Perceptions of local nephrology job opportunities and anticipated salaries have improved among nephrology fellows, according to a new American Society of Nephrology analysis of the future kidney health workforce. Authored by researchers from the George Washington University Health Workforce Institute (GW-HWI), the Report on the Survey of 2017 Nephrology Fellows is available online.

The report is the latest in a series produced in collaboration with GW-HWI investigators. “The job opportunities for new nephrologists have definitely improved over the past four years,” said lead researcher Edward Salsberg, MPA. “This is good news for the current fellows and for residents considering the specialty.”

However, the 2017 survey also affirms the importance of lifestyle concerns for the fellows completing training, both in terms of nephrology training and post training practice, Salsberg added. “The long-term attractiveness of the specialty may depend on addressing these concerns.”

Among the report’s other key findings:

  • Perceptions of local nephrology job opportunities improved compared to earlier years for both US medical graduates (USMGs) and international medical graduates (IMGs)
  • Overall, the percentage of respondents indicating that they had changed their plans because of limited nephrology job opportunities continued to decline (32.7% in 2017)
  • Anticipated salaries in 2017 were higher than in previous years with the median anticipated salary between $180,000 and $189,999 for all demographic groups (by IMG status and sex)
  • A majority (71.8%) of fellows indicated they would recommend nephrology to current medical students and residents
  • The job market for USMGs was significantly better than for IMGs, who represent a majority of the trainees.

Lifestyle concerns, both in terms of training and practice, are important to fellows and may be discouraging applicants to the specialty, according to the report. Respondents in their second year of fellowship or beyond rated the following lifestyle factors as “very important” or “important” in their job selection:

  • Frequency of weekend duties (96.3%)
  • Frequency of overnight calls (94.0%)
  • Job/practice in desired location (94.0%)
  • Salary/compensation (92.0%)
  • Job/practice in desired practice setting (89.4%)
  • Length of each workday (88.5%

The next GW-HWI report will present results from the recent Early Practice Survey, which focused on nephrologists in clinical practice who are two to five years out of fellowship.

“Capturing and synthesizing data on our specialty’s next generation is key to understanding how the nephrology workforce is evolving,” said ASN President Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN. “Analysis of the GW survey findings and in-house data collection and research projects currently underway will support informed, data-driven decision-making to advance ASN’s strategic plan and support nephrologists in providing the optimum level of care for patients with kidney diseases.”