Dialysis Nurse Training

The nursing profession is one of the most diverse career opportunities available in the healthcare sector mainly due to the ability to apply knowledge and skills in many areas of practice. The dialysis nurse training required to deliver care to individuals suffering from kidney disease is typically completed after a basic level of education and certification has been acquired. Those planning to work in a renal clinic need to become familiar with the requirements before committing to a career as a nurse or submitting job applications.


Nurses are middle level medical providers who deliver care under the direction and supervision of licensed physicians. Although these individuals are not able to exercise advanced medical decision making, they are allowed to perform more activities than an unlicensed provider such as an assistant or technician. In order to become licensed in the US, a specific level of college education and training must be completed. Once this has been achieved, advanced or specialized credentials can be pursued. People who begin their career as a technician may elect to further their standing in the profession by returning to school and completing the dialysis nurse training needed to perform additional patient care activities.

Popular Educational Pathways

There are a few common educational pathways that can be completed to acquire the credentials needed to become a registered nurse. These include a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), and a diploma program through a nursing school. Because there are practice restrictions that do apply to ADN and diploma graduates, several people choose to enroll in programs that offer the BSN credential. A BSN program is typically completed over the course of 4 to 6 years while the ASN and diploma programs generally require two to three years. For those who do not want to commit four or more years to their education, an ASN or diploma program may be the best of the available options initially and can always be expanded on down the road.


Educational programs will typically include classroom instruction on the topics of basic human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, nutrition, behavioral sciences, microbiology, and psychology along with hands-on clinical experience. Dialysis nurse training may also require a Master’s Degree in Nursing in order to perform some tasks. This might result in the need for more education and experience. Directors of treatment facilities can provide additional information about any available opportunities and required credentials.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

Licensing requirements vary between states, but everyone in the field must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Since the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) does not maintain standard eligibility requirements for the NCLEX-RN exam, individuals must contact their state’s Board in order to find out which requirements affect them. Exams are administered throughout the year by Pearson VUE and can be taken at a variety of testing locations throughout the US. Wait times for failed exams and the limit for number of exams taken is usually established by a state’s Board of Nursing. Those planning to take the exam should become familiar with the laws in their state before scheduling a test date.

Individuals who have completed the standard competency requirements for working in the profession and who want to focus on delivering care in an establishment that manages end stage renal failure usually begin working in the specialty as a staff nurse and gradually assume more responsibility as they acquire the dialysis nurse training, experience, and certification required to demonstrate that they are qualified to work independently. Training and experience is usually provided as part of the employment process and a certification exam can be taken through a couple of well-recognized organizations that administer national examinations unique to the specialty.

The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) and the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) are two of the largest and most respected national organizations that provide certifying opportunities to individuals who have completed dialysis nurse training. The NNCC provides the Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN), Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN), and Certified Nephrology Nurse for Nurse Practitioners (CNN-NP) exams while BONENT offers the Certified Hemodialysis Nurse (CHN) and the Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (CPDN). Since employers and Boards of Nursing vary in the expectations they have, individuals are well-advised to make sure a specific exam has been approved by state agencies and employers before scheduling an exam date.

Industry Growth and Job Security


Nephrology is a major branch of the medical community due to the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. About 80% of all kidney failure patients are a direct result of these diseases. These trends have resulted in much higher demand for dialysis therapy and have led to a shortage of personnel. With the job growth projected to surpass 20% over the next ten years, it is easy to see why this profession is an excellent option for those who are willing to pursue dialysis nurse training and any of the other required credentials.

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