Nephrology is a varied and interesting specialty; the nephrologist is primarily responsible for patients with a range of renal pathologies, manages renal replacement therapy and be involved in renal transplantation.
Nephrologists are often also general physicians and will participate in the care of general medical patients as in as outpatients. Nephrologists often also participate in the management of acutely sick patients with acute renal failure in the ITU setting. In contrast there is also a significant element of chronic disease management, with chronic kidney disease, dialysis and transplantation. Nephrologists may care for patients over many years in contrast to some other hospital specialties where contact is brief.
As renal patients often have complex medical problems nephrologists can find themselves looking after people with non-renal problems simply because one of their issues is renal, this provides unparalleled exposure to a huge range of other specialties.
In essence nephrology is a combination of both cerebral and practical work, for this reason many nephrologists find it a rewarding and interesting career.
As nephrology is so varied many types different people can thrive within it, a good nephrologist will generally be:
- Hard working, nephrology is an intense and sometimes very busy specialty (this does vary from unit to unit). A good nephrologist is prepared to work as hard as necessary for the benefit of patients
- Good at practical procedures, these are all taught during training so a prior knowledge is not assumed but generally people who do not enjoy practical procedures may not enjoy nephrology training.
- An excellent communicator, as with all medical specialties communication skills are essential, a good nephrologist forms close professional relationships with patients and often their families over many years.
- Interested in physiology and immunology, these are the cornerstone of nephrology and nephrologists are often involved in teaching these areas to under/post graduates.
- Interested in research, either clinical or laboratory based, many nephrologists spend time developing a research interest.