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JB Cannata-Andía, T Weinstein, I Slotki, A Ferreira, C Zoccali and D Lappin
Abstract
Nephrology is a young medical specialty that has evolved and expanded during the last 4 decades of the past century, becoming recognized as one of the most innovative and challenging medical specialties. The training of nephrology takes place mainly in public hospitals, and there are important variations in the duration and assessment of training among the European countries. The Union of European Medical Specialties (UEMS) Renal Section and the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association have been working jointly since 2010 to harmonize European nephrology training and more recently to establish the European Certificate in Nephrology (ECN). The first two editions of the ECN were held in early 2017 and 2018. In total, 122 candidates from 26 countries have sat for the exam, with a success rate of 59% (72/122). To date, Switzerland has adopted the exam as their national training assessment and we expect that other countries will join Switzerland in the near future. Fostering the development and importance of the ECN requires that member states work to increase the academic and professional profile of the ECN within their countries. The ECN should be considered a ‘quality mark’ and a sign of high achievement in nephrology training in Europe. If holding the ECN becomes advantageous for employment or improving scientific careers, the number of candidates will increase and the sustainability of the ECN will be guaranteed. A recent, positive development is the pre-agreement between the UEMS Renal Section, UK Renal Association and Royal Colleges of the UK to adopt a unique pan-European exam beginning in 2020. However, any decision to commence the pan-European exam will depend, in part, on strong candidate enrolment for the ECN 2019 edition. Thus support of the national societies is crucial for the sustainability and growth of a European exam, because of their capacities to influence strategic policies in hospitals, universities and medical associations, with a longer-term aim to increase the professional recognition of the European exam.
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