Dialysis technicians play an important role in assisting patients with kidney problems, ensuring that the patients continue to lead a normal life. They are sometimes called as patient care technicians (PCTs).
Dialysis technician job description and duties
A dialysis technician is mainly responsible for ensuring that patients undergoing the four-hour dialysis will get safe and effective results. They have to follow strict protocols to do so. Their most critical duties are to monitor and change the fluid removal rate based on the patients’ vital signs and to reduce the possibility of the patients getting infected by using sterilized equipment and handling them properly.
There are many other duties that dialysis technicians have to perform at work. They have to set up and control the hemodialysis machine during dialysis. They attach the tubing and dialyzer to the machine to start the treatment. They also mix dialysate, following a certain formula. They prime dialyzer with heparanized or saline solution in preparation for the dialysis.
Dialysis technicians have to look after the patients even before they get to the dialysis room. In fact, they have to be the one to bring the patients to the said room and position them properly on the lounge chair of the machine. They also take the patient’s vital statistics, including the predialysis weight, blood pressure, temperature, respiration rate, and pulse rate. It is their duty to explain the procedure and how the hemodialysis machine works to the patients in a bid to relieve their anxiety.
As a part of the preparation before the hemodialysis machine is connected to the patient’s body, a dialysis technician will sterilize the area of access with an antiseptic solution. The technician then connects the machine to the patient’s catheter site or forearm and get the blood circulating through the dialyzer. During the procedure, the technician has to check the conductivity, pressures, and temperature to ensure that the equipment settings are in compliance with the safety standards.
Once everything is set up, dialysis technicians then initiate blood flow pump following a prescribed rate. They also have to check the arterial and venous pressures recorded on the equipment to avoid going beyond established limits. They then determine how much fluid should be removed or replaced during the dialysis. While manning the machine and ensuring that it does not malfunction, they have to keep checking on the patient for any adverse reaction.
After the dialysis procedure, dialysis technicians then take the patient’s postdialysis temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, weight, and respiration rate.
Outside of their relationship with the patients, dialysis technicians may also spend time working on the hemodialysis machine. They might make tubing, cannulas, fittings, and connectors using handtools.
Where does a dialysis technician work
Most dialysis technicians work for hospitals, physician offices, ambulatory services, and dialysis centers. They might also travel to the patient’s home to administer the dialysis procedure. While some work full time for 40 hours per week, others choose to work part time to maintain their flexible hours.
Why should you become a dialysis technician
There are several benefits to being a dialysis technician. The salary is higher than the usual typical entry level job because of the increasing demand for these technicians. According to PayScale, they earn a median salary of $31,279.
For those who are looking for broader advancement opportunities, they will have plenty of options as dialysis technicians. For instance, after working as dialysis technicians for five years or so, they can apply for higher positions, such as being a biomedical equipment technician, after taking some courses in the field.
The package deal for dialysis technicians is also great and is another reason to choose this profession. Aside from their base salary, they also receive dental, medical, 401K plans, vision insurance, holiday pay and overtime, sick and vacation days, and retirement.