News Ticker

A Love Letter From Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome

This is a very creative way to teach students! See what this clinical instructor did!

Rachael asked her clinical instructor, Kim Jenkins “What is dialysis disequilibrium syndrome?”

Kim replied “I want you to look it up…and then write me a Love Letter!”


Dear Professor Jenkins,

I have been on dialysis for quite some time now. You may not know me, but my name is dialysis disequilibrium syndrome. I am very rare, and if you are lucky, I can give you some very personalized self limiting symptoms just for you.

A Love Letter

Let me tell you about my type. I like older men and women, but prefer them in a severe metabolic acidotic state. If they have chronic kidney disease or some condition that increases their permeability, or their blood brain barrier- sign me up!

First, I let the hemodialysis do the work for me by removing wastes and lowering plasma osmolality-then I come in. I start by creating a transient osmotic gradient to promote water movement into the cells.

Then the fun part starts- I go to the brain, where the water shift causes cerebral edema and my favorite- acute neurologic dysfunction.  If you’re lucky, I’ll leave you with a headache, nausea, blurred vision, and even asterixis. Maybe I’ll even leave you with muscle cramps and anorexia.

If you decline my love, it is OK. As long as dialysis is around- I will never be alone.



Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome


Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author “Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job..and your next!” 

Come visit me at Ask Nurse Beth  career column at for all kinds of  entertaining and informative career questions and answers, and to submit your own question :) 





About Beth Hawkes (146 Articles)
Nice to meet you! I'm a Nursing Professional Development Specialist in acute care, a writer, speaker and career columnist.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: