A dialysis technician is a medical professional that has been certified to operate dialysis equipment and assist patients while they are receiving dialysis. To become a dialysis technician you need to be certified. The training programs for dialysis technician programs may slightly differ in the courses they offer. However, there is a core curriculum for dialysis technician programs that is covered in almost every training program. It is important that all dialysis technicians receive a core set of skills and knowledge no matter where they attending the training.
Dialysis Technician Core Curriculum Courses
Like many medical occupations, a dialysis technician is required to have a basic understanding of patients and medical knowledge. However, there are some courses that are specific to the dialysis technician career. Those classes are:
- Today’s dialysis environment
- Renal (kidney) failure
- Principles of dialysis
- Hemodialysis devices
- Vascular access
- Dialyzer Reprocessing
- Water Treatment
Today’s Dialysis Environment
It is important that students enter the workforce with up to date knowledge. As medical technology and practices advance, so does the training world. One of the essential parts of the core curriculum for dialysis technician is understanding today’s dialysis environment. This course gives students an idea of what technologies are currently in use, industry best practices, and more.
Renal failure, also referred to as kidney failure or renal insufficiency, is a medical condition where the kidney fails to properly filter waste from the blood. The two main types of renal failure are acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. Renal failure is usually diagnosed when it has been determined that the filtration rate of the kideny has decreased.
Principles of Dialysis
Another key component of the core curriculum for dialysis technicians is to understand the principles of dialysis. Dialysis is the process of manually filtering the blood with equipment generally referred to as a dialysis machine. It is also referred to as a hemodialysis advice. A dialysis machine is used to assist the kidney with filtering the blood when it is experiencing failure.
The hemodialysis device is a machine that draws blood from a patient, filters it the same way the kidney does, and returns it to the patient. This process is extremely important. If a patient is experiencing kidney failure, without the use of hemodialysis devices, death is almost certain. The operation of hemodialysis devices and their functions are an essential part of the core curriculum for dialysis technician certification.
Dialysis machines work by accessing the patient’s vascular system, usually through a large vein in the arm. Once the blood is processed through the machine’s filtration system, it is then replaced back into the patient. Understanding the vascular system and how to access it safely is vitally important for dialysis technicians, which is why it’s covered in the core curriculum.
A dialyzer is used to filter fluids and wastes from a dialysis patients blood. Reusing the dialyzer or “dialyzer reprocessing” means that the same dialyzer is used more than once for the same patient. The core curriculum for dialysis technicians usually discusses dialyzer reprocessing, how patients benefit from it, and why it’s a preferred practice for hospitals and clinics that provide dialysis services.
The understanding of water treatment is extremely critical for dialysis. Quality of water is of the upmost importance for dialysis patients due to the amount of water kidney dialysis patients drink. According to a report titled Essentials of water treatment in hemodialysis by the University of Pennsylvania, dialysis patients are exposed to more than 400L of water per week. This is compared with the average person drinking only 15L. That is why the core curriculum for dialysis technician teaches about water treatment.