Dialysis nurse: What are the responsibilities and duties

You’re likely to have more than one question about a dialysis nurse’s duties and responsibilities, such as: What does a dialysis nurse do all day?

Don’t worry, everything is covered in this article!

In this article, we will go over what dialysis nurses do in detail, including their duties, tasks, and even the most common concerns.

What is the dialysis nurse’s role during dialysis?

Dialysis nurses do an excellent job of overseeing patients’ treatments, whether peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.

They must perform a variety of duties and tasks during the course of patient care in order to provide quality care to patients who require treatment.

Assisting in treatment

The dialysis nurse should perform the following tasks as treatment progresses:

  • Taking and comparing vital signs
  • Making sure dialysis machines are in working order.
  • Making sure dialysis treatments are going well for patients
  • Creating nursing care plans. These plans should be updated and implemented as treatment progresses.
  • Monitoring the patient for adverse reactions during treatment.
  • Report any problems with dialysis treatments to the appropriate physician.
  • Handle episodes of nausea and vomiting that may occur during the patient’s treatment.
  • Weigh the patient before and after treatment.

Patient education

Teaching dialysis patients is very important. The nurse must understand the need to educate patients. Many patients come in scared, nervous and with a great sense of anxiety.

But that is where this important role of the dialysis nurse comes in, because it is the nurse who must guide them through this stressful process. Educational tasks include, for example, explaining how long dialysis will last, what to expect during dialysis, and clarifying any questions that arise is the responsibility and duty of the dialysis nurse.

Other main points that the dialysis nurse should learn are:

  • Teach patients to evaluate their dialysis access port for redness, drainage, or other signs of infection.
  • Teach patients and family members how to use their home dialysis machines (if they choose home dialysis therapy).
  • Inform patients about dialysis treatment options, as well as about proper nutrition and exercise.

Encouraging action

Dialysis treatment is a lengthy procedure for many patients. Unfortunately, many people feel discouraged or embittered because of frequent clinic visits, not to mention having to wait a long time for a kidney transplant, as in the case of peritoneal dialysis.

This is a really difficult situation for the patient, but the nurse’s role is also to encourage both the patient and their family. That means helping them to express their feelings. There is no doubt that this role is very rewarding in the long run.

It is worth mentioning that among the key skills that a dialysis nurse should possess are:

  • Excellent attitude towards the patient.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Analysis and problem solving.

What are major things the nurse should assess after dialysis?

  • Check the patient’s weight and note any differences.
  • Assess for complications.
  • Check for signs of bleeding and fistula status.


Peritoneal dialysis:

  • Excessive fluid loss can lead to hypovolemic shock or hypotension, while excessive fluid retention can lead to hypertension and edema.
  • Discomfort and pain.


  • Hypovolemic shock.
  • Dialysis imbalance syndrome.
  • Seizures.
  • Headache.
  • Disorientation.

What are some nursing concerns in dialysis?

The procedure of peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis can be challenging for dialysis nurses. It includes not only physical symptoms, but also emotional and social symptoms on the part of patients.

This is because there are needs and issues that arise that require intensive and very specific care for each patient. And as they say, every person is different! Certainly every patient is different.

The more deteriorated and complicated the patient’s condition, the more help is needed. For example, emotional deterioration is very common. Some patients are aggressive, depressed, anxious, and even resistant to treatment.

In this sense, this is a common concern for dialysis nurses. There may come a time when they don’t know how to proceed and how to help patients, as some of these cases may cross professional boundaries.

It should not be forgotten that nurses also have to deal with their own emotions due to their proximity and attachment to patients, since they live with them for a long time and establish close relationships.


In conclusion, the duties and responsibilities outlined in the article undoubtedly demonstrate the effort, dedication, and care they show toward patients. And of course, every person in this profession is worthy of admiration.

Despite the difficulties that dialysis nurses may encounter in their work, it is important to remember the most important thing: a nurse should always show compassion to patients and know how to deal with stressful and difficult situations.

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.