Competence means you understand and can safely do all of your job tasks. If you don’t know why a machine alarm is going off, can’t cannulate an AV fistula, or are not able to deal with a water problem or other emergency, you have work to do to improve your competence. Reading the policy and procedure manuals can help you get up to speed on what you’re missing. Your supervisor or medical director can help you, too. Your patients put their lives in your hands. You need to be well-trained in the skills you’ll use on the job to earn their trust and feel good about what you do.

Competence is also about learning more. A professional needs to keep up-to-date. Take time to stay current on the latest advances in caring for people with kidney failure. Going to meetings or reading journal articles will take up some of your free time—or even cost you some money—but these activities also let you network, get you more excited about your work, and help you move up in the ranks in the future.