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Dialysis Patient Care Technician.

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Program Details

Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota offers an online Dialysis Patient Care Technician certificate. The innovative online format allows working students the opportunity to earn a useful degree while still fulfilling current career and family obligations. The online program is comprised of the same courses as the traditional classroom, with courses to be taught through a virtual venue. Be aware the final course in the program, NUNA1420 Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide, is not available online, but is available through community/technical colleges throughout the U.S., and students should find local institutions to satisfy the required course.  

The Dialysis Patient Care Technician program provides students with the basic fundamental theoretical knowledge. Students completing the certificate would still require on-the-job clinical training upon employment at a dialysis facility.  Students of the certificate program will demonstrate the comprehensive knowledge of the vital role a Technician plays in a dialysis facility. The complex issues related to the  dialysis procedure (patient rights, regulatory agencies, blood-borne pathogens, infection control, weight calculation, modes of treatment, renal diet, patient/family education, documentation, communication, and medical problems related to dialysis) are a constant reminder of how important a 'second set of hands' for the Doctor can be in the healthcare industry. The 16 credit hour certification program is comprised of 5 intensive courses. The courses each cover a crucial part of the dialysis process and give the student an academic advantage when entering the entry-level position in a facility. A brief surmise of the required courses is:  

The Issues and Trends course covers the history of dialysis, terminology, state and federal regulations and guidelines governing hemodialysis. It also introduces resources for personal and career development, principles and legal aspects of documentation, communication, professionalism and patient rights. 

The Kidney Function and Failure course gives students the ability to demonstrate a knowledge of kidney anatomy, function, and failure. The role of a Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician is caring for patients with Chronic Kidney Disease requiring hemodialysis, while understanding renal anatomy, organs of the urinary system, components of the nephron and the causes and differences of each, fluid, chemicals and waste products that accumulate in the blood when kidneys fail, potential systems that are involved if kidney failure is left untreated, and hormones regulated by healthy kidneys.

The Principles of Hemodialysis course will include principles of osmosis, diffusion and ultrafiltration, the structure and function of various types of access sites used in hemodialysis, identify routine lab tests and collection techniques, pharmacology and medication administration as related to CKD with emphasis on the role of the Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician, principles of aseptic technique and CDC dialysis precautions. It will also cover the preparation, cannulation and use of internal access, and preparation and use of Central Venous Catheter, monitoring during hemodialysis treatment, discontinuing hemodialysis, and discharge of patient after hemodialysis treatment.

The Components of the Hemodialysis Delivery System course will include an overview of the hemodialysis delivery system including the machines, flow path of blood and dialysate through the components of the hemodialysis system, the extracorporeal circuit, the dialysate, the water room, overview of hemodialyzer reuse, monitors, alarms, and safety options.

The final course Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide:  NOTE: NUNA1420 is not available online, but is readily available through community/technical colleges throughout the U.S.  This course introduces concepts of basic human needs, health/illness continuum, and basic nursing skills. It is designed to prepare the student for entry level as a Nursing Assistant. In addition, the Home Health Aide component is designed to instruct students to apply basic nursing principles in caring for the client at home. This includes a mandatory 24 hour clinical component to be completed at a Long-Term Care facility. Upon successful completion of this course, the student is entitled to take the State Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Test Out. This test is required to be awarded a Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Certificate. This course meets the Federal OBRA and Minnesota Department of Health requirements.Prerequisites: Student must be able to successfully pass the Health Occupations Physical and State Background Study.

Accreditation & Licensing

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission


NOTE: the NUNA1420 Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide course is not available online, but is readily available through community/technical colleges throughout the U.S.