An analysis of dialysis training in the United States and Canada

Am J Kidney Dis. 2002 Jul;40(1):152-60. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2002.33924.


Background: Because the prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) has progressively increased in both the United States and Canada, patients with ESRD are likely to constitute progressively larger proportions of nephrology practices.

Methods: We mailed a questionnaire to US and Canadian nephrology program directors to determine methods used in dialysis training; 53% of US and 73% of Canadian programs responded.

Results: Training programs in the United States enrolled a larger median number of fellows and had a lower median faculty-fellow ratio compared with programs in Canada. However, the availability of faculty in providing training in the care of patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) or chronic peritoneal dialysis (CPD) was similar in both countries. There were wide variations in availability of patients in both the United States and Canada. US training programs offered trainees significantly lower numbers of MHD and CPD patients; 29% of US training programs had less than five CPD patients per fellow. Similarly, there were wide variations in the amount of time trainees spent providing care to MHD and CPD patients; in 14% of US training programs, fellows spent less than 5% of their time receiving training for patients undergoing CPD. Only a small proportion of training programs had faculty resources or ensured training for fellows in the placement of percutaneous tunneled venous hemodialysis catheters or peritoneal dialysis catheters.

Conclusions: To conclude, there are wide variations in dialysis training in both the United States and Canada. This survey raises concerns that many US training programs either do not have an appropriate number of CPD patients or do not allocate appropriate time to ensure the preparedness of fellows in providing independent care for patients with ESRD undergoing CPD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Faculty / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / statistics & numerical data
  • Inservice Training / trends*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Models, Educational
  • Patients / statistics & numerical data
  • Renal Dialysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Renal Dialysis / trends*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Training Support / statistics & numerical data
  • Training Support / trends
  • United States / epidemiology