Professionalism and the dialysis tech

That title my friends is not an oxymoron. 

It can be done and it can be done well.

I received a comment from Karen here.  She said this and I had been wanting to talk about it for awhile:

“However, I believe that dialysis techs should also ACT as professionals”

Karen is absolutely correct, to be treated like professionals we must act like one.  So what does acting like a professional look like?

Well, from my personal experience, I get far more respect when I don’t talk about my personal life and don’t have a bunch of facial piercings or casually mention how I got really wasted last weekend and made some bad decisions.  Yes, people all of these things have been mentioned within earshot on the floor in front of a dialysis patient.

Now, if you were a patient, would you want that person to be placing a fifteen gauge needle in your arm that is the gateway to a lifesaving procedure?  Um, no. 

So, we all have lives, we all go do things that resemble a life outside of work.  It’s all fine and dandy, just don’t bring it to work with you. 

There is also that epic battle of technicians who are not from this country and who tend to speak in their native tongue while on the floor in front of patients and other staff members who do not speak that language.  I know, for me, sometimes I wonder if they are talking about me.  Frankly, it is rude and some patients could be really sensitive to such things.  I think ethnic diversity is awesome, cultures can bring a nice variety to the clinic and helpful with non-English speaking patients.

It is however, not appropriate on the floor, it does nothing to solidify the bond that is needed with staff members.  If there is an emergency I like to know I can trust the person next to me, because in the end my name is going to be on that code report, my certification and my future nursing license is on the line.

Yes, our certifications are important, a action against it does not look good, will not get you that great job in that new city you want to live in.  Treat your certification like its your lifeline, like if you loose it, you loose your job…because now you will.

Not all states required dialysis techs to get Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) to maintain their state certification.  I think, however, this is extremely important.  We are part of a healthcare team and should act like it, just because you learned this three years ago doesn’t mean everything is still current. 

Dialysis changes just as fast as technology does.  Knowledge is power, being knowledgable about what you do for a living and showing you care, can show the patient you are there for more then just a paycheck.

The paycheck isn’t that good, folks, just so you know, love for what you do has to be involved.

My last advice is to get to know more then “just the arm”.  Sometimes we get into this habit of looking at the patients arm before we look at their face.  That is not a good way to go about it.  Sit with a patient, talk to them, ask them questions about their treatment.  They know their bodies better then we do, they know how what works, they can help you help themselves.

I can a lot of credit to dialysis patients, I give a lot of credit to patients who do self-care, self cannulation and take an active role in their healthcare. 

We can be active members in a person’s healthcare, we can become vital resources and a knowledge base for new dialysis patients, we just have to try and made an effort.

Any other suggestions?

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~ by Kim on October 15, 2008.

3 Responses to “Professionalism and the dialysis tech”

  1. Professionalism seems to be one of the biggest problems that we face in health care. Lack of it brings us all down.

    By the way, I’m diggin the new look.

  2. Tell it, girlfriend!!

    And I won’t talk about the particular ethnic group in the Bay Area that is frequently guilty of speaking their native language on the floor. I’m ashamed to say I have developed some rather negative opinions of that ethnic group for a variety of reasons.

  3. I only hear about inappropriate behavior from the tech’s from time to time, but never the PCT’s. We did have this one schmuck who used to like to distract the PCT’s when they were inserting needles, talking about his personal life and, to the staff’s credit, they told him to cut it out.

    I never let him touch me after the first incident.

    The language issue does bother me quite a bit. It basically tells the patient, “I have little or no respect for you, so I’m going to talk about whatever the hell I want while you suffer through another treatment, unable to understand me.”

    Ugh.

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