Creating lasting knowledge requires education beyond passive lecture attendance. We have thus created a unique curriculum that employs active learning principles and is truly one of the highlights of the program. The curriculum progresses through 8 topic blocks over 12 months (the topics are revisited and solidified in the second year of training):
Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, CRRT
HTN, including Secondary Forms
- Dyskalemia and Dysnatremia
- Acid-Base and Nephrolithiasis
- Divalent Cations, Phosphate, and Cystic Kidney Disease
- Glomerular Diseases
Each block is preceded by a pretest that the fellow completes with the assistance of recommended reading. These pretests are reviewed in small group sessions prior to the related lecture block. Such self-directed learning prior to the lecture blocks establishes a foundation of knowledge upon which the lectures build. Over the next 4-6 weeks, we proceed through lectures related to that topic. A comprehensive set of lecture notes produced at our institution, “The Field Guide to the Kidney,” distills the essential concepts across the breadth of nephrology and further facilitates learning. Finally, utilizing audience response technology, the block is concluded with Board Exam Question Sessions covering the same subject matter. This iterative and active learning process ensures that concepts are learned.
Conferences are conducted during the noon hour, offering the opportunity for trainees to feed their minds and bellies. Many of the lectures are provided by authorities in their respective fields and several faculty members have been recognized for their excellence in teaching. Indeed our program was awarded the ASN Innovations in Kidney Education Contest both in 2015 and 2016, the first 2 years of the competition’s existence. All lectures are available for the trainee to review online after hours or at the bedside via cloud access. The components of the conference series follow:
- Renal Grand Rounds – Lectures covering renal physiology and topics in clinical nephrology are provided every Tuesday and Thursday. These are presented in topic blocks that cover the entire field of nephrology.
- Renal Pathology Conferences – Monthly sessions are devoted to renal pathology review in the setting of cased-based discussions
- Board Review – Multiple choice questions devoted to Board Exam Review are covered in a group setting utilizing audience response technology .
- “Escuelita (Little School)” – Conferences in interactive, chalkboard format are arranged intentionally out of phase with the current block of lectures as a means of “recursive learning.”
- Contemporary Journal Club – Recent studies published in the literature are critically appraised.
- Historical Journal Club – Classic studies which have shaped our practice of nephrology are reviewed.
- Morbidity and Mortality – Cases are reviewed in order to stimulate practice improvement.