After several years of declining interest, the future of nephrology as a career choice continues to be uncertain. Preliminary results from the Nephrology Match AY 2017 revealed a continuing trend toward unfilled nephrology tracks, with almost no change from AY 2016 (95 vs. 93 filled tracks). Programs may face the difficult choice of trying to recruit post-match or perhaps reducing program size and recruiting either more attending nephrologists or physician extenders including physician assistants or nurse practitioners.
Last year’s match rate for nephrology was the lowest for all medicine fellowships. A particularly noteworthy trend has been the progressive decline in the number of international medical graduates (IMGs) matching in nephrology, with only 100 for the current academic year, down from 192 as recently as 2011.
As has been well described elsewhere, careers in nephrology have been viewed less favorably in recent years for a variety of reasons, including perceived lower compensation compared to many other fields along with a workload and quality of life felt to be inferior compared to other specialties. There is also concern regarding the ability to find nephrology jobs, with a large proportion of fellows describing difficulty finding positions in nephrology after graduation, as described in the 2015 Survey of Nephrology Fellows.