Renal medicine specialist


Also known as:

  • Nephrologist
  • Renal Medicine Physician

What they do

Renal medicine specialists manage conditions associated with renal (kidney) impairment and failure. Their main goal is to optimise renal function. They manage patients on dialysis and those who have had kidney transplants.

This medical specialty covers a wide range of diseases from acute emergencies to chronic renal failure, acid-base and electrolyte disorders, kidney stones and transplantation.

There are approximately 18 renal medicine specialists practising in Western Australia all of who are based in the metropolitan area.

Working conditions

With approximately 1 in 3 Australians at risk of developing chronic kidney disease, renal medicine specialists are frequently in demand.

Renal medicine specialists can work in private and public practice however most work in public hospitals in capital cities. It is a demanding speciality, with high work pressures and regular on-call requirements.

The highs associated with the speciality include successfully managing acute renal failure or kidney transplantation. The lows can include looking after patients with chronic renal failure or those on dialysis.

Tools and technologies

Renal medicine specialists need to be familiar with techniques associated with microscopy, biopsy, imaging, dialysis and transplantation.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a renal medicine specialist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in renal medicine (nephrology).

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To specialise in renal medicine (nephrology), doctors can apply to Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as a renal medicine specialist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.