Working as a physician

Choosing to specialise in a particular field of medicine is not an easy decision to make. To make the professional life of a physician rewarding, a variety of factors have to be considered: the complexity and importance of the specialty, the professional prestige one can gain and, just as important, the opportunities for employment and working conditions in that particular specialty.

Nephrology is one field of medicine which favourably ticks all those boxes. This is why we want to present relevant information to intelligent and motivated physicians in order to help them choose this important field to practice.

Which are the main reasons why a physician should choose to specialize in Nephrology?

Professional Status

Nephrology has evolved over the last 60 years to become a major medical specialty, due to the extremely important roles played by the kidneys in the human body and the involvement of these organs in many acute conditions and systemic diseases which are not primary kidney diseases (e.g. autoimmune diseases, haematologic diseases).
Nephrologists are highly valued in all hospitals because they are experts in electrolyte disorders management acid-base metabolism, arterial hypertension, auto-immune and metabolic diseases. They are often consulted by other physicians to answer questions which couldn’t be answered by the methods and knowledge of other medical specialities.

The work itself

The work of the Nephrologist encompasses a wide range of clinical treatments. There are not as many chances in other fields of medicine to deal with so many body processes: production of hormones, blood pressure management, anaemia control, maintenance of bone density, and keeping fluid and electrolytes in balance. It is often not a simple work, since a Nephrologist requires strong knowledge in Internal Medicine, but probably this is why many physicians are attracted to it.
Kidney disease can cause many complications and have negative effects along its progression, including life-threatening conditions. A trained Nephrologist can treat both acute and chronic kidney insufficiency, thus preventing or slowing their progression and improving the quality of life of renal patients. This means that the Nephrologist can safely navigate patients towards dialysis or kidney transplant, the only treatment options for end stage kidney disease.

Patient-centred care

Successful management of kidney disease and kidney failure is impossible without a strong engagement of patients. Good communication skills are essential to liaise effectively with patients and relatives; a willingness to interact, gain their trust and commitment. Such social skills and emotional intelligence are greatly developed during a career in Nephrology.

Scientific activity

Nephrology is an area where many scientific discoveries are being made and still need to be made. This is why most physicians can easily participate to scientific activities and are encouraged to publish and present their work, thus making it available for their peers.

Working conditions

Working in a Nephrology department or a dialysis unit usually means a lower exposure of physicians to health hazards (e.g. viral contamination, radiation, chemicals) compared to other medical specialities. Another advantage refers to the work schedules which are usually consistent and well organised, an important thing to know when somebody has or plans on having a family.

One of the career options many physicians, mainly Nephrologists, choose is dialysis work. It is a field of many advantages that can fit very well to a certain period of professional life or as a long-term career choice.

Which are the main reasons why a physician could choose dialysis as a field of practice?

The dialysis work

The work itself is very important, since it can contribute so much to increasing the quality of life of ESRD patients and their life expectancy. Nevertheless, compared to other areas of medical practice, dialysis work is less stressful, involving usually standard treatment procedures and less exposure to situations where patients are in life-threatening situations. This also allows physicians to have more time to communicate with their patients and really focus on managing their disease, thus making a bigger impact in the direction of improving their well-being.

Personal safety

Fresenius Medical Care dialysis units are highly harmonised work environments, based on our architectural guidelines. There are strict procedures for hygiene and infection control, making a dialysis unit a safe and pleasant work environment.

Work-life balance

By the usually standardised workflows and predictive schedules of a dialysis unit, a physician can gain advantages on the work-life balance. There are less unexpected events; there is usually no night shift and no work on Sundays and the amount of work is predictable. This fits very well to people who want to enrol to a PhD programme, build a family and be able to spend time with them, or simply enjoy more activities in their lives outside work.

Salary and benefits

Dialysis physicians are highly sought after by recruiters and can find employment opportunities almost everywhere in the world. The compensation levels are usually very good. Needless to say, as world leader in renal care products and services, Fresenius Medical Care knows that physicians are a valuable resource and strives to maintain their job satisfaction as very high.