The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic’s effects on nephrology fellows’ educational experiences, preparedness for practice, and emotional wellbeing are unknown.
We recruited current adult and pediatric fellows and 2020 graduates of nephrology training programs in the United States to participate in a survey measuring COVID-19’s effects on their training experiences and wellbeing.
Of 1005 nephrology fellows-in-training and recent graduates, 425 participated (response rate 42%). Telehealth was widely adopted (90% for some or all outpatient nephrology consults), as was remote learning (76% of conferences were exclusively online). Most respondents (64%) did not have in-person consults on COVID-19 inpatients; these patients were managed by telehealth visits (27%), by in-person visits with the attending faculty without fellows (29%), or by another approach (9%). A majority of fellows (84%) and graduates (82%) said their training programs successfully sustained their education during the pandemic, and most fellows (86%) and graduates (90%) perceived themselves as prepared for unsupervised practice. Although 42% indicated the pandemic had negatively affected their overall quality of life and 33% reported a poorer work-life balance, only 15% of 412 respondents who completed the Resident Well-Being Index met its distress threshold. Risk for distress was increased among respondents who perceived the pandemic had impaired their knowledge base (odds ratio [OR], 3.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.00 to 4.77) or negatively affected their quality of life (OR, 3.47; 95% CI, 2.29 to 5.46) or work-life balance (OR, 3.16; 95% CI, 2.18 to 4.71).
Despite major shifts in education modalities and patient care protocols precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, participants perceived their education and preparation for practice to be minimally affected.

Copyright © 2021 by the American Society of Nephrology.