Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) Exam Review

The Certified Dialysis Nurse is a healthcare professional who has attained specialized education, along with meeting the certification requirements, to provide care to the dialysis patient. This includes monitoring the patient during dialysis and performing dialysis on the patient.


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Education is also a key part of the role of the Certified Dialysis Nurse and the patient is educated on their condition and the self-care and monitoring they can do on their own.

In order to become a Certified Dialysis Nurse, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse and have worked at least 2,000 hours in providing care to renal patients over the past 2 years. At least 15 continuing education hours should have been completed at the time of application.

CDE exams are scheduled in various cities and states throughout the country and are hosted by local chapters of the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA).

The CDE exam costs $250 the first time it is taken, but the price is reduced to $125 if it is taken a second time. ANNA members pay a discounted fee of $200 for the initial exam sitting and $100 if the CDE exam is repeated a second time.

Approximately one-half of the exam tests the RN’s knowledge of hemodialysis. The physiology of renal failure makes up approximately one-third of the exam, with concepts in peritoneal dialysis and renal transplant making up the rest of the CDE exam. The CDE exam contains 200 questions total.

The Certified Dialysis Nurse credential lasts for 3 years before renewal. In order to renew the certification, the applicant must have spent at least 50% of their employment in providing direct patient care to the nephrology patient over the past 3 years, to equal at least 1,000 hours. At least 30 continuing education hours with a focus on nephrology should have been completed, also. Applicants may opt to retake the certification exam instead of maintaining the required number of continuing education credits. The fee is $200 for ANNA members and $225 for non-members.

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Certified Dialysis Nurse Study Guide

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