Career Interest and Perceptions of Nephrology: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Survey of Internal Medicine Residents.

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BACKGROUND: Interest in nephrology careers among internal medicine residents in the United States is declining. Our objective was to assess the impact of the presence of a nephrology fellowship training program on perceptions and career interest in nephrology among internal medicine residents. A secondary objective was to identify commonly endorsed negative perceptions of nephrology among internal medicine residents.

METHODS: This was a repeated cross-sectional survey of internal medicine residents before (Group 1) and 3 years after (Group 2) the establishment of nephrology fellowship programs at two institutions. The primary outcome was the percentage of residents indicating nephrology as a career interest in Group 1 vs. Group 2. Secondary outcomes included the frequency that residents agreed with negative statements about nephrology.

RESULTS: 131 (80.9%) of 162 residents completed the survey. 19 (14.8%) residents indicated interest in a nephrology career, with 8 (6.3%) indicating nephrology as their first choice. There was no difference in career interest in nephrology between residents who were exposed to nephrology fellows during residency training (Group 2) and residents who were not (Group 1). The most commonly endorsed negative perceptions of nephrology were: nephrology fellows have long hours/burdensome call (36 [28.1%] of residents agreed or strongly agreed), practicing nephrologists must take frequent/difficult call (35 [27.6%] agreed or strongly agreed), and nephrology has few opportunities for procedures (35 [27.3%] agreed or strongly agreed). More residents in Group 2 agreed that nephrology is poorly paid (8.9% in Group 1 vs. 20.8% in Group 2, P = 0.04), whereas more residents in Group 1 agreed that nephrologists must take frequent/difficult call (40.0% in Group 1 vs. 18.1% in Group 2, P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The initiation of a nephrology fellowship program was not associated with an increase in internal medicine residents' interest in nephrology careers. Residents endorsed several negative perceptions of nephrology, which may affect career choice.





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Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Faculty

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