Cultivating Interest in Nephrology by Engaging in Opportunities and Seeking out Mentors

Tanima Arora Tanima Arora, MD, MHS, is a postdoctoral associate with Clinical and Translational Research Accelerator, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, and incoming PGY-1 resident, with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health, San Antonio, TX.

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As a starry-eyed international medical student looking for opportunities to gain clinical experience in the United States, I was beyond thrilled to receive an offer from Yale School of Medicine to complete a month-long clerkship in pediatric nephrology. Did I want to pursue a career in nephrology back then as a final-year medical student? Honestly, I wasn't sure. Kidney physiology, as fascinating as it is, was also extremely daunting to me. As a medical student, I would have

a subclinical panic attack anytime I was asked to, for instance, “calculate eGFR in CKD” or explain “renal tubular acidosis” in detail. I was nervous, to say the least, but did I decide to keep an open mind and take this remarkable opportunity to learn? Absolutely, yes!

And so my journey in the world of nephrology began, surrounded by exceptional mentors, interesting patients, fascinating research, and most important, a sense of belonging. In addition to the complexity of kidney pathophysiology and satisfaction of caring for and improving the quality of life of critically ill patients, what struck me the most was the passion and commitment of the workforce toward creating an innovative and fun learning environment for students. Thus, invigorated and inspired by this intensive, albeit short, exposure to nephrology, I decided to dedicate myself toward kidney research and gain more experience in this wonderful field.

My postdoctoral training (a full-time research trainee position) at Yale allowed my academic and professional growth to flourish, as I gained independence in conducting and managing research projects, presenting posters, publishing papers, contributing at conferences, and building connections, both in person and via social media. My budding interest in nephrology was recognized by numerous members of the kidney world, and I was lucky enough to partake in wonderful opportunities to participate in unique educational activities such as ASN Kidney STARS, ASN Kidney TREKS, and NephSIM Nephrons.

The crux of my interest and passion for nephrology is the incredible mentorship I have received over the years. Not only was I blessed with extraordinary mentors at Yale, but through participating in various educational activities, I also connected with some of the brightest minds in nephrology and gained more mentors. Each provided support, motivation, and guidance and created a nurturing, stimulating environment for me to consistently face challenges, grasp new opportunities, and grow, both professionally and personally.

The crux of my interest and passion for nephrology is the incredible mentorship I have received over the years.

That sense of belonging that I first felt during my nephrology clerkship has only grown stronger, and I feel confident that as I embark on this next phase of my career, the kidney world will take care of me and continue to cultivate my passion for nephrology.