A nurse’s specialty can vary greatly depending on the type of patient she or he cares for. Nurses in the field of nephrology work with patients who are either suffering from or at risk of developing kidney disease.
The Way to Becoming a Nurse in Nephrology
A registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) is a prerequisite for a career in nephrology nursing. Even though LPNS or LVNS can work as nephrology nurses, RNs will have the upper hand in the job market. A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is required to practice as a registered nurse (RN) (BSN). In addition, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Students with a BSN have a higher success rate than those with an ADN on the exam.
According to US News & World Report, an increasing number of nursing specialties require a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to U.S. News & World Report, more nurses are requiring a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) than students with an ADN, so students who already have a BSN degree may want to consider going for their MSN or DNP right away.
A DNP rather than an MSN may be a better option if you’re looking to advance your career after completing your undergraduate degree. For advanced practice registered nurses, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that a doctorate degree be required instead of a master’s degree. Some schools have even begun the process of converting their MSN programs to DNP programs in response to this trend.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only LPNS and LVNs can work in nephrology, whereas RNs earn a median salary of $70,000.
Options for a Nursing Degree in Nephrology
Six certifications are offered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC), but some may be more beneficial than others. The Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) certification is designed for nephrology nurses who work in a variety of settings. It’s a sign of your commitment to your career that you have this certification.
This certificate requires 3,000 hours of nephrology experience within the past three years, with 750 of those hours occurring in the current year. A baccalaureate degree in nursing or a Master of Science in Nursing degree is required to earn this credential. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Nephrology nurse practitioners are encouraged to take the Certified Nephrology Nurse–Nurse Practitioner (CNN–NP) certification exam. As long as you hold this credential, patients can feel confident that you’re ready to help them. Some businesses may even pay for your exam or provide financial incentives for you to become certified.
An RN with at least 2,000 hours of nursing practice experience in nephrology is required to be eligible. Another reason to consider an MSN or DNP is that you must complete 60 hours of nephrology continuing education. You must also have completed 60 hours of nephrology-related continuing education within the last two years prior to applying for the certification.
Nurses working in dialysis facilities can earn the Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) credential from the National Kidney Care Council (NNCC). Having this credential demonstrates that you are dedicated to continuing your education in the field of dialysis care. For this exam, you must have 2,000 hours of experience as a registered nurse in the field of nephrology and 20 hours of continuing education under your belt in the previous two years.
Other dialysis-related certificates exist, but they are geared toward dialysis technicians. Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) and Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician – Advanced (CCHT-A) are the two certifications (CCHT-A).
Practical nurses and vocational nurses who hold licenses to practice are eligible for certifications known as the Certified Dialysis-Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Dialysis-Licensed Vocational Nurse, respectively (CD-LVN).
For dialysis nurses, the CDN certification ranks 18th in the top 25 types of nurses that employers are looking for.
A Nephrology Nurse’s Purpose
Nephrology nurses can be found in a variety of settings. The majority of nephrology nurses work in dialysis facilities. To remove waste and excess fluid from a patient’s blood during dialysis, a machine is used. Patients are monitored and communicated with by a dialysis nurse.
Additionally, nephrology nurses can find work in hospitals caring for patients who are experiencing kidney problems. Stabilizing patients, managing their symptoms, and assisting with surgeries are just some of their responsibilities.