Renal nursing, which is frequently named alongside dialysis nursing, involves working with patients who have had renal or kidney failure. Patients who need health care in this field are often suffering from diabetes, lupus, or renal disease, also called kidney disease. When the kidneys become damaged or diseased, excess fluid and waste builds up inside the body because the kidneys can no longer perform vital functions to regulate body chemicals and blood pressure.
Renal or kidney disease can be classified as acute or chronic, depending on whether the loss of function occurs suddenly or if deterioration happens gradually over a period of time. Though not all kidney or renal diseases have pinpointed causes, others are inherited or congenital, or resulting from a malformation or obstruction of the urinary tract that was there since birth. Renal diseases can be chronic kidney disease, acute renal failure, hypertension-related kidney disease, polytheistic kidney diseases, and diabetic nephropathy.
From the effects on the body to normal and abnormal lab values, nurses in this field work with patients who need dialysis for kidney failure due to illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes. Often, these patients are in very serious condition, and nurses must have an expertise with the dialysis machine to perform care on these patients. Nurses in this field often work with patients who are long-term, and see patients consistently for months or even years.
Renal nursing involves educating, training, and managing renal patients with diabetes to try to reduce complications and improve the patient’s health. In renal and dialysis nursing, nurses focus on renal and hematologic systems, managing fluid and electrolytes, monitoring hemodynamics, and having vascular access. Renal nurses must have at least two years experience in a surgical/medical position or Intensive Care Unit, as well as adaptability, flexibility, excellent communication skills, a sense of humor, knowledge about computers, and well-developed time management skills.
To become involved in renal nursing, you will need an advanced nursing degree. The University of Phoenix offers the following online nursing degree programs:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Master of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Or see online LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, or general nursing programs