Nephrology for First and Second Years


  • To observe a nephrologist at work by accompanying him or her on hospital rounds;
  • To familiarize oneself with the structure and function of the kidneys through selected readings;
  • To develop interviewing skills and an understanding of the impact of illness by interviewing a patient with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis;
  • To give a general overview of the research interests and relevance of basic science done in the University of Ottawa Division of Nephrology;


The student will have the opportunities to do the following:

  • Spend one 2-3 hour session in an out-patient clinic with a nephrologist, seeing patients with renal disease, possible renal symptoms or other abnormalities, hypertension, etc.
  • Spend one 2-3 hour session rounding with the nephrologist looking after the chronic hemodialysis unit, with the opportunity to interview a chronic hemodialysis patient and discuss technical and/or medical aspects of hemodialysis.
  • Spend one 2-3 hour session in the home dialysis unit seeing how peritoneal dialysis is done, with perhaps the opportunity to interview a patient being trained.
  • Follow along with a nephrologist caring for the in-patient renal service, to get a feel for in-patient nephrology.
  • Attend informal 2-3 hour classroom type sessions reviewing topics of interest related to nephrology, including a general overview of the kidneys and renal failure.
  • Depending on commitments of Faculty, perhaps spend 1-2 hours with Drs. Burns and/or Hebert to discuss their research interests and the physiology underlying these interests. Actual observation of experiments may be possible.

Opportunities can be made available for students to interview patients with kidney disease on their own, followed by a brief discussion of the interview with the attending nephrologist.

Supervisors: Ward attentind nephrologist

Location: The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus

Duration: 3 - 6 weeks

No. of Students: 2-3

Available for: 1st and 2nd years

Nephrology for 3rd and 4th Years


In any elective, the student should decide exactly how he/she wishes to spend his/her time, assuming that specific objectives are determined for each student prior to beginning the elective. Therefore, students wishing to do this elective are encouraged to meet with at least one member of the Division prior to beginning the elective, and to decide how he/she would like to spend his/her time.


Below is a list of various experiences available to 3rd and 4th year medical students. Actual involvement in patient care will obviously depend on prior experience.

  • In-patient Renal Service: The in-patient renal service has 15-20 patients. Patient problems include chronic renal failure, acute renal failure (possibly in an intensive care setting), patients with complications of treatment of end-stage renal disease (HEMODIALYSIS, peritoneal dialysis, and transplantation), patients immediately post-transplant, as well as a relatively few patients admitted electively for renal biopsy or other investigations.
  • Out-patient Clinic/Consultation Service: Most of the nephrologists have regular out-patient clinics where they see new consultations and follow patients with renal disease. Depending on availability, arrangements can be made to spend a number of half-days per week in clinic with any nephrologist.
  • HEMODIALYSIS Service: There is ample opportunity to learn about HEMODIALYSIS by rounding with physicians in the out-patient dialysis unit. Discussions about dialysis technology, medical problems associated with dialysis, as well as psychosocial and ethical implications of dialysis and end-stage renal disease can be arranged.
  • Research in Nephrology: Drs. Levine and Burns have active basic science laboratories dealing with renal physiology and pathophysiology. Time may be spent in the laboratory and/or discussing related issues of interest.
  • References: A list of highly-recommended references covering important aspects of nephrology will be provided.

Supervisor(s): Attending nephrologist - Ward service

Location: The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus

Duration: 4 weeks (minimum)

No. of Students: 1 - 2

Available for: 3rd and 4th year students

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