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Keywords:

  • Training;
  • certification examination;
  • end-stage renal failure;
  • hemodialysis;
  • peritoneal dialysis;
  • home hemodialysis

Abstract

There is variable emphasis on dialysis-specific training among US nephrology fellowship programs. Our study objective was to determine the association between nephrology training experience and subsequent clinical practice. We conducted a national survey of clinical nephrologists using a fax-back survey distributed between March 8, 2010 and April 30, 2010 (N = 629). The survey assessed the time distribution of clinical practice, self-assessment of preparedness to provide care for dialysis patients at the time of certification examination, distribution of dialysis modality among patients, and nephrologists' choice of dialysis modality for themselves if their kidneys failed. While respondents spent 28% of their time caring for dialysis patients, 38% recalled not feeling very well prepared to care for dialysis patients when taking the nephrology certification examination. Sixteen percent obtained additional dialysis training after fellowship completion. Only 8% of US dialysis patients use home dialysis; physicians very well prepared to care for dialysis patients at the time of certification or who obtained additional dialysis training were significantly more likely to provide care to home peritoneal dialysis patients. Even though 92% of US dialysis patients receive thrice weekly in-center hemodialysis, only 6% of nephrologists selected this for themselves; selection of therapy for self was associated with dialysis modalities used by their patients. Nephrology training programs need to ensure that all trainees are very well prepared to care for dialysis patients, as this is central to nephrology practice. Utilization of dialysis therapies other than standard hemodialysis is dependent, in part, on training experience.