Dialysis nurse competency checklist

When you are new to nursing, it is always difficult to juggle the terms used by those who have been around for a while. For example, competency, what’s the list of competencies?

Don’t worry, if you want I’ll explain it to you so you don’t die trying.

In this article in a practical and simple way will explain what are the competencies and the competency list.

I have nothing left to do but to wish you a good reading and good luck for everything!

What are the competencies of a dialysis nurse?

First of all, competency needs to be defined – in simple terms – it is the ability to perform well in complex and authentic contexts.  And it is divided into several multidimensional levels:

  • Knowing how to do
  • Knowing how to be

Thus, competencies are of great importance for the optimal performance of nursing personnel. Since it is related to work, education and training.


Know-how is related to practical competencies.  These have as their main point the reflection on the action of caring – that is, it grants dialysis nurses the necessary clinical skills that allow them to provide safe and competent care.  In other words, it corresponds to a sense of responsibility.

This being so, what qualities must the nurse have in order to know how to do?

  • Be able to apply his or her knowledge in dialysis nursing
  • To have the ability and skill to provide problem solving
  • Resolve any doubt derived from the nursing practice.

Knowing how to be

Knowing how to be is the essential basis for the training of dialysis nurses. This is because the competencies are associated with care, with clinical and humanistic reasoning. In other words, it is the part that relates to emotions.

Since it aims to provide quality care and safety to dialysis patients.  At the same time, in the middle of the interaction, customs, beliefs, values and attitudes will be shown.

But what qualities should the nurse have to know how to be?

  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • To have emotional capabilities

Knowing How to Be

Effective dialysis nursing care requires not only good communication, but also attentive and silent listening.  The practice of this “art” requires both empathic communication and knowing how to be when caring for the dialysis patient.

By practicing this, a more active, collaborative and self-responsible attitude will be seen on the part of the patient in the process of their treatment.

So, what qualities should the nurse have to know how to be?

  • Empathy
  • Introspection
  • Communication skills
  • Benevolence

This is amazing! By involving all three wisdoms you will see the benefits of both the patient and the nursing staff.

What is the purpose of the competency checklist? 

The checklist shows the skills within the nursing specialty, which in this case is dialysis.

Performing this check allows to know the effectiveness of the training. Since, it looks at the method. In this aspect, it also allows to emphasize the development of the nurse and to create a training system that allows her to improve.

What is the scale of competencies?

Example 1:

  • No experience
  • Needs training
  • Able to perform with supervision
  • Able to perform independently.

   Example 2:

  • Inexperienced
  • Limited experience
  • Experienced
  • Very experienced

Guide for the elaboration of a competency checklist

In order to do it in an organized way, it is recommended to make a division with these two elements:

  • Questions
  • Competency scale from 1 to 4



Working Configuration 1 2 3 4
Acute/Inpatient Dialysis        
Chronic/Outpatient dialysis



Home dialysis care

Pediatric Dialysis        
Pediatric dialysys nursing evaluation        
Loading experience        
Set up/start dialysis treatment 1 2 3 4
Bicarbonate dialysate        
Conductivity test        
Dialyzer priming        
Machine configuration and alarm  








Machine settings and alarm        
Vascular access preparation        
Fistula/vein grafting        
Blood sample collection        











Patient care 1 2 3 4
Patient Systems Assessment        
Volume status        
Vascular access function        
Arterial and venous pressures        
Blood flow rate        
Subjective response to treatment        
Anticoagulation management        
Ultrafiltration calculation        
Blood/product administration        
Mannitol administration        
Sequental ultrafiltration        
Documentation of dialysis treatment        


Patient managament 1 2 3 4
Air embolous        
Blood leakage        
Cardiopulmonary arrest        
Chest pain        
Inbalance syndrome        
Fluid overload        
Muscle cramps        
Pyogenic reaction        


In these four examples you can see in detail the Being, Doing and Being competencies of a dialysis nurse.


The checklist of dialysis nurses’ skills is of utmost importance, because it can provide in an objective way: learning opportunities and performance improvement both individually and as a team.

And by making this list, undoubtedly, a self-evaluation and reflection can be made for the improvement of the work as a nurse, because despite the difficulties and pressure, it will always be appropriate to be aware of the level that one is having at the time of caring for the patient.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.