The Nephrology fellowship program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine emphasizes clinical training in the diagnosis and treatment of renal diseases and hypertension, and a basic understanding of renal physiology and pathophysiology.
Nephrology fellows gain exposure to a wide variety of renal diseases during fellowship. In the first year of subspecialty training, fellows usually spend seven months on the inpatient Nephrology Consultation Service at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH). Fellows manage patients throughout the hospital with acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, including a significant number of critically ill patients in the medical, surgical, cardiac, and neurological ICUs. Fellows learn to prescribe and modify renal replacement therapies including acute hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and continuous replacement therapies and diagnose and treat its complications.
During training, fellows spend 3-4 months on the inpatient Renal Transplantation Service. Fellows co-manage kidney, kidney-liver, and kidney-pancreas transplant patients with the transplant nephrologists and surgeons from the pre-operative stage until discharge, as well as those patients requiring re-hospitalization. The range of transplantation-related issues includes acute and chronic rejection, delayed graft function, infections, management of immunosuppressive medications and other transplantation-related medical problems. Fellows also gain exposure to patients after transplantation, kidney transplant donors, and transplant kidney biopsies in the outpatient Transplant Nephrology Clinic.
In the second year of training, fellows focus on the long-term, outpatient management of renal patients. Fellows are assigned to the continuity of care of patients on both chronic hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, and spend significant time in the outpatient Nephrology clinic. In addition, fellows rotate through an inpatient dialysis consult service covering patients admitted to NMH. Fellows also spend two months on the inpatient Consultation Servcice at the Westside Veterans Administration Hospital.
Second year fellows are expected to engage in clinical research by conducting a project in their area of interest, working with a faculty member in the Division, or, spend research time in one of the basic science research laboratories in the Division. Fellows are expected to submit, and present a poster of their research work at the annual National Kidney Foundation or American Society of Nephrology or other national meetings. Publication of a paper in a peer-reviewed journal is heavily encouraged.
A three year research track is available for fellows interested in academic medicine and research.
Clinical duties are supplemented by a curriculum including formal didactic teaching sessions on various topics in clinical nephrology specifically geared towards fellows. Clinical conferences in which fellows present clinically relevant patient cases to the Division (faculty, fellows, housestaf, students) are held every week. Biopsy conferences with the Renal Pathologist are held twice monthly. Fellows learn to critically read the current nephrology literature through bimonthly journal clubs presented by fellows with faculty participation. An online fellows curriculum is available to supplement bedside teaching, conferences, and other forms of learning.
Lastly, nationally recognized experts in various areas of nephrology are invited as guest speakers throughout the year.