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(Last update Dec 2010)
In 1990 the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) appointed a Task Force to review public policy options and make recommendations concerning job descriptions for dialysis technicians. In 1992, the Task Force completed their work and as a result, produced a patient care technician role description outline that defined a person who performs safe, effective, and adequate hemodialysis treatments.
The elements of the job description and training outline are meant to supply basic skills and knowledge to people who provide dialysis treatment as part of a team.
On April 15, 2008, the Conditions for Coverage established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were published. Mandatory certification of dialysis technicians providing direct patient care was included in the published regulation. Individuals whose role does not include direct patient care or who do not participate in setting up the dialysis machine for treatment were not included in the regulation. Certification is obtained from a state or national certification program that is approved by and follows CMS criteria.
Dialysis technicians function in multiple roles, which include dialyzer reprocessing, equipment maintenance and repair, water treatment monitoring, participation in quality improvement, vascular access monitoring and direct patient care.
Certified hemodialysis technicians are the primary direct care giver for patients undergoing dialysis treatments. They work closely with, and under the direct supervision of, registered nurses as an important member of the patient care team. Through primarily on the job training, a certified hemodialysis technician must learn and understand the scientific principles of dialysis, the process of the dialysis treatment, and how to respond to the physical and emotional needs of people undergoing dialysis treatments.
Courses in basic sciences; previous health care experience (such as Certified Nurse's Aide or medical technician/technologist)
Training opportunities may include on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training programs, or vocational schools/community college programs.
Certification in nephrology technology is offered to those technicians/technologists meeting the necessary requirements to sit for the exam. For more information on organizations offering certification click on the following links:
Dialysis technicians are employed in dialysis facilities located in hospitals and out-patient facilities, as well as home dialysis programs or industry.
In most dialysis facilities, the certified hemodialysis technician is the staff person who is primarily responsible for performing the actual dialysis treatment, while the nurse is responsible for the overall care of the patient. The technician works under direct supervision of the registered nurse, who is responsible for making decisions and providing guidance any time the treatment varies from normal parameters or the patient's condition becomes unstable.
The list below is general, and may vary based on different state laws and facility policies.
The National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary health organization, is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.
Through our offices nationwide, the NKF provides vital patient and community services, conducts extensive public and professional education, advocates for patients through legislative action and supports kidney research to identify new treatments.
The NKF relies on individual and corporate donations, business partnerships, foundation and government grants and revenue from special events. More than 79 cents of each dollar donated to NKF goes directly to support its programs and services. Click here to see your donation dollar at work.