Shadowing a Doctor

May 12, 2015

A pre-nursing student with her mentorNephrology is the branch of internal medicine that focuses on the study and treatment of the full spectrum of diseases that afflict the kidneys. Nephrology nurses are advanced nursing professionals who specialise in kidney health.

Some of the medical problems that nephrology nurses may encounter include kidney stones, obstructions, rental cysts and polycystic kidney disease. 

Detailed Job Description 

Nephrology nurses play a key role in diagnosing, assessing, educating and treating patients who have developed or are at risk of developing kidney related problems. 

Some of the tasks and responsibilities of a nephrology nurse include: 

  • Performing initial patient assessment
  • Discussing symptoms with the patient
  • Assisting with diagnostic procedures such as internal imaging
  • Examining patients’ medical histories
  • Administering medicating
  • Assisting with dialysis
  • Educating patients and helping them better understand their condition
  • Educating patients on how to manage their symptoms and what precautionary measures they need to take to prevent further complications

Nephrology nurses advise kidney patients on everything from nutrition and healthy lifestyle to treatment options and beyond. They may also assist with kidney transplants.

As some kidney diseases may be caused or aggravated indirectly by other health problems, nephrology nurses must be familiar with these health problems as welland may also be required to treat them. Some of these health problems may include high blood pressure, diabetes and substance abuse. 

Patient Profile 

Kidney health may be affected by a variety of factor and is not restricted to any particular gender or age group, which means nephrology nurses could work with male or female patients across all age groups, from little children to geriatrics. 

If you are looking to pursue a career in nephrology nursing, there are several options for further specialisation. You could choose to specialise in areas such as paediatric or adult nephrology, for instance or in a specific kidney disease treatment, such as dialysis or transplantation. 

Working to prevent kidney disease and provide continuing support to patients and their families, nephrology nurses provide care through all points of kidney disease progression.

Work Settings

cradling a newbornNephrology nurses may work in a hospital, dialysis clinic, physicians’ office, transplant clinic or a similar type of medical facility. Some nephrology nurses may also offer home care services to help home bound patients in need of kidney care such as dialysis.

Education & Training Requirements

The first step toward becoming a nephrology nurse is to become a registered nurse (RN) by completing a diploma, associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing programme. Many nephrology nurses have a master degree in nursing.

Once you are a licensed RN, you need to gain some work experience before you can apply certification. To work as a certified nephrology nurse, you will need to have obtained at least 3,000 hours of experience in a clinical nephrology setting and a minimum of 30 hours of approved continuing education in nephrology.

To keep working as a nephrology nurse you will have to enroll in continuing education courses to keep your skills up to date and stay abreast on advancements in the field.

Contact us on Facebook or Twitter, or email

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.