A nephrologist is a doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating kidney ailments. Nephrology is a subspecialty within the field of internal medicine. To become a nephrologist, a person must successfully complete at least seven years of medical school.
After medical school, a prospective nephrologist must achieve board certification and spend at least two years studying kidney disorders. In addition to treating kidney diseases, nephrologists treat secondary ailments like hypertension and diagnose and treat illnesses that lead to kidney failure, such as diabetes mellitus. Primary care doctors refer patients to nephrologists when the patients experience kidney stones, bloody urine or severely high blood pressure.