technicians (PCTs), follow strict protocols to guarantee safe and effective outcomes for patients undergoing this four-hour procedure. Their most important tasks are to monitor and adjust fluid removal rate according to patient vital signs and to minimize the possibility of infection through proper equipment handling and sterilization.
Dialysis technicians are responsible for operating the machines that do this and monitoring the patients undergoing treatment.
Learn about the training, salary and employment outlook to see if this career is the right one for you
According to the National Institute of Health, nih.gov, the most common reason for dialysis is end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a condition when kidneys function at less than ten percent of normal, which is most commonly caused by diabetes.
Becoming a Dialysis Technician
In most cases, a dialysis technician must have graduated from high school, completed an approved training program and had clinical experience. Many states also require certification. Training opportunities include on-the-job, employer-sponsored and community college programs. An increasing number of employers desire candidates with training from an accredited dialysis technology program. An associate degree in medical technology or nephrology provides education on the science behind dialysis, rather than practical skills alone and will allow dialysis technicians to advance to supervisory positions, according to the National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org.
Dialysis technicians are the direct caregivers for those undergoing dialysis, which sometimes occurs as frequently as three times a week for some. In addition to possessing a responsible and detail-oriented nature, technicians need to be able to understand the emotional toll the ongoing process can take on patients.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, health care and social assistance will generate 5 million new jobs between 2012 and 2022. The National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org, reports that more than 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and the number of people with diabetes, the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, continues to grow. Currently, the median salary for a dialysis technician is $35,558 in January 2014, according to Salary.com, www.salary.com.