Nephrology Practices Hiring, Says Survey

A recent survey by the Renal Physicians Association (RPA) shows that nephrology practices are hiring more staff, especially nurse practitioners, even though the income from patient care has fallen or remained level.

The survey was sent to the members of RPA, gathering data on income, expenses, and the size of the practice. The current report had responses from 128 practices representing over 1600 nephrologists. The number of nephrologists was higher even though the number of practices had dropped.

Even though the practices reported a decrease in revenue, they showed an increase in overall operating expenses which include salary and benefits. The physicians’ compensation went from a reported average of $315,690 in 2013 to $332,840 in 2017. You can find the full survey at

In addition to hiring physicians, practices also hired more advanced practitioners. These nurse practitioners assist in patient care and averaged a salary of $128,784 including benefits and compensation.

No Candidates to Fill the Gaps

According to Renal & Urology News, in 2017 there were 400 fellowship positions open across the country. Of those, 40% went unfilled by the end of the year. Additionally, they report that more than half of all the training programs in the United States have at least one unfulfilled position.

In the United States, there are a reported 8000 adult and 500 pediatric nephrologists working with patients. Approximately 300 to 400 physicians complete their nephrology training and join the workforce with a similar number of nephrologists retiring. The income is on par with the average internist.

The shortage of physicians specializing in nephrology can be attributed in part to the rise of the field of hospitalists. The income and workload are more attractive to many graduates than pursuing training in a subspecialty. Additionally, some practices are cutting costs by hiring more nurse practitioners and physician assistants to cover some of the duties once filled by nephrologists.

Is an Increase on the Rise?

As the population ages, we may begin to see an increase in new nephrologists. With more people using dialysis due to patient survival, job security will be stronger and physicians may return to obtaining subspecialty training.

There are some things that practices can do to make nephrology more enticing to people entering the medical field. Some suggestions from Dr. Kam Kalantar-Zadeh of the University of California Irvine School of Medicine include:

Strengthening sub-fellowships in kidney transplantation, glomerulonephritis, interventional nephrology, and certification in dialysis therapy and techniques.

Adding combined fellowships in critical care, rheumatology, and endocrinology.

The opportunities are there for people interested in nephrology, this may be a great time to get into the field.

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