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Hemodialysis Technician vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

Hemodialysis Technician vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

Are you interested in a career in the healthcare field but unsure which path to take? Two popular options to consider are becoming a Hemodialysis Technician or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). While both roles involve providing care to patients, there are several key differences between these two professions. In this blog post, we will explore the responsibilities, education and training requirements, career outlook, and salary potential for Hemodialysis Technicians and LVNs. By the end, you will have a better understanding of which career path may be the right fit for you.

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Introduction

The healthcare industry offers a wide range of job opportunities, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right path. Hemodialysis Technicians and LVNs are two roles that are in high demand and provide rewarding careers. Both professions involve working closely with patients, but the specific responsibilities and training requirements for each job are distinct.

What is a Hemodialysis Technician and Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Hemodialysis Technician:

A Hemodialysis Technician, also known as a Dialysis Technician, is responsible for operating and maintaining dialysis machines. These machines are used to remove waste and excess fluids from patients with kidney disease or kidney failure. Hemodialysis Technicians work under the supervision of registered nurses and are trained to monitor patients during dialysis treatments, troubleshoot equipment issues, and maintain patient records.

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

A Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is a healthcare professional who provides basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. LVNs can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Their duties may include administering medications, monitoring patient vital signs, assisting with patient hygiene, and providing emotional support to patients and their families.

Difference between a Hemodialysis Technician and Licensed Vocational Nurse

While both Hemodialysis Technicians and LVNs work in the healthcare field, there are several key differences between these two professions:

Scope of Practice:

  • Hemodialysis Technicians primarily focus on operating dialysis machines and providing direct care to patients during dialysis treatments.
  • LVNs have a broader scope of practice and can perform a wider range of nursing tasks, such as administering medications and providing wound care.

Supervision:

  • Hemodialysis Technicians work under the supervision of registered nurses, who provide guidance and oversight.
  • LVNs also work under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians, but they have more autonomy in their day-to-day tasks compared to Hemodialysis Technicians.

Patient Population:

  • Hemodialysis Technicians primarily work with patients who have kidney disease or kidney failure and require regular dialysis treatments.
  • LVNs can work with patients of all ages and with various medical conditions, depending on the healthcare setting they are employed in.

Work Environment:

  • Hemodialysis Technicians typically work in dialysis centers or hospitals that offer dialysis services.
  • LVNs have more flexibility in terms of work settings and may work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, or even in patients' homes.

Hemodialysis Technician vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Job Description

Hemodialysis Technician:

The job description of a Hemodialysis Technician includes:

  • Setting up and operating dialysis machines.
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs during dialysis treatments.
  • Administering local anesthetics and inserting needles into patients' blood vessels.
  • Educating patients on dialysis treatment and helping them manage their kidney disease.
  • Documenting treatment data and reporting any changes in patients' condition to the supervising nurse.

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

The job description of an LVN includes:

  • Administering medications as prescribed by physicians.
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and reporting any changes to the supervising nurse or physician.
  • Assisting with patient assessments and collecting samples for laboratory testing.
  • Providing wound care and dressing changes.
  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.

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Hemodialysis Technician vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Education and Training

Hemodialysis Technician:

To become a Hemodialysis Technician, you typically need to:

  • Complete a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Complete a hemodialysis technician training program, which can range from a few months to a year in length.
  • Obtain certification as a Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) through an accredited organization, such as the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

To become an LVN, you typically need to:

  • Complete a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Complete a state-approved vocational nursing program, which usually takes about 1-2 years to complete.
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed as an LVN.

Hemodialysis Technician vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Career Outlook and Salary

Hemodialysis Technician:

The career outlook for Hemodialysis Technicians is promising. As the population ages and the prevalence of chronic kidney disease continues to rise, the demand for dialysis services is expected to increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of Hemodialysis Technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

In terms of salary, Hemodialysis Technicians earn a median annual wage of $41,430, according to the BLS as of May 2020. The top 10 percent of earners in this field make more than $63,690 per year.

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

The career outlook for LVNs is also promising. The BLS projects a 9 percent growth in employment for LVNs from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for healthcare services is expected to increase due to the aging population and the prevalence of chronic diseases.

In terms of salary, LVNs earn a median annual wage of $47,480, according to the BLS as of May 2020. The top 10 percent of earners in this field make more than $65,700 per year.

Final Thoughts

Both Hemodialysis Technicians and Licensed Vocational Nurses play important roles in the healthcare field and provide essential care to patients. If you are interested in a more specialized role focused on dialysis treatment and kidney disease, becoming a Hemodialysis Technician may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a broader scope of practice and the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and medical conditions, pursuing a career as an LVN may be a better fit.

Ultimately, the decision between these two professions depends on your interests, career goals, and personal preferences. Take the time to research each role, consider your strengths and interests, and reach out to professionals in the field to gain a better understanding of what each job entails. With the right education and training, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the healthcare field as either a Hemodialysis Technician or a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

Discover Dreambound's program accessibility across various locations. For detailed insights into the two vocations, their requirements, and joining procedures, explore the following blogs:

Stephanie Dayak
Written by
Stephanie Dayak

Stephanie Dayak is the go-to person for everything related to automation and integrations at Dreambound. As a Certified Tax Technician turned tech whiz, her sharp eye for detail and passion for efficiency become evident in every project she undertakes. When not solving tech puzzles, she's out exploring the local food scene, cozying up with her dogs, or plugged into a thought-provoking podcast. She's an ardent believer in mixing fun with functionality!

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