NephroPlus launching Dialysis Academy

"How would you treat someone who gets cramps during dialysis?", I asked the twenty-something technician (with about three years of experience in dialysis) across the table. I was interviewing him for the post of a dialysis technician for a NephroPlus center.

Cramps are a very commonly faced symptom on dialysis. It happens when fluid is either removed at too fast a rate or if fluid is removed even after the dry weight has been reached. Cramps can also occur if the sodium level falls too low. Any technician or nurse who has spent even a few days at a dialysis center would know that cramps has to be treated by stopping the UF and possibly infusing some saline to compensate for the excess fluid removed.

"Ummm....", he hesitated. "Haven't you come across a patient who had cramps?", I asked him. He nodded his head. "Then what would you do?", I pestered.

"We will infuse some bleach", he blurted!

"Bleach?", I couldn't believe I had heard that! I instantly thanked my stars that I never dialyzed at a unit where this guy was there. If bleach was infused, the patient would be dead!

I rejected him immediately.

This is only one of many such incidents I can recount from my interviews with dialysis technicians and nurses. The level of knowledge is so pathetic that I shudder to think how these people are manning dialysis units across the country where so many lives are at stake. We go to these units trusting these people completely. We surrender our lives to them without a question. The question is - do these people deserve our trust?

At NephroPlus, Vikram, Sandeep and I grimly discussed the scenario. The simple truth was this - good talent is just not available. How then will we expand as planned? How can we run our units without qualified and trained nurses and technicians? One thing was sure - we would not let these people anywhere close to our units!

We would have to train and ready people ourselves. This was the only solution.

We just released an ad this morning inviting applications to a two year diploma course which will include an examination from a very reputed certification agency for dialysis technicians and nurses from the US. I am personally heading this initiative. This will be one of my main focus areas at NephroPlus.

The details of the program can be found here.