Today is World Kidney Day. This is a special day for individuals burdened by kidney disease and their caretakers. World Kidney Day first began in March 2006. Although the study of kidney disease dates back many centuries, nephrology was not recognized as a discrete subspecialty until the mid-1940s.
Currently, many countries, including the United States, are facing a workforce shortage in this field of medicine. This will lead to fewer physicians caring for patients with chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, and kidney transplants.
Let’s take this moment to inspire young students to explore our field of medicine. Renal medicine has:
1. Excitement: Managing acute issues like hyperkalemia, acid-base disorders, hypertensive crisis, and acute rejection in the kidney transplant.
2. Novelty: Transplant immunology is growing rapidly, and new agents are coming to the surface to make the field more and more exciting. The fact that dialysis machines may soon be portable is amazing. Organs are even being developed and created via stem cells.
3. Variety: From glomerular diseases to dialysis, electrolyte disorders to hypertension management, and acute kidney injury to complex rapidly progressive vasculitis, nephrology has something for everyone.
4. Future: Interventional nephrology, geriatric nephrology, onco-nephrology, transplantation, and other special fields, something everyone can master in this exciting specialty.
5. Mind boggling: Always makes you think! The “thinkers” as the other colleagues refer to us as. Even Dr. Gregory House of the television series is marketed as a nephrologist!
6. Empathy: As we assist patients through some their lives greatest challenges, nephrologists are kindhearted and compassionate individuals.
We have gathered below a few comments from nephrologists about what inspired them to choose nephrology, and we invite all nephrologists to share why they chose this field of medicine. Please respond with your comments.
Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD
eAJKD Blog Editor
Dr. Matt Sparks, eAJKD advisory board member: Nephrology to me was the only remaining subspecialty in internal medicine that took care of patients throughout so many diverse time courses of life. First, nephrologists help manage a chronic illness with many covariables that affect the long term outcome. Second, we can provide a life-sustaining service for patients with single organ failure in renal replacement therapy or kidney transplantation. Lastly, nephrologists help uncover unique and difficult diagnoses in patients with renal failure and fluid/electrolyte disorders. Ultimately, I made the decision to enter nephrology after exposure to mentors with true passion for the field.
Dr. Richard Barnett: A-B, fluid/lyte disorders, especially in the critical care units.
Dr. Mala Sachdeva: Nephrology is a fascinating field. It is fun and interesting and I never get bored of it! It encompasses every organ system and incorporates a whole slew of medicine. There is wide variety in this field and I enjoy taking care of patients ranging from chronic kidney disease to dialysis to transplantation. Happy World Kidney Day!
Dr. James Chevalier: I had to pick a specialty that interested me enough to keep me enjoying going to work day after day.
Dr. Abdulla Salahudeen: I chose nephrology because I could do something for my patients, and nephrology is intellectually rewarding from all aspects.
Dr. Michael Gitman: I did a nephrology rotation and was motivated by an incredibly knowledgeable attending.
Dr. Sidharth Sethi, eAJKD advisory board member: During my residency days in Pediatrics, there were just a couple of Pediatric Nephrologists in our country, and none in our Institute. All our Pediatric and Neonatal patients, would be seen by us and Adult Nephrologists too. I was already interested in the renal hemodynamics and tubular functions I used to read and enjoy working up patients with tubular disorders. There was a huge need for Pediatric Nephrology specialty in our country. Though still there are just a few Pediatric Nephrologists in our country (one per state!), we are trying our best to provide the services to these patients. In such a huge nation, children with ESRD mostly die and rarely get transplanted. Even the best of the transplant centres in the country, transplant few children every month. This World Kidney Day, I would like to thank the AJKD team for helping spread awareness of Childhood renal disorders to the population.