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Abstract: PO1386

Internal Medicine Residents' Perceptions of Nephrology as a Career: A Focus Group Study

Session Information

Category: Educational Research

  • 800 Educational Research

Authors

  • Beck, Natalie, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Furgeson, Seth B., University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Chonchol, Michel, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Kendrick, Jessica B., University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, United States
Background

The interest in nephrology as a career has declined dramatically over the past several years. Only 62% of nephrology fellowship positions are filled for the upcoming 2020 appointment year. The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions, attitudes, motivators and barriers to a career in nephrology among internal medicine residents.

Methods

Focus groups of internal medicine residents (N=25) from the University of Colorado were performed. Questions were aimed at exploring perceptions, attitudes, and barriers to a career in nephrology and ways to increase interest in nephrology. All focus groups were conducted on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus. Focus groups were recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to identify key concepts and themes.

Results

Residents’ described many barriers to a career in nephrology including lack of exposure, lack of advances in the field, low monetary compensation, too complex, lack of role models/mentors and low prestige/non-competitive. Most residents had no exposure to outpatient nephrology. Lack of new therapeutics was a significant deterrent to nephrology. Nephrology teaching in medical school was described as not clinically relevant and too complicated. Several residents felt they were not smart enough for nephrology. Only 3 residents had a role model within nephrology. Residents used the word “stigmatized” to describe nephrology and discussed how low prestige decreases their interest in a field. Participants expressed suggestions to increase interest in nephrology through earlier and more outpatient nephrology exposure, enhanced interactions with nephrologists and research and advancements in the field.

Conclusion

Residents’ identified several modifiable barriers to a career in nephrology. Changing how nephrology is taught in medical school, enhancing interactions with nephrologists through increased exposure and highlighting research and advancements in nephrology may change the perception of nephrology and increase the number of residents entering the field.

Funding

  • Other NIH Support