Pediatric Nephrology Workforce: Comprehensive Survey

A nationwide survey raises concerns of a potential shortage of pediatric nephrologists, according to a special report in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Commissioned by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the 2013 e-mail survey yielded 504 responses from pediatric nephrologists trained or practicing in the US. Just over half of the respondents were men, but women accounted for more than 60 percent of more recent graduates. Two-thirds of respondents were US graduates, and nearly 80 percent were board certified in pediatric nephrology.

The 384 respondents based in the US worked long hours, averaging 56.5 hours per week for men and 53 for women. Nearly all participated in patient care; most also taught, did administrative work, and performed clinical research. About three-fourths worked in academic settings, and half worked in programs that teach pediatric nephrology fellows. Respondents reported a median of 16 weeks on call per year; about 30 percent had no partner or only one partner.

About one-third of US respondents said they planned to reduce or stop their pediatric nephrology practice within the next 5 years, and about half said that they planned to retire at least partially. Two-thirds of the US respondents said they competed for patients with other pediatric nephrologists in their area. Nearly half of the US division directors considered their division staffing to be inadequate. Many divisions lacked the full team of interdisciplinary professionals recommended for care of pediatric kidney disease.

The report highlights the characteristics and challenges facing the pediatric nephrology workforce. The authors discuss the implications for efforts to recruit qualified trainees, with attention to issues including work-life balance, compensation, and mentorship [Primack WA, et al. The US pediatric nephrology workforce: a report commissioned by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Am J Kidney Dis 2015; doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2015.03.022].