Ask nephrology nurses about the care in their hemodialysis units and they will probably say that high quality care is provided. This perception may reflect a genuine pride in their own and their colleagues' hemodialysis services, however, the meaning of high quality dialysis care remains unclear. Quality is often framed in terms of the high percentage of patients receiving a Kt/V of greater than 1.2 or 1.4. The unfortunate inference here is that high quality hemodialysis care is defined as the waste clearing service of the urea molecule. Defining quality in this narrow way conflicts with the caring and compassionate nursing ethic. Furthermore, it places a high value on a single mathematically derived formula that ignores many other indicators of quality dialysis care. In this article, the authors examine some historical, political, and technical features of Kt/V and use the metaphor of a hangover to illustrate the overuse of Kt/V, arguing that nurses have embraced Kt/V at the expense of other core elements of dialysis nursing care.
Field of Research
110312 Nephrology and Urology
Socio Economic Objective
920199 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) not elsewhere classified
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