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Contributing to High Quality Patient Care as a Dialysis Technician

End stage renal disease has become a significant health concern in the United States over the past thirty years as the prevalence of kidney failure cases has risen. Today, there are around 1 million people who are enrolled in the federal government’s reimbursement program for dialysis treatment and the trend seems to be toward a higher number of enrollees as diabetes and high blood pressure become more common among the general population. Current projections estimate that annual costs associated with providing care to these people exceeds $50 billion. To accommodate the influx of patients, organizations have begun building hundreds of new clinics and are now more aggressive about hiring providers who are willing to take responsibility for the routine activities required to offer comprehensive care. This has resulted in more career advancement opportunities for individuals who are interested in working as a dialysis technician.

Technicians are unlicensed assistants who are required to provide care under the supervision of nurses and physicians. In general, the technician is qualified to perform tasks that do not involve professional knowledge, judgment, or skill. A few of the more common activities assigned to unlicensed members of the medical team include greeting patients, scheduling appointments, collecting procedural health data, recording vital signs, attaching tubes to the vascular access point, making sure equipment is operating properly, monitoring patients during treatment, answering questions, alerting providers about any concerns that might arise, communicating with other members of the team, and providing support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress associated with their medical condition.

Additional responsibilities may be required as a condition of employment and it is important to discuss the expectations of the employer in great detail before signing a long-term contract. Also, directors may include specific personality traits that an individual must possess in order to be considered for an open position. The fact that dialysis therapy requires patients to receive treatment three to five times each week means that the level of anger and frustration that patients experience is often higher than in other medical departments. For this reason, it is critical that a technician be compassionate, friendly, caring, empathetic, outgoing, and intelligent. Those who have difficulty remaining positive under circumstances that are stressful will find that a career in patient care may not be the best employment option.

As a technician gains experience in patient care and demonstrates a strong work ethic, they may have the opportunity to take advantage of an administrative promotion to a managerial position. Although many individuals prefer to focus on clinical practice without having to think about the business aspect of providing care, some find that the option to take on management activities allows them to have an even greater impact on the health and well-being of others while increasing their earning potential. With this type of promotion individuals can expect to have responsibilities such as supervising other employees, training new personnel, providing performance reports, and conducting office meetings added to their dialysis technician job description.

Patient care is one of the most rewarding career options available because it allows individuals to have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on the quality of life that patients experience. Those who have determined that they possess the personality traits required to work in this profession are encouraged to learn more about the dialysis technician community in their area. Becoming an active participant in regional and statewide industry organizations is one of the best strategies for getting to know influential people in the profession and can result in lucrative career advancement opportunities.

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