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MEDI 413 – Nephrology

Kaavya Murali – Kasturba Medical College Manipal

Tell us about your experience.

I had a very good experience at UNC because I came here with no expectations. Things are run very different in the US from how they are in India. The patients aren’t treated as well back home as they are here. Here, you take care of them as a whole, not just whatever disease they present with. You evaluate if they can be discharged home – if they can walk up the stairs, use the bathroom and go about their day to day activities; if they can’t, they go to a rehab facility. I like how we take care of every tiny detail.

Another thing that I didn’t expect is how everyone is so nice here. I had a great experience with all my fellows and attendings. No matter how busy they were, they would take time to clear my doubts and teach me some topics. They cared to hear my thoughts and opinions, and there was no set hierarchy. Nobody made me feel that just because I am a student, I don’t deserve to have a voice. I really felt a part of the team.

I did a nephrology consult service and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Before I started my rotation, I didn’t know if I was doing an in-patient or out-patient service. I do wish I had a little more information about my elective before my arrival in Chapel Hill.

The patients were really nice. To be really honest, I expected some kind of racism, but so far no one has ever made me feel like I shouldn’t be here. Even when you’re walking in the corridor, if you’re lost, you can ask someone for help, and not only will they tell you the way, but also take you there themselves! That’s something that I would never expect in India – everyone is so busy rushing about their lives that they don’t care about other people.

What did you think about Chapel Hill?

Initially when I came to Chapel Hill, I thought there were a lot of things to do, but then I realized it’s really just Franklin St, which gets boring after a couple of weeks. I visited places nearby, like Carrboro, which is very lively. I also went to the Duke Campus in Durham (and I probably shouldn’t say this at UNC!) but it was really beautiful. I was here at the perfect time to catch the basketball season, and even though I’m not a sports fan myself, I couldn’t help but get swept up by the fever of the UNC-Duke rivalry!

Do you have any advice for future students?

The advice I would give to future students is to drop any expectations you have and just come here with a blank slate. I thought doing a rotation in Nephrology meant that I was going to see AKI every day, but you don’t realize how unique each patient is. Every single day I learned a new topic, such as hepatorenal and cardiorenal syndromes, renal tubular acidosis, all kinds of electrolytes disturbances, pre-eclampsia, myeloma kidney and cryoglobulinemia. I had an amazing experience with my attending, Dr. Block, with whom I worked for three weeks, and all the Nephrology fellows, who took great interest in teaching. There are also many interesting conferences to attend, such as Nephrology Journal Club, grand rounds, IM noon conference, and Biopsy conference, where they discuss all the biopsies done over the week and their clinical correlation. I especially liked how the Nephrology team likes to collect urine samples from every patient and see it under the microscope – it was exciting to see how it related to the disease, and makes you feel more confident with your diagnosis.