One unique change occurred in the early days of dialysis: nurses were empowered to fully administer dialysis treatments.
Up until then, nurses were not generally permitted to start intravenous infusions or administer blood transfusions in most teaching hospitals. And though nurses would monitor patients during dialysis, the procedure itself was always initiated by a physician.
However just months after the first patients began treatment, doctors recognized that the nurses were capable of carrying out the dialyses themselves as well as starting infusions and transfusions. From then on, nurses have been the primary provider of patient treatments.
Watch our oral history videos to hear about our history directly from some of the first dialysis nurses: JoAnn Albers, Connie Anderson and Marcia Clark.