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Nephrology Nurse

Nephrology nurses work with patients who are suffering from, or are at risk for developing, kidney disease. Nephrology nurses consult with patients and their families, particularly with those who are at a high risk for developing kidney disease, to educate them on how to prevent the onset of the disease. They may also assist physicians in performing dialysis for patients receiving treatment for kidney disease. Nephrology nurses work with patients in developing treatment plans that will combat the disease without interfering with other health issues the patient may have. They also avoid impeding on the patient’s daily life, seeking out treatments that allow personal flexibility and freedom whenever possible.

Nurses specializing in nephrology must be registered nurses (RNs). RNs must complete either a diploma program from a nursing school, an associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. During their formal education, students should take courses in anatomy, pathophysiology, renal therapy, nutrition, and other classes that will enhance their knowledge of kidney care. They must also take the NCLEX-RN to gain licensure to practice. Those looking to practice at an advanced practice level, which grants them more responsibility, will need to earn a master’s degree in nursing. Nephrology nurses can choose to earn certification through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).

Kidney disease is all too common a reality for many people. Diabetes is a common cause for kidney disease, with 25 to 40 percent of all patients with Type 1 diabetes developing kidney disease, according to Vanderbilt University’s Nashville REACH coalition. Due to the real threat of kidney disease and the need for kidney disease prevention, especially for those at high risk for developing the disease, nephrology nurses will be highly sought-after well into the future. The salaries for nephrology nurses vary, depending on the nurse’s level of education, work experience, employer, and geographic location. The average wage for certified nephrology nurses is $30.72 per hour.