What is the job of a nephrologist

job of a nephrologist

Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine that focuses on treating and managing kidney and renal disorders. This makes the job of a nephrologist to be an expert in assessing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic diseases or complaints regarding one’s kidneys. Some of the common renal disorders dealt with by them include:

  • Fluid retention, 
  • mineral imbalances, 
  • Renal cancer, 
  • hydronephrosis, 
  • glomerulonephritis, 
  • kidney transplants, 
  • kidney dialysis,
  • urinary tract infections, 
  • recurring kidney stones etc
  • Amyloidosis is the buildup of abnormal proteins in different organs (including the kidneys)
  • Congenital kidney malformations
  • Diabetic nephropathy, the number one cause of kidney disease
  • Lupus nephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys caused by the autoimmune disease lupus
  • Nephrotic syndrome is a disorder that causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine
  • Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder in which clusters of cysts develop within the kidneys

Duties of a nephrologist

Believe it or not, our kidneys are one of the most important organs of the human body. Their primary job is to act as a filter and wash out all the waste from our bodies and prevent any buildups of extra fluids. Given the importance of this organ, the duties of a nephrologist are crucial and hence demand a lot of attention and discipline. Some of these duties include:

  • Listening to patients’ concerns and complaints
  • Interact with patients as well as taking a detailed case history
  • Order necessary tests and then analyze these test results
  • Determine an appropriate plan to treat as well as manage the condition.
  • Referring patients to surgeons (if required)
  • Prescribe necessary medication to treat the patient’s condition as well as monitoring the overall effectiveness of these medicines
  • Plan diet and lifestyle changes for patients if required as well as motivating them to incorporate these changes.
  • Moreover, nephrologist must also recommend dialysis (if required)
  • Manage patient’s care before and after the dialysis or other kidney-related surgery to maximize the chances of making a full recovery
  • Apart from treating patients the job of a nephrologist also incluide attending training, seminars, workshops, as well as webinars to stay updated with the latest breakthrough and developments.
  • Working in liaison with other medical professionals etc.

Skills required for the job of a nephrologist

To be a successful nephrologist, you need to have adequate experience working with patients in the field. Apart from this, one must also possess the following skills

  • Have a passion for the task as well as the determinination to put patient’s needs above all.
  • Possess a caring, empathic, and compassionate personality
  • The desire to help others as well as improve their healthcare
  • Critical thinking along with problem-solving skills
  • Be a good listener
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Commitment to delivering high-quality care
  • Great verbal as well as non-verbal communication skills
  • Apart from communication you must also have strong organizational skills
  • The ability to multi-task as well as work well with other medical professionals
  • The ability to stay calm under pressure and in stressful situations
  • Additionally you must be able to react quickly and effectively in stressful times

Educational Requirements:

To become a successful nephrologist, an individual must:

  • Get a medical doctor’s degree.
  • Finish a two-year-long residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education
  • Obtain certification in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal medicine
  • Moreover you must also complete a three-year-long fellowship in nephrology. Upon finishing the fellowship, aspiring nephrologists appear for an examination accredited by the National Examination.
  • Clear the exam with a minimum score of 75% in order to obtain a license to practice nephrology in the United States.

Subspecialties of a nephrologist

Given the nature of the job and as well as the vast array of responsibilities it comes with, nephrologists now have the choice to specialize in a narrower field of sub-practice. Some of the commonly chosen subspecialties by nephrologists include:

  • Pediatric nephrology
  • Critical care nephrology
  • Onconephrology
  • Kidney dialysis and kidney transplantation
  • Interventional nephrology 

Work schedule:

job of a nephrologist

Nephrologists ideally work in hospitals, but many also maintain their private practice.

As far as work schedule is concerned, the job of a nephrologist demands long working hours along with a fairly irregular schedule since they have to care for critically ill patients. 


Salary and Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow by 22% within the next seven years. However, as far as the salary goes currently, a nephrologist can expect to earn an average annual income of approximately $212,000

Over 15% of the population in the United States is reported to have chronic kidney disease. As a result, the need for qualified nephrologists keeps on growing. Although training for the job of a nephrologist is fairly expensive, the profession tends to have a bright future.

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