Preparing Patient for Dialysis
Nurses have the important role of helping patients to prepare for the various treatments that they will be receiving. This is especially true for dialysis nurses, as there are preparatory steps that can help a patient have a smoother treatment every time. Some of these steps are simply to make sure that the patient receives education regarding the medical procedure he will get. Check out the tips below to help best prepare dialysis patients for their treatment. 

Educating Dialysis Patients

If this is a patient’s first time receiving dialysis, then education is the most important first step. The patient should receive a brochure or information guide to help them better understand the procedure. During this time, the nurse should also be there to explain the procedure or answer any questions that they may have. This can help to relax the patient and make sure that they know exactly what will happen when they receive treatment.

Check Vitals and Weight

As with many procedures and visits, the dialysis nurse should check the patient’s weight and vitals. This is key to ensure that everything is going well with the patient and its treatment. Extra weight can come about as a result of water gain in between treatments. Nurses must inform doctors or double-check any concerning information regarding the patient’s vitals or weight.

Reviewing Lab Results

Prior to every dialysis treatment, it is important to review prior lab results to make sure everything is going the way it should. Evaluate the levels of potassium, sodium, creatine, and more. Some of these could potentially be elevated, but nurses need to report anything too high or otherwise out of the ordinary. Check the red blood cell count as well as the hematocrit and hemoglobin levels. These could be decreased and there may be orders to take action to address them. 


After informing a patient of the dialysis procedure and the dialysis options, discuss the idea of transplants with them. This lets patients know that there is a potential for them to get a kidney transplant and no longer need dialysis. It may also involve helping them get on the transplant list or follow up as to their place on the list. 

Checking Medications

It is important to check a dialysis patient’s regular medications and see how they are working. Make sure that the medication is providing good results and discuss with the doctor if it is not. This is critical because some medications should actually be discontinued for a certain amount of time before dialysis takes place. In addition, the machine can filter certain medications if the patient takes them briefly before the dialysis. As a result, the meds will not benefit the patient. Therefore, it is crucial to coordinate the times when patients take meds with their dialysis schedule.

Patients who need dialysis may experience a spectrum of different emotions, including confusion, fear, and even sadness. Whether a patient is showing up to dialysis for the first time or has endured several treatments, always be sensitive to your patients. During their treatments, they may feel a great deal of pain – or even the burden of their loved ones’ fears and worries. Listen to them and be caring; as a nurse, your presence can be a lifesaver.

Looking for Rewarding Dialysis Nursing Jobs?

If you have considered becoming a dialysis nurse, then contact us here at New Directions Staffing. We work with facilities all around the country that are in great need of dialysis nurses. Our goal is to find the right fit in a location and position that you will love and receive the compensation that you desire. Contact us today to learn more about our services, and to get started hunting for the perfect nursing career.