Nephrology nursing involves both preventing disease and assessing the health needs of patients and families. Care spans the life cycle and involves patients who are experiencing the real or threatened impact of acute or chronic kidney failure. These patients need well-educated, highly skilled, motivated registered nurses. Technological and educational advances make it a dynamic field, rich with a wide variety of career opportunities for a new graduate or an experienced practitioner.

Nephrology has been recognized as a specialty for over 35 years. In 1973, treatment for end stage kidney disease by hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or transplantation was funded by the federal government and became more readily available.Since then, the role of the nephrology nurse has greatly expanded and practice boundaries broadened.

Knowledge Base
Nephrology nursing practice requires a common knowledge base to care for pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients with kidney disease. To provide optimum care tailored to each patient’s needs, specialized areas of nephrology nursing have evolved, along with nurses’ knowledge and skills.

These skills primarily relate to modalities of therapy. These include Hemodialysis

  • Hemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Transplantation
  • Continuous renal replacement therapy

Nephrology nursing practice overlaps the boundaries of other specialty areas. For example, transplant nurses now care for patients who receive multi-organ transplants. This diversity is one of the most appealing aspects to practitioners.

Nurses practicing in all areas of nephrology find exceptional opportunities and rewards. Constant improvements in technology, new and superior medications, and advances in patient care challenge the mind. New career paths open continuously. Learning never ends.

Roles of the Nephrology Nurse
Staff nurse, hospital or outpatient settingsHemodialysis/peritoneal dialysis nurse

  • Hemodialysis/peritoneal dialysis nurse
  • Nurse manager
  • Transplant coordinator
  • Organ recovery coordinator
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse researcher
  • Nurse educator
  • Opportunities

Nephrology nursing positions are available in dialysis clinics, hospitals, physician practices, transplant programs, and many other settings.
- Annanurse.org