AAKP is celebrating National Dialysis Technician Recognition Week October 12 – 18, 2020. Let’s learn more about the types of dialysis technicians, how they are educated to better help you throughout your care and how you can celebrate this week with YOUR special dialysis technician. Kidney Disease by the Numbers:
- Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in adults
- More than 40 million Americans are living with kidney disease
- More than 700,000 Americans have kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live
- Approximately 850 million people worldwide have kidney disease
- An estimated 35% of post-COVID patients will develop acute kidney disease
Hemodialysis is the far more common type of dialysis—about 90% of all dialysis patients. During this process, as a patient, you likely got to know your dialysis technician as the individual who spends a great deal of time with you before, during and after each treatment.
There are two types of technicians in your dialysis clinic: the Biomedical Nephrology Technologist (BNT) is the individual responsible for maintaining the equipment used during your dialysis treatment. A well-functioning dialysis machine is a key component of a successful dialysis treatment. BNTs have specific training on the hemodialysis machines and water treatment and often have national certification that validates their grasp of a specific body of knowledge and best practices.
The Clinical Nephrology Technician (CNT) is the individual who stands watch over your treatment to ensure it stays on track. Your CNT knows how to set the dialysis machine to meet the prescription your nephrologist has provided, mix the dialysate and ensure the water has been properly treated. The CNT is constantly monitoring treatments, recording your health information every 30 minutes and double and triple checking the safety measures during your treatment. If there is a concern, the CNT will notify a nurse to further assess the treatment. Even if you fall asleep during dialysis, your CNT remains on full alert.
Most in-center hemodialysis patients receive treatments at least three times a week for at least four hours a day. Working with the same CNT means that s/he learns what best works for your care. That means anomalies in your treatment can be spotted easily. Your CNT can see changes that indicate you need further assistance from other members of your health care team – and can make sure you get that care.
Your CNT knows that compassion is often the best medicine. Kidney disease is a chronic battle that touches many aspects of your life. Your CNT has seen the worst aspects of kidney disease and how it can impact a patient physically, emotionally and psychologically. Your CNT knows how to listen, understand and validate your concerns – all designed to help you have a better treatment.
Since 2012, CNTs are federally mandated to earn a nationally recognized dialysis technician certification. Your CNT may have one of the following set of initials after their name: CHT, CCHT, CNCT, CCHT-A are some of the more common certification designations. To earn the certification, a CNT must have a certain number of hours in training and successfully complete a comprehensive multiple-choice question exam. Every three years, your CNT must be re-certified every 3 or 4 years by completing at least 30 hours of continuing education directly related to dialysis technology. Technicians who do not re-certify are no longer allowed to work in a dialysis unit. This year, both CNTs and BNTs have worked long and hard to ensure that both current and new dialysis patients receive the life-sustaining treatment. With the addition of clinics for patients with Covid-19, many technicians/technologists have worked longer hours and in perilous situations as they have risen to the challenges the pandemic has created.
National Dialysis Technician Recognition Week is a great time to give thanks for those special technicians in your dialysis unit. Here are some ideas of how you can show your gratitude:
- Download a special certificate for you to complete and present to your dialysis technician. Just click on Certificate for Patients – it is ready for printing and signing.
- Find out about which certification they hold – they worked hard for it and would enjoy sharing with you what they learned!
- Ask if they are a member of the National Association of Nephrology Technicians/Technologists (NANT) – some technicians don’t yet know about how NANT can help them. It’s easy to join – just go to www.DialysisTech.NET to learn more about it. NANT promotes education and advances the professional role of the multidisciplinary team in delivering the highest quality of care to the CKD patient. It provides educational opportunities, represents the nephrology technology professionals in the regulatory and legislative arena, encourages the development of nephrology professionals in leadership roles, and achieves recognition for the contribution of the nephrology technology practitioners to the total care of the CKD patient. New this year – basic membership is now free!
- Give them a shout-out on Twitter. Use one of these hashtags: #LoveMyNCTWeek / #LoveMyNBTWeek / #LoveMyDialysisTechWeek – let everyone know how happy you are that they help you keep healthy.
Want to know more? Check out www.DialysisTech.NET to see all that NANT offers dialysis technicians. NANT supports all dialysis technicians as a vital part of YOUR healthcare team.