The Beginners Guide to Kidney Week 2017

By Daniel Edmonston posted 10-25-2017 09:13 AM

Philadelphia. November, 2014.

I was a second-year medicine resident who had cashed in my vacation time to attend my first Kidney Week. I clutched my badge with pride: it was the first time my name had been associated with Nephrology.  Flipping through pages upon pages of presentations, posters, and abstracts, I thought: “What am I supposed to do now?”

A little help from my friends.

In August, I was fortunate to be part of the #askASN Twitter chat about this very topic. Novices and experts alike discussed the upcoming meeting and recalled lessons learned from meetings past. I shared my humble experience but mostly listened.

A little preparation goes a long way

Kidney Week is the preeminent gathering of nephrologists bringing together clinicians, physician-scientists, research scientists, industry, and just about any stakeholder in the field of Nephrology. As such, the sessions span quite the number of topics… and distance. Download the Kidney Week app and make a schedule of the events (and locations) you find interesting before Kidney Week starts. Don’t forget to follow #KidneyWk on Twitter for real-time updates on sessions and evening events! You can also listen to Kidney News podcasts to recap the day’s events.  

Network, network, network

At times it seems you have to know people to meet people. I knew very few people at my first Kidney Week and didn’t know the first thing about “networking”. I didn’t meet a new soul until my poster session. I stood nervously in front of my simple poster. Over the course of that poster session, I met students, division chiefs, and everyone in between. A poster is truly the ultimate ice breaker! Even if (or when) you are not presenting a poster, walk through the poster sessions, ask questions, and talk to the authors. You never know who you will meet.  

Now that you have found your comfort zone… step out
You (or someone graciously on your behalf) have paid a significant amount of money to attend this conference. Attend a session on a topic foreign to you. Meet new people. Explore the new Communities Lounge. If you’re a fellow, consider participating in the Fellows-In-Training Bowl!  

Don’t miss the greatest hits

Each morning starts with a plenary session which serves as a keynote address for that day. The opening session is the President’s Address by @Eleanor Lederer which informs and inspires. The other plenary sessions are lectures by world-renown scientists including Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Brian Kobilka. If you attend nothing else… don’t miss these talks!

Explore the city

Kidney Week rotates through different cities across the country. Each place has its own attractions and character. Something tells me New Orleans will not be lacking in either!

Are you a first time Kidney Week attendee or nephrology fellow? What do you want to know about Kidney Week? Ask your questions in the comments below or in the discussion forum.