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Interest in Nephrology Careers Waning in the United States

Students may view the specialty as too complex and uninteresting

FRIDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer and fewer U.S. medical students pursue a career in nephrology each year, despite the growing rates of Americans who have kidney disease or are on dialysis, according to a review published in the May issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Mark G. Parker, M.D., of the Maine Medical Center in Portland, and colleagues reviewed trends in nephrology fellowships to highlight the declining interest in nephrology in the United States and discuss possible ways to increase that interest.

The researchers report that nephrology was one of two internal medicine subspecialties that attracted fewer U.S. medical graduates (USMGs) in 2009 than in 2002, even though there was an increase in the number of available fellowship positions. The personal and career goals of today's USMGs differ from those of their predecessors, the authors write, and many students reported receiving little exposure to nephrology in clinical rotations; they perceive the specialty as overly complex, not interesting, and lacking in professional opportunity.

"Efforts to improve the educational continuum in nephrology and enhance mentorship are essential to restoring interest in nephrology for USMGs, maintaining its appeal among international medical graduates, and developing a work force sufficient to meet future demand for renal care," the authors write.

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