How do I break in?

I am a RN with over twenty years of experience, but with no hemodialysis experience and some icu pd experience. ( 15 years ago) Do I need hd experience? How do I get in the field? Should I take a refresher course? Where are they offered? Is there on-the-job-training for experienced nurses?[/b]

In my experience working in dialysis clinics as a social worker for over 18 years, our administrator was thrilled to have anyone apply if they had renal experience, even if it was in the past. There are just not that many nurses that have renal experience.

You can get on-the-job training for hemodialysis starting with reading manuals and shadowing another nurse before doing aspects of patient care yourself. If the clinic offers PD, you could work with a PD nurse to learn about PD and how to train patients to do it. It’s my understanding that most PD nurses carry 20-25 patients, but some larger PD programs have more than one PD nurse.

There are several national and local meetings where you can learn more about dialysis. The Annual Dialysis Conference in March in Tampa (, the American Nephrology Nurses Association meeting in April in Las Vegas (brochure at, and the National Kidney Foundation Clinical Meetings in May in DC ( are a few of the national meetings. Your local National Kidney Foundation affiliate may have a meeting nearby that you could attend. Find your NKF affiliate at

I hope you will consider becoming a nephrology nurse. The field can use people like you.