Is the job of a dialysis nurse stressful?

If you have this question, let me tell you that you have come to the right place. Because stress in dialysis nursing is the bread and butter of dialysis nurses to the point where their stress levels range from 68% to 79%. That’s completely insane, right?

What’s more, stress and burnout can have a detrimental effect on organizational performance and pose serious health and safety risks in the workplace.

Want to know more?

Then sit back and relax, because in this article, we’ll explain the most common causes, the negative impact on grooming, some strategies for coping with stress, and much more.

What is the most common stressor among dialysis nurses?

Stress is a well identified and well known problem within the nursing profession. This is because the working conditions they face are complex and demanding.

But why is that?

Well, I will explain in simple words some of the causes:

  • The workload is getting heavier and heavier.
  • Lack of resources.
  • Technical breakdowns of the machines.
  • Labor precariousness.
  • Confrontation with patients’ suffering and death.
  • Reduction of personnel.
  • Decision-making can also cause stress.
  • Lack of time to care for the patient.
  • Increasing number of dialysis patients and increasing shortage of qualified nurses.
  • Distress and uncertainty.

Negative effects

  • Psychic affectation.
  • Exhaustion or tiredness.
  • Lack of personal fulfillment.
  • Feeling of failure and low self-esteem.,

Burnout Syndrome

This syndrome affects psychosomatic, emotional and behavioral aspects. I explain each one in detail below:

  • Psychosomatic, it can affect chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, myalgia and hypertension, among others.
  • Emotionally, one may observe desires to abandon work, irritability, difficulty concentrating, decreased self-esteem, among others.
  • Behavioral, we find violent behavior, absenteeism, drug abuse, inability to relax and defensive symptoms that allude to emotional denial: irony, selective attention, displacement of feelings towards other situations or things.

It is necessary to mention that there is no clear data on how long this syndrome can last, but one of the causes is the number of weekly working hours.

Positive job characteristics

Although there is a long list of negatives, there are also positives to dialysis nursing, including the following:

  • Dialysis work is meaningful and adds constant knowledge.
  • It provides opportunities to do something for other people and gives them the freedom to do things at their own discretion.
  • There is value in the high levels of responsibility they assume.

Strategies to drain stress

Undoubtedly, it can be quite paradoxical that dialysis nursing causes stress because it is the profession that promotes patient care and self-care. Yet a neglect of self arises.

That is why it is necessary to emphasize the development of strategies to drain stress and thus to have improvements. Some of these strategies are described below:

  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of each dialysis nurse. This in order to know what tasks may correspond to some and not to others. And thus avoid overloading a team member.
  • Offer help on a daily basis and without being asked for it.
  • Know when to reward the efforts of the nursing staff.
  • Establish physical checks (blood pressure checks, blood tests, etc.). Doing this helps to be aware of who needs more attention from the nursing staff.

Social support

Social support is very important as it has a great emotional, evaluative, informational and instrumental influence.

But what does emotional support include?

  • Effective participation.
  • Empathy.
  • Sympathy.
  • Respect

Meanwhile, what should the evaluation support have?

  • Express shared opinions.
  • Provide relevant information for self-assessment.

On the other hand, what does the informative support provide?

It is about providing the necessary information to perform the work.

Finally, what includes instrumental support?

All tangible help.

Undoubtedly, social support can be a buffer against different stressors, e.g. workload, intense personal relationships with patients and repeated exposure to the death of the patient. Therefore, it is necessary to receive support from supervisors, co-workers, family and friends to drain stress.


By way of conclusion, while it is true that each person channels stress in a certain way. Even so, we must always remember that feedback is important and each dialysis nurse has his or her own weaknesses and virtues; but even though they are different, they are all important and, therefore, we must take care of their emotional and physical health.


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.