How to Become a Nephrology Nurse: Job Description, Salary, Job Outlook

Nurse speaks with patient in hospital bedA nephrology nurse cares primarily for patients with chronic kidney disease. The nephrology nurse focuses on the prevention of kidney disease, including renal failure, and the care of patients who have or are at risk for developing renal failure. A nephrology nurse works with patients in all stages of renal failure, such as those who need dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Nephrology Nurse
Education Requirements
Nephrology Nurse Job Description
Personality Traits
Career Options
Nephrology Nurse Certification
Professional Organizations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to the field of nephrology nurses but the website does offer an overview of registered nurses who may work in this specialized field of patient care.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $66,220
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov

How to become a nephrology nurse

In order to become a nephrology nurse, a candidate:

  • Must have an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Must pursue additional education in nephrology
  • May pursue voluntary certification from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) or Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT)

Education requirements

To work as a nephrology nurse, the individual must get an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Nurses must receive additional training in nephrology before gaining an entry-level position in the field. Training may be in the form of the “buddy system” or formal training.

Wilkes RN to MS

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Job description

The primary responsibilities of a nephrology nurse are to initiate dialysis, monitor patients and machines during dialysis and terminate the procedure after dialysis is complete. A nephrology nurse performs assessments, identifies risk factors and performs patient education and home dialysis training. The nurse implements nursing intervention practices to prevent complications, thereby decreasing need for patient hospitalizations.

A nephrology nurse performs basic nursing care immediately prior to and following kidney transplantation, introduces treatment modalities to patients and families and coordinates care for patients with chronic kidney disease. The nephrology nurse helps patients achieve their full rehabilitative potential.

Personality traits:

  • Compassionate
  • Technically-minded
  • Good interpersonal skills

Administrative structure varies depending on the setting. A nephrology nurse in a dialysis setting usually reports to a charge nurse or dialysis administrator. The nephrology nurse in a hospital setting reports to a nursing supervisor.

Career options

Typical workplaces for a nephrology nurse include:

  • Hospitals
  • Home-health agencies
  • Dialysis centers
  • Clinics

The job outlook is good for nephrology nurses. The population of the United States is growing older and the risk for kidney problems increases with age. Furthermore, advances in technology has helped patients with kidney problems live longer, thereby increasing the need for highly trained and experienced nephrology nurses.

Certification information

To receive certification as a Certified Nurse Nephrologist (CNN) from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission, a candidate must possess a Baccalaureate in Nursing or a Master’s in Nursing Degree. Additionally, the candidate must have at least 3,000 hours experience as a registered nurse working in nephrology within three years of application. Candidates must also have 30 hours of approved continuing education credit in nephrology nursing within three years of application.

Professional organizations

Nephrology Nurses’ Association: http://anna.inurse.com/

Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT): http://www.bonent.org/